I use a cat named Bacardi in my novel Admit to Mayhem, a Lillian Dove Mystery, to say something about my protagonist:
Bacardi’s my cat, named for his brown and yellow coloring and my first drinking preference of rum and Coke. At the age of twelve, if you add enough cola, you forget all about the sweet tang of rum. Plus, Bacardi’s hair frizzed out from his body as if he’d stuck his claw in a light socket. When my hair was shorter, I’d woken up many a morning with that same look.
My protagonist Lillian Dove is a recovered alcoholic with a 5 year sobriety; however, sobriety is not a dominate theme in the book. This is not another novel about a protagonist that cannot keep sober (be it alcohol or drugs). Instead, Lillian’s objective in the novel and series is to take on life anew with all its emotional, behavioral, and mystery challenges. With the description and affinity to her pet, I wanted the reader to get a feel for Lillian’s troubling past without doing a lot of backstory.
The overall plot of the novel begins when Lillian discovers a house fire and becomes an eyewitness to arson. Arson leads to murder. The plot is paced with events to create Lillian’s angst, but again, I wanted to offer my reader the vicarious ability to feel her anxiety and fear. So, I put Bacardi in jeopardy:
It came to me then what was missing. “Where’s Bacardi?”
I got down on my hands and knees and looked under the couch. Dust bunnies but no Bacardi. “Bacardi, where are you?” …I got in my car and drove one block after another, up one street and then the next, calling his name out into the night… “Bacardi?”
My novel is an amateur-sleuth novel which I classify as a soft-edged Midwest Noir. But no matter whether a writer is developing a conventional mystery, cozy, thriller or horror novel, the use of animals can help offer themes and provide movement of plot.
About the Author
D. J. Adamson is an award-winning author. Her family roots grow deep in the Midwest and it is here she sets much of her work. She juggles her time between her own desk and teaching writing to others at two Los Angeles area colleges. Along with her husband and two Welsh Terriers, she makes her home in Southern California.
Her latest book is the mystery, amateur sleuth, Admit to Mayhem.
For More Information
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Admit to Mayhem
Author: D.J. Adamson
Publisher: Horatio Press
Genre: Mystery/Amateur Sleuth
Purchase at AMAZON
With a contrary attitude and an addiction for independence, Lillian Dove admits she has not been a success in life. In fact, she considers failing as one of her addictions. Yet, when she comes across a suspicious house fire with a history of arson and murder, she instinctively attempts to help someone trapped. Lillian becomes the only possible eyewitness to criminal arson, and her life begins to spiral out of control.
Lillian Dove is an endearing “everywoman” struggling with life issues, emotional complexities and a habit of doing just the opposite of what she’s told to do. These qualities in a heroine give the reader an ability to vicariously struggle along with the protagonist in this intriguing Midwest Noir mystery.
Five long years, yet the clink of ice in a glass still sets me on edge.
There is no graduation from alcoholism. Or life, for that matter. I am also addicted to Pepsi, chocolate, men, being afraid, being afraid of not being afraid, men—again--and my independence, co-dependence and unsettling ability to fail no matter my attempt. There are other compulsions and bad habits, but I can’t think of them right now. Memory loss, see? And I obsess on how much I forget, if I remember. Giving up alcohol turned out to be easier than changing some of my other behaviors.
Especially my bad judgment when it comes to men. The type of man I’m most attracted to is like a tall, Tom Collins on a sweltering, summer day: gin, a little lemon--but not too sour—with sweet syrup and bubbly soda. It’s hard to resist, even if I know it’s not good for me.
I’ve pledged a Tom-Collins-abstinence.
Yet, Chief Charles Kaefring began offering me his attention. I thought my sobriety realigned my sexual magnetism. I was attracting a different type.
He started coming to my desk to tell me he was leaving and instructed me to send all his calls to his assistant. At first I couldn’t figure out why he thought I needed this instruction. I already transferred his calls as a manner of routine. Then a week after making sure I was aware of his whereabouts, I bumped into him lakeside at Louise’s Italian Kitchen.
Louise’s is my Friday night routine. I celebrate making it through another week. One spaghetti dinner at a time.
After that Friday night, I saw him at Louise’s every week. If he got there before me, I’d see him glancing toward the entry as if waiting for me to arrive. If I got there first, I’d pretend I never expected him to show up--which was the truth. Each and every time he arrived, I was flabbergasted.
I wasn’t sure what was starting up between the two of us or who started it. I mean, how could a man like him seriously be interested in me?
And even after weeks came and went, I still didn’t trust him. At each dinner he’d ask if I’d like wine with my meal. “Of course,” I’d say, letting my glass set without drinking it. If he worried the wine wasn’t good, I’d bring the glass to my lips, without sipping. I figured if he knew I had a drinking problem, he’d beat the hell out of there. Eventually though, he stopped asking if I wanted wine and only ordered one glass instead of two.
Still, he kept showing up.
I knew I was starting to slip into a situation that could toss my sobriety into the toilet, but meeting for dinner didn’t seem like backsliding into emotional drunkenness. Although, it never feels like slipping until you find yourself in a ragged heap of discontent.
Our routine altered when on a Sunday afternoon he telephoned giving me a weather report. He said the day was hot and getting hotter. He said he was putting a steak on the barbecue, and he just happened to have two. Are you hungry?