Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Kill the Doggies!

I'm at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference and busy up to my ears so I'm going to make this short and sweet but hope to get some feedback . . . because I really want to know what you think!

I write suspense and in every one of my books thus far animals have been killed, cats and dogs. Mostly dogs. And after every one of my books releases I get emails from readers condemning me for killing animals in my stories. The poor doggies. They don't mind the killing of humans, hey, that's part of a suspense novel, right? But dogs and cats? Oh no, don't you go there Mr. Dellosso.

The comment usually goes something like this:

"I could take the murdering of people, but when a dog got killed, I couldn't read anymore. I don't tolerate that."

Huh? Really? Okay look, first, it's fiction, it's not real. No animals are really injured in the writing of my books. In fact, I love dogs. Cats? Not so much. And second, even if it was real, is the life of a dog more valuable than the life of a person?

I'd like your thoughts on this. Does it bother you more when animals are harmed or killed in a novel than when people are? And why? Please oh please tell me why. I don't like offending readers and would love to know the reasoning behind the comments.


Robynn Tolbert said...

It absolutely bothers me more when an animal gets killed. Won't watch Disney dog movies for that very reason (Lady and The Tramp is the only one where everyone but Ditsy makes it out alive).
I will stop reading a book and never pick up that author again if I think an animal I care about will die as part of the story. I allow a little leeway if its an animal who is dead when I "arrive on the scene."
Reason? Animals are innocents. They're victims of the curse we humans brought on the earth. They didn't ask to get eaten or hit by cars or tortured by budding serial killers. They don't deserve it in real life and I just can't read about it in my fiction.
Is it a good reason? I don't know. But it's a reason, and it absolutely guides my actions.
Thanks for the warning about your books, btw.

Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar said...

First of all, Mike -- I'm really JEALOUS that you're at the Blue Ridge Conference and I'm still freezing here in WI (but I will be at Ridgecrest in August). Secondly, I agree with you -- a human life is far more important than an animal's, even though I love dogs and I'm deathly allergic to horses and cats. Have fun!

Jillian Kent said...

Hi Mike!
You lucky, lucky man. You must post some of your experiences from Blueridge later. Hope you are having a blast.

I totally agree with Robynn. I know it may not make sense, but I think more folks, and maybe primarily women, feel strongly about the abuse and or killing of animals in fiction. It wouldn't necessarily make me put the book down, but it's just a place I don't want to go to if I can avoid it. Animals and kids are innocents and we should protect them.

You know it very well may be a difference between men and women although my hubby feels the same as I do. I've never understood how men can go out and kill deer, with those big brown innocent eyes. But I grew up on a farm and saw injured deer with arrows in them from hunters.

Did you ever see Star Man with Jeff Bridges? He brings a dead deer back to life that's laying across that hunters truck. That one scene made me love his character in that movie more than anything else, but I've been accused of being way too sensitive when it comes to critters.

Just my humble opinion. If you want women to read your books don't kill the critters.:)