Pets and Origins
Pets inspire. A lot of my characters come from, in one way or another, people I have known. But some come from animals.
I am a dog person and make no secret of the fact. The first dog character I wrote in Star Trek fanfiction was the Star Trek: Enterprise canon character, Porthos, in The Adventures of Porthos.
Caitians of course are canon, and they are felinoid. So the idea was to respond directly to that, with a canid species. I had been reading about the marsupial wolf and so the two ideas were combined, and the Daranaeans were born.
A Dog’s Eye View
Their personalities tend to be canine, too, from their pack-like hierarchy to their desire to sleep communally to the lower castes’ need to serve. The pack structure is shown off in The Cure is Worse Than the Disease and Beta individuals challenging the Alpha are shown in Take Back the Night.
In the upcoming Barnstorming series, their sports are even doglike, including mazes (based upon lure coursing), ring throwing (based upon frisbee) and staggered relay (based on agility).
The hyperactivity of the press parallels, in particular, terriers that I have known. The sentient marsupial canids are great fun to write.
I am allergic to cats and have never had one as a pet. However of course I have known plenty of felines as pets. For Caitian character Parenelsa, her shyness is absolutely based on shy and withdrawn cats, as in The Further Adventures of Porthos – The Stilton Fulfillment. But Ambassador Gopalahr, and the explorer, M’Roan, are a lot more adventurous. M’Roan was shown off to quirky effect in A Single Step.
In The Continuing Adventures of Porthos – The Future Cat, I confess I was a bit nervous about writing Spot, Data’s cat.
We had an iguana when I was very young. So I have thought a bit about Iggy when creating reptile characters.
I have tried to play against type with all of them, giving them more warmth and depth and trying to stay away from the simple idea of ‘coldness’.
Inspiration is all around; you just have to know where to look for it. You might even be scratching it behind the ears right now.