Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Starr Ambrose & Nikita

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Starr Ambrose, with my Siberian husky, Nikita. She’s three years old, and the seventh husky my husband and I have owned. Currently, she’s an only dog, and shares the house with seven cats. All of our cats and most of our huskies have been rescued animals.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine? What's brewing? Any goodies?

Welcome to my kitchen! Coffee this morning is actually tea - Earl Grey, hot – with some fresh bread and strawberry jam. Nikita gets a small dog biscuit for a treat.

How were united with Nikita and your other dogs?

We adopted Nikita when she was one year old, rescuing her from death row at the pound. Her owners were tired of bailing out their little escape artist, and no one else was allowed to adopt her, as she had a felony conviction – a “livestock kill.” Fearing she’d done something horrible, like bring down a neighbor’s cow, I had to ask the reason for her death sentence; it turned out someone reported her for killing a wild rabbit while she was running free. The laws don’t distinguish between cows and rabbits. Her owners agreed to bail her out one last time if I would take her, so that’s how we came to own Nikita. We were her fourth home in her first year of life, but she won’t have to worry about finding another one.

We didn’t hesitate to take Nikita in; we’ve rescued huskies before, and always felt lucky to have known them. The dog we had before Nikita was Juneau, who was about four when we found him through the Siberian Husky Rescue League. They rescued him from a pound, then placed him in a foster home, where we met him. I’ll never understand how anyone lost Juneau in the first place, because he hardly ever left my side, and was the only husky we’ve owned who didn’t need a fenced yard. We had him for nine years, during which time he helped foster a couple kittens [photo, left] who were born on our farm and adored him forever afterward. Juneau was also a regular blood donor, along with another of our huskies, and made many trips to an emergency clinic to give life-saving blood to dogs having emergency surgery.

We adopted Niko [photo, right] when he was an older dog, perhaps nine or ten. Once we walked him, it became obvious that we had an experienced lead dog who knew he was born to pull a sled. Being obliging parents, we bought a used dog sled and harnesses for Niko and our two other huskies, Lasher and Kasha. With Niko in the lead, they pulled our daughters down miles of snow-covered back roads. That’s Ariana and our happy three-dog team in the picture, with Niko in the lead.

What do your dogs have to do with your writing?

I write romantic suspense novels – basically, love stories. There is no better way I know to experience pure, whole-hearted love than from a dog. Even dogs who get passed from owner to owner, or dropped at the side of the road, are always ready to love again, without grudges and without reservation. We can learn a lot from that!

In Starr Ambrose's debut novel,
Lie to Me, "one flirtatious fib puts Eleanor Coggins in the hands of two dangerous men - one who wants her in his bed, and the other who wants her dead." Publishers Weekly says it "sizzles with delicious friction," and Romance Reviews Today noted that "Starr Ambrose is a name to watch for in the romantic suspense genre."

Her second book,
Our Little Secret, "takes readers on fast-paced adventure through the dark side of politics and the steamy side of falling in love!" Roxanne St. Claire, national bestselling author, says it's "A light, fresh, sexy spin on love and danger!"

an excerpt from Our Little Secret.

To learn about Starr Ambrose's books, visit her website.

--Marshal Zeringue