Before baby Emily was born (she’s now 15 months old), we were shopping at a secondhand store when I laid eyes on a multi-colored stuffed llama, which I have since come to learn is a character from the video game Fortnite, although I was blissfully ignorant of that fact at the time.
I snapped it up, thinking it would be perfect for my as-yet unborn granddaughter, because her Mama, my youngest daughter Katie, had been a huge fan of stuffed llamas as a child and had a whole corral of them in her room. Remember The Emperor’s New Groove? That movie came out around then, I think, and young Katie was hooked. Her first stuffed llama was a little guy she named Brownie…yes, in the tradition of Whitey, Blackie, and Greenie.
But back to Emily…the Fortnite llama has become one of her favorite toys. I made up a little rhyme to go with it as we play and walk her llama around. “Llama, llama, love my Mama,” we chorus together.
As I was playing with Emily, I started thinking about the two books I’m currently writing, both of which are full of llamas, among other ranch animals. Having just come off a six-book service dog series, I decided to expand into a small and large animal veterinary clinic for my fictional Colorado mountain town Whispering Pines.
That means llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, chickens and more as well as dogs and cats. Sometimes these feisty animals become characters of their own, such as a stubborn goat named Buster who gets himself caught in a fence. I love animals and ranch settings, so it’s a joy to write them into my books.
As readers, do you like to see a variety of animals in the books you read? Do you have any favorite books that feature farm/ranch animals?
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