Monday, December 14, 2009

India Edghill & Harry, Bella, Stephanie, Bevil and Amy

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm the writer India Edghill. My dogs are Harry, Bevil (the big red one), Bella (on my lap), in this photo, Amy (on my lap in the photo below left, with Harry again) and Stephanie, not pictured... Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. (Not "King Charles Spaniels" and not "Cavvies" -- "Cavaliers" for short.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I start my days with about a quart mug of very strong tea. The Cavaliers wait around hoping I'll drop food...

What's brewing?

Twining's Earl Grey. V.v. strong, with a lot of Sweet'N Low and skim milk.

Any goodies to go with the tea?

Not usually. I can't face breakfast at breakfast time! Try me with it at 10:00 a.m.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

They get their morning biscuit -- either Mother Hubbard or Cinnabones (which they ADORE). That's it. It's really hard keeping weight off small dogs, but it's vital for their health.

How did you come to be united with your spaniels?

Well, a while back -- about 12 years ago now -- I was working on a book and the heroine needed a dog. Since said heroine, like Little Moi is what Elizabeth Peters call a "historical necrophiliac" (see her novel The Murders of Richard III -- a lot of fun, and not what it sounds like from the title, so all you people in the Richard III Society can just not write me nasty e-mails, okay?) -- where was I? Oh, yes -- so the heroine got a Cavalier, because Charles II is my favorite English king, and he had dozens of the little spaniels. And I fell in love with the breed, and ... well, here I am with five of them. I always say it's a good thing I didn't give that character Great Danes!

How did they get their names?

Their names are (first name is their call name, second is their official name):

1. Harry, age 9-1/2 (he was going to be Bodie, after my favorite character in The Professionals, but I tried the name out at home and realized that a Beau (cat) and a Bodie wouldn't do.) -- aka Britt Tax Deduction at Mooncoign (Britt is the breeder's affix; Mooncoign is mine; his litter was born on tax day and all have tax names)

2. Bella, age 10 -- aka Britt Silver Bell at Mooncoign (a Christmas litter)

3. Stephanie, age 10 -- Britt Sugar Plum at Mooncoign (Bella's litter sister), and if you can't guess why Sugar Plum is called Stephanie, I heartily recommend Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series!

4. Bevil, age 3 -- Wystar Heir Jordan at Mooncoign -- Bevil is a good English Civil War name, on the Royalist side, of course!

5. Amy, age 1 -- Wystar Feel That Fire at Mooncoign -- she's pretty, and she's a fusspot, just like Amy in Little Women. It seemed to fit.

Have your dogs had any influence on your work?

Sort of -- dog food doesn't fall free from the sky! And they inspired one my favorite short stories: "A Spaniel For The King", which was in Sirius: The Dog Star, and is available in full text free on my website. Go to short stories and click on the title.)

What's an ordinary day like for your dogs?

A breakfast biscuit, a walk before I go to work, lying around snoring all day, get fed dinner .... classes for some of them.

Where is your dogs' favorite place to go for walk?

Anywhere I'm going!

What's each dog's best quality?

Well, Harry is Perfect; sweet, tolerant, loving. Bella and Stephanie are darlings. Bevil is beautiful and a big baby. Amy's a bit young to have developed her real nature yet, but she loves to sleep across my neck.

What's each dog's proudest moment so far? The most embarrassing?

Well, to keep this short: Embarrassing: Bella was in the ring doing Novice A (obedience) and during the recall, she came charging at me, dashed out of the ring to her crate, realized I wasn't there, and dashed back into the ring to me. I was laughing so hard the judge must have thought I was nuts. (We didn't Q, of course!) Proudest: Harry nailing the third leg on his CD title.

I could go on about my Cavaliers for PAGES, but I won't. Suffice it to say I adore them and am very proud of them, and there's nothing like sleeping with a pack of dogs to make you feel secure and loved.

India Edghill lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley in New York.

She is the author of the novels
Wisdom's Daughter, which was a Romantic Times Nominee for Best Historical Fiction, File M for Murder, Queenmaker, and the recently released Delilah.

an excerpt from Delilah, and learn more about the author and her books at India Edghill's website. Watch the Delilah video trailer.

The Page 69 Test: Delilah.

--Marshal Zeringue