Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Creature Comforts

Trisha Ashley’s new novel, CREATURE COMFORTS, is out this week and we thought we would take the opportunity to ask her about any creatures she has owned over the years – and if any of them ever made it into her novels!

In Creature Comforts the heroine, Izzy, has broken off her engagement to her feckless fiancée Kieran and returned to her childhood home – the sleepy village of Halfhidden. She soon realises that life in the village is anything but peaceful – for one thing she’s living with her mad aunt Debo, who runs Debo’s Desperate Dog Rescue.

One of Debo’s rescue dogs is a black Newfoundland called Babybelle, who is supposed to live outside with the other dogs, but slowly insinuates her way into the house and the affections of Izzy, who until then hadn’t even realised she wanted a dog.

Trisha says: I have always loved dogs. When I was first married we got a dog from a rescue home in Liverpool. Sasha looked like a little fox and wasn’t housetrained or used to people, so she was a challenge, but she lived for thirteen years. After that we had a King Charles spaniel called Steffi, after the tennis player, Steffi Graff. She inspired Flossie in Every Woman for Herself and was very loveable, but had the intelligence of a cushion. If I called her, she would look around to see who I was speaking to and then gaze blankly at me as if to say “Me?” When I went out I would leave her spread-eagled in her bed, all four paws in the air, and when I came back several hours later she would be in exactly the same position, looking at me as if to say, “Oh, hello. Have you been anywhere?” She was the perfect pet for a writer!

For many years I had an Amazon Blue Fronted Parrot, too, who featured in Good Husband Material (only I changed him to a grey parrot). He would swear in Spanish and liked to bite men (a perfect character trait; you couldn’t fault that!) although he would always laugh afterwards! When I was a student I looked after him for a week and then somehow he stayed on. He was elderly, half-blind and he couldn’t fly, but he used to spend most of his time sitting on the outside of his cage where he could get a good grip and lean out to bite people. Sadly, after over thirty years together, he died just before I moved to Wales.

My current dog, like Babybelle in Creature Comforts, is a rescue dog, who was originally adopted by my son, Robin. When Robin went away to university, I said I would look after Dog (as I call him online: he is a very private dog and insists I refer to him by his title alone) and now he lives with me. He was the inspiration for Flash in Chocolate Shoes and Wedding Blues. Dog is completely mad and drives me totally crackers, but I love him dearly and wouldn’t be without him!

Dog in the bluebells


  1. Have just re read Chocolate Shoes and was so pleased there was a cat because although I adore dogs I also love cats. Was wondering why chickens featured heavily in your books though. Do you have any or did you have them when you were growing up?

  2. I had chickens for several years when living up in the Durham Dales. You will also be pleased to learn that a black cat features heavily in the Christmas novel I'm writing at the moment! x Trisha Ashley

  3. Ah, I thought you must have had them at some point. My Dad kept chickens during the war and talks about them a lot. He would be pleased at your roosters as he believed a rooster kept the hens happy. Oh wow! I will tell my cat Minnie that there is a black cat in your upcoming book. I wished I'd thought to call her Trinity as she only has three legs like the dog that belongs to Lizzy's friend Annie. Minnie (Minerva) is black and I tell people she lost her leg falling off my broomstick on a midnight jaunt.....


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