Sunday, 18 March 2012

Escape with Patsy

As well as being the most generous blogger I know when it comes to sharing news of competitions, Patsy Collins is also a talented and successful short story writer.

It is my great pleasure to welcome her here today to talk a little about her debut novel Escape to the Country and in particular about a certain canine character.

Thanks, Teresa! You and Indy already know dogs have as much character as humans (and often better ones). I know it myself. How could I not? I've had the pleasure of sharing much of my life with Jack Russells (Indy, I know they're little but they are real dogs!)

Perhaps surprisingly, I was slow to realise dogs can be proper fictional characters too. My writing tutor, June Hampson, used to talk about 'falling through the page' to where characters take on a life beyond our control. It sounded odd, but I soon saw it was true ... with human characters.

It wasn't until I wrote 'Escape to the Country' this happened with a canine. Tarragon, an English Setter, was intended as little more than someone for Leah (the main character) to talk to as she awaited rescue by Duncan a dishy tractor driver.

Tarragon hadn't read my outline so he helped rescue Leah, generally stole scenes whenever he could and insisted on huge quantities of chews and biscuits. He's so cute, I've managed to forgive him!

The Kennel Club Standard for the English Setter describes his temperament as "intensely friendly and good natured" and I hope I've shown those traits in Tarragon.

Thank you so much for visiting, Patsy - I couldn't agree more with you about dogs having better characters than some humans or the wonderful temperament of the English Setter! Good luck with the book - I’ve already fallen in love with Tarragon (don’t tell Indy) and can’t wait to read Escape to the Country.

Patsy has a Facebook page which you can visit here.


  1. Congratulations to Patsy. The book sounds fantastic and I really love the cover.
    I adore Tarragon already, particularly his name.
    Very best of luck with the book. I'm sure it will be a great success.

  2. English Setters are wonderful dogs. It's fun to have a dog's character really coming through in fiction isn't it. And why shouldn't they have their moment in the spotlight too? Good luck with the book.

  3. What a great name for the doggy character!

  4. That was great, Patsy and Teresa.
    Now I've heard about Tarragon I'm looking forward to reading the book more than ever.

    Tim and Ted think it's a cool name because it begins with T.


  5. He sounds adorable. My son used to walk a Red Setter. He was bonkers. (The Setter I mean.)Looking forward to reading your book Patsy.

  6. Oh we love Patsy Collins!! Yes we do!! So so so thrilled for her and her scrummy book!! And yay to know there's a wonderful dog to save the day! Oh ok - to steal the limelight from Leah! We love Tarragon too!!

    Take care

  7. How I agree - lovely dog (and aren't all setters scatty?) and brilliant name for him too :-)

  8. Thanks everyone for your kind words.

    I'm glad people like the name Tarragon. I should have explained about that in the post. Once I visited a herb garden in the rain and there was something about the clump of tarragon which reminded me of a bedraggled dog.

    I note down little details like that and try to sneak them into stories whenever I can.

  9. I think adding a main character who is a dog is a great idea. Who doesn't love a dog?

  10. It's never occurred to me to have animals in my fiction. Interesting idea.

  11. Enjoyed the post Teresa. All the best with it all Patsy xx

  12. Well done Patsy...congrats. Great post.

    I love the idea of animals in stories playing a major role... would love more stories like that.

  13. Hi Teresa and Patsy - it sounds just such a wonderful countryside read - so English - English setter and all to steal our hearts .. cheers and very good luck with the book - Hilary

  14. Every new thing I hear about this book just makes it sound better and better :-)

  15. It's great to know how you got the name Tarragon, Patsy x

  16. Tarragon sounds like my kind of dog! :)

  17. Thanks everyone for your support. I'm getting really excited about the launch now!

  18. Hi Patsy and hi Teresa,
    Yes indeed, tis I, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, taking over her human's keyboard.
    Indeed, Patsy, us dogs can be proper fictional or non-fictional characters. I would even say that I have tried to teach my human how to write better. Alas, he will not listen :)
    Much satisfaction with your book, Patsy. Seems very intriguing.
    Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses, Penny xx

  19. Thanks so much for the pawsitive wishes, Penny!

  20. HI Patsy - I like the way your writing tutor describes that feeling of characters writing the story themselves as 'falling through the page' a bit like Alice through the Looking glass! It is the best feeling when writing I believe - that moment when you are as much the reader as the writer. My lurcher, Jess, wrote her own column in a magazine for years (without any help from me I think) and my current dogs contribute to my blog from time to time. It is definitely them writing and not me... Debbie :-)

  21. Great post.

    Congratulations, Patsy. Can't wait to read your book.