AUTHOR GUEST POST: Never Work With Pets or Animals by Jane Lark

Today, I am pleased to be part of the blog tour for Jane Lark’s last book in her Marlow Intrigues Series, The Tainted Love of A Captain. As part of this, Jane has kindly provided a piece on how never working with pets or animals, even in books. Please check it out.


‘The Tainted Love of a Captain: Harry and his Dalmatian Dog – never work with pets or children’ by Jane Lark

People often raise the disadvantages of acting with animals, well pets can be equally awkward in books. But I love adding in animals. I think interactions with pets can give a depth to a character that isn’t there without the expression of emotion towards a pet; as they lean to stroke a dog’s ear mid conversation.

I also think that pets add a realism into a scene that can help engage you as the reader, especially when the scene is a character on their own, the pet’s behaviours can change the essence of the scene.

But why give Harry a Dalmatian?

I have worked at military sites and it is still common today for senior ranks to have dogs in the barracks. So that was one reason that made me think he should have a dog. Then there is a beautiful scene described in a historical memoir about a courtesan who watched a man throw a stick for his dog into the Serpentine in London every day and fell for him, then began asking all the men she knew who that man was. Those two thoughts combined into my thinking that Harry should have a dog, and that the opening scene should be Harry throwing a stick for his dog.

Then there was the breed of dog, well, obviously, Dalmatians have a natural elegance that would suit Harry’s station in life. But Dalmatians were carriage dogs of Harry’s parents’ generation. The Dalmatian was bred to run alongside the carriages as a status symbol in the Regency period. We have friends’ who have a Dalmatian and it nips at your heels when you are walking, the dogs used to do this to the horses to help keep them moving.

In Harry’s day, though, the aristocracy lived a less outwardly pompous lifestyle and yet Dalmatians’ would have still mostly been the dogs of the nobility. So, Harry has Ash, named by his niece for the spots on Ash’s coat, and given to him as a present from his sister and brother-in-law to keep him company.

The problem with pets, though, is that when I am deeply involved in writing an intense or emotional scene I can suddenly realise I have forgotten that the dog was with them 😀 Then I have to backtrack and put the dog in. Equally then there are times I want characters to do something without their dog and I have to consider, what happens to the dog then? I was talking with a group of longstanding authors the other day and they voted for excluding pets. But I think pets are a wonderful inclusion, even if they are awkward to manage.

I guess the same is true for children… Thinking of the old adage


Release Date:
12th May 2017
Published by: Harper Impulse
Genre: Historical Romance

The sounds and scents of the Crimean War are strangling Harry Marlow, shutting him off and silently smothering his soul. But he is a soldier and that is his life, and he can see nothing else besides that. So why should he care when a woman watches him? His life is not one to share with a woman, other than for a few moments in his bed.

When a woman is already drowning so deeply in sin she is without any fear of judgement – what can it matter if she choses to begin a new affair? It is like escape to choose her own man and Captain Marlow is the perfect candidate for a dalliance. All she has to do is obtain an introduction…



She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series and contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses them to create more realistic plots.

‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.


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