A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

A Writer’s Best Friend

Writing’s a pretty solitary business. Personally, I rather like this side of it. As a child, I’d play imaginary horses for hours by myself (can’t think why…), whereas my brother always had to be with his mates. Nowadays, I still enjoy my own space. I can’t write with anyone else in the room.

Well, almost anyone.


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My dogs Pip and Bertie are my writing buddies. Actually, they’re my very best writing buddies. They know when to be quiet. They know when to pester. And even if you’ve written only 50 very bad words all afternoon, they’ll still be cheerful.  These days, it’s hard to write without them.


Mornings always start with a dog walk.  If it’s a writing day- as apposed to a school day- I then settle down to write at my kitchen table. Bert takes the chair beside me; Pip goes to her bed in the corner. In the afternoons, just to shake it up a bit, I write on my bed or the sofa. This is doggy heaven. Both dogs quite literally ram themselves under my laptop tray for a full on snoozle. It helps keep me warm too.


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By about 4pm it’s walk time again. I’ll suddenly be aware of four pairs of eyes on me. Bert’s trick is to drop a toy on the keyboard. Pip just starts quivering. And though this can all be a bit off-putting, I realize they’re only trying to be helpful! After hours of staring at a screen, it’s got to be a good thing to get some fresh air and exercise. Without my dogs, I’d probably have bed sores by now.


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Recently, I heard Dawn O’Porter sharing her top writing tips, and -yep, you guessed it- one of them was to get a dog. (Cue furious nodding from me). Look too at the ‘Our Mascots’ tab at the top of this blog page, and you’ll see all the Author Allsorts’ pets. And it’s not just us. Virginia Woolf had a dog called Pinka, John Steinbeck ‘s hound was called Charley. Edith Wharton wrote of her pet: ‘My little dog- a heart beat at my feet.’


So I’m a dog geek. I admit it. Check out these pictures of more famous writers and their dogs, and you’ll see here at Author Allsorts we’re in good company.


attachmentEmma Carroll
When she isn’t writing, Emma Carroll teaches English part-time at a secondary school in Devon. She has also worked as a news reporter, an avocado picker and the person who punches holes into filofax paper. She recently graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University’s MA in Writing For Young People. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ is Emma’s debut novel for Faber. Told in the distinctive voice of Tilly Higgins, it was inspired by a winter’s day from Emma’s childhood. Currently, Emma is working on her second novel. It is set in a Victorian circus. In another life she wishes she’d written ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier. Emma lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and two terriers.

2 comments on “A Writer’s Best Friend

  1. kateormand
    November 14, 2013

    This is such a lovely post! I’ve got my furry assistant Freddie to keep me company on writing days. Taking him out is a good break. Some fresh air and stretching of legs does us both good! He’s great. Pip and Bertie are so cute!

  2. EmmaH
    November 22, 2013

    TERRIERS RULE!!!! Mine are half Norfolk/half Jack Russells and have an astounding ability to read my mind. I just need to teach them to write.

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