Tag Archive | animals

James Herriot Country- North Yorkshire

After revelling in the delights of Chatsworth palace and gardens, we decided to escape, this time to James Herriot country- North Yorkshire. We had a sneaky day before we left for three days in London. That night was spent at The Rock Inn.

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Fortified by their full English Breakfast, we embarked on a fun day touring the Yorkshire Dales. We drove up and up, along narrow lanes…

through classic Yorkshire villages…

and discovered a lake/tarn on a large open tableland. It was 10 degrees Celsius and windy on this late spring day.

Heading out from the tarn, the local flock of sheep blocked the road. It really is true what they say about sheep. What a delight!

We couldn’t get enough of the expansive vistas. Around every bend was another feast for the eyes and soul!

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You could imagine James Herriot trekking across the paddocks in search of a sick sheep! It was also obvious how inhospitable these hills would be in winter- brrrrr!

There were so many stone fences and peaceful streams and magnificent trees.

I was excited to catch a pleasant pheasant in the wild. He was very obliging, allowing us to get very close.


North Yorkshire was truly magnificent in spring. I want to go back and see everything we missed. You should too!

Next week I head to James Herriot’s old veterinary practice and you get to see a little of the man who inspired me to be a vet!

Until then…

Bernadette x

Queensland Vet Turns Romance Writer

By day, Queenslander Bernadette Rowley is a vet. By night she throws off her white coat and stethoscope and becomes a romance writer.

Bernadette and SlippersI had to laugh when my editor sent me this press release but it’s quite true. I have an alter ego and the two seem quite diametrically opposed. They’re not really, though the right side of my brain doesn’t get much of a workout in my job as a vet. Writing, however, requires both sides of the brain to be working in concert albeit not at the same time. The creative right brain is very much in control when I’m crafting a story draft whereas the left side comes to the fore when it’s time to edit.

When I was first introduced to my romance writing community, I was staggered to find that many romance writers were highly-functioning career women. I met bankers, teachers, lawyers and doctors, to name just a few occupations. Then I realized that romance writing (and reading) was therapy- an escape from the high stress of their daily grind. What could be more therapeutic than immersing oneself in a fantasy romance after a hard day dealing with illnesses and emergencies?

I’ve read almost exclusively fantasy since my teenage years so it was natural for me to choose the fantasy/paranormal genre when I ventured into romance writing. Because I’ve lived in the worlds of Tolkien, Eddings, Feist and Jordan for decades, it’s easy to ‘see’ my fantasy in line with these fabulous authors. I love creating my own fabulous world where I make the magic and anything is possible. But I’m not a slave to world-building. My creation is not so developed that it has character status. I give enough information to allow the reader to imagine the rest. No one wants to read through reams of elaborate descriptions. It just needs to make sense.

Princess Avenger High Res CoverWriting is one job where you very definitely learn a lot about yourself and even more so when you succeed in gaining publication. You get asked questions by editors and readers which really cause you to stop and think. I often get asked why I don’t write veterinary stories. My immediate reaction is always violent opposition. I have no interest in writing contemporary stories with a vet as main character. However, animals form an important part of my stories and worlds; only they’re not just boring cats and dogs (though who could say cats are boring!). My debut novel Princess Avenger is a fantasy romance about a forbidden love affair between a kick-ass princess and a shape-shifting army captain who is appointed her protector. The two are irresistibly drawn to each other amidst danger, deceit, palace intrigue and a plot to kill the princess’s father. What could be more natural than a vet who writes fantasy about a hero who can shift into three wild animal forms?

In addition, because my fantasy has a high fantasy setting, horses are integral to the everyday lives of the characters. So the animals I use in my fiction may not be the ones I see at work but are very much at the heart of it. In the next and related story, The Lady’s Choice, my heroine has a rather special connection to her horse and must use her special healing talents on him when his leg is broken. So I guess the reality of our ‘day jobs’ often resonates in our writing, in some way.

If you’re a writer, how does your ‘day job’ show up in your writing?