The Labradors are an essential part of the success of Writing with Labradors and I thought they deserved a section of their very own.
When my first book was published, I set up this website. It was very much a learning curve as I’d never done anything of the kind before. Richard, my brilliant husband, who is a software designer, was able to work out the technical aspects for me, but it was up to me to learn how to set up the pages, write the blog and publish it to the world. In the first few weeks, I had no idea what I wanted to put on the website, and when Richard asked me for a working title, I came up with Writing with Labradors because that’s exactly what I was doing. My two elderly Labradors, Toby and Joey, had taken to snoozing in my study while I was working, and I found it very soothing writing and researching to the sound of their snores.
I think I had some idea that I would change the title of the website once I came up with something clever and related to writing historical novels, but nothing came to me. In the meantime, since I hadn’t published before and didn’t have much to write about, I posted photographs of my dogs, not just on the website but also on my brand new author Facebook page and on Twitter.
I was a bit nonplussed when almost all of my early responses from people had nothing to do with my books or my research and the historical posts I was writing. People loved the photos of my dogs, and asked questions about them, sent pictures of their own pets and exchanged anecdotes. However, I am always happy to talk about my dogs and it introduced me to some lovely people on social media. I discovered, over the months, that people who love dogs often love history and books as well.
These days it would not occur to me to change the title of my website or my blog. Writing with Labradors is what I do. A lot has happened over the past few years. People have read my blog posts and now I get messages about my books as well as my dogs.
A lot has happened over the past few years. Tragically we lost Toby in 2018 just a few months after our baby Oscar joined us. Toby died peacefully in his sleep, leaving a big gap in our lives.
At the end of 2019, Joey died at the age of thirteen. Once again, he went very peacefully for which we were grateful. Losing both my old boys broke my heart for a while, but I was glad to have Oscar with me, he was a big comfort, and we grew very close, particularly during lockdown, which I found very difficult.
Oscar fitted into life at Writing with Labradors like a veteran, although my working day was punctuated now with the need to get up and race around the garden playing football or fetch rather more often. I missed Toby and Joey dreadfully, and the outpouring of sympathy and understanding from people all over the world when they died was an enormous comfort as well as a surprise. Although they are no longer snoring behind my chair, they are still with me in spirit and still an essential part of this website.
Early in 2021, as the world cautiously opened up a little, I was finally able to bring in a new staff member to help Oscar. Alfie is a fox red Labrador from just outside York. He’s been the perfect addition to our family although the fact that his nicknames are the Chaos Demon and the Ginger Ninja give a big clue to his personality. I’m just working on pages for Oscar and Alfie and I’ll update them regularly with new photographs and adventures.
I hope you all enjoy meeting Toby, Joey, Oscar and Alfie at Writing with Labradors as much as I enjoy posting about them.