By Elf Ahearn, author of A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing and Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower
The first thing I heard when I set out to become an author was, “Write what you know.” Since my genre is Regency era historicals I could only take that adage so far, but I decided to base my heroines on people I knew well—my sisters. That’s right folks, the Albright girls are me and my three siblings. To be specific, Ellie in A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing mirrors my somewhat impetuous personality; Claire in Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower was inspired by my sister Jenny, and the hero, Flavian, embodies a feline who was everything she ever wanted in a man (except fur).
Flavian was a striped tabby who walked like a truck driver but meowed like a soprano – all high and tweety. You will not find these character traits in the book, but you will find other similarities.
We always had a running tab of two to three dogs and four to five cats in the house along with four excitable girls and my excitable parents. At dinner the whole mess of us would crowd into the kitchen. My mother would feed us the human food and the animals would square off over their bowls. Dogs growled, cats hissed—but Flavian was unflappable. If he wanted Friskies, he just walked up to the bowl, nudged whoever was in the way, and got it. No fuss, no buss. All the animals respected Flavian, not because they were afraid, but because he exuded that kind of authority.
Jenny was mad for Flavian and he was mad for her. If he needed a warm lap she was there; if the night were cold, her bed was where he’d find warmth; should he need a treat, she’d give it to him, and when she required a dead mouse, he would provide it.
In the early stages of writing Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower, I thought, what would it be like if Jenny could have her ideal love without four legs and a tail? What would that man be like and how would my sweet, quiet sister, who, like Claire, is a healer, react to such a person? And so, the love story was born.
Now that I’ve confessed the origins of Lord Monroe’s main characters, I’d like to know, have you ever had a pet you wished were human?