Character Spotlight ~ Leanna Ellis’ Cousin It

Cousin It


Leanna Ellis brings a first to Relz Reviewz ~ a character spotlight of the animal kind! You will love this look at a mischievous Labradoodle based on Leanna’s canine friend.

Enjoy meeting Cousin It:~

Brief physical description

Cousin It is the dog that comes to visit ‘temporarily’ at Kaye’s house. She is a big furry blob with black hair and looks like a black bear but is actually a dog. She is rambunctious and full of energy.

Actor/famous dog

Cousin It actually resembles my labradoodle, which we named Hilo (pronounced Hee-lo, after one of our favorite towns on the big island of Hawaii). We thought she was laid back when we named her. Boy, were we wrong! So she developed the name The Hilo Monster. If we don’t groom her, her hair grows out and she becomes this big shaggy mop.

Strengths and weaknesses

Cousin It’s weakness is anything that looks edible, no matter what. Her strength is that once you get past that puppy energy, she has a kind heart and just wants to love and be loved. She’s a great big furry pillow that is perfect for hugging.

Quirk (if any)

Eating. Everything.

Your inspiration for the character

I began writing FACELIFT right after my father died. It was a very difficult time for me and I really struggled getting words on the page. But deadlines don’t wait for grief. Still, I’ve been writing long enough to know that I couldn’t force the words so I tried to give myself time. Some days though all I could write would be ‘chapter five.’ Literally. Two words. But I had this crazy labradoodle puppy that was the most difficult puppy I’d ever attempted to train. Have you seen the movie Marley and Me? Well, there’s Hilo! She ate about 10 pairs of glasses (to date), twelve spicy chicken wings, a whole bunch of grapes (lethal to a dog), a pound of butter, papers, bills, you name it and she attempted to eat it. Every morning would be the same…she’d grab something off a counter or table and take off running. And we’d chase after her. My mother, who is very much a dog person, did not like her. I think Hilo came closest to losing her life when she ate half of the deboned turkey from Thanksgiving. That was also the Thanksgiving that she jumped off the pier at my parents’ farm, right into the lake and attempted to swim. And she is actually a good swimmer. She took off across the lake. Unfortunately, that lake usually has a patrolling alligator. Yes, we have alligators in Texas! She got about half way across the lake before she pooped out and my husband had to get a rowboat out and rescue her. I never actually regretted getting Hilo although it would have been so easy to do so. When we first got her, my dad was in the final stages of his fight against cancer. There wasn’t a lot for him to smile about as he was in a lot of pain for so many months. But he laughed at Hilo. And I will always be grateful to her for bringing a smile to my dad during that difficult time. But of course, she was incredibly difficult. So, I learned that I had to walk Hilo each morning just to burn off some of that energy. In the process of doing that, on those days when I just wanted to wallow in bed with the grief of losing my dad, I had to get out. And I learned that when you are grieving or fighting depression, walking, sunshine, and movement helps. And I also discovered the power of laughter. Writing scenes about Hilo…er, Cousin It came easily. And so she became an important part of the book.

Background to the story

A ‘can do’ kind of woman runs her own business, raises her teenage daughter, and takes care of her ex-mother-in-law after a botched facelift. But Kaye learns a facelift is more than skin deep. Joy is more than tacking on a happy face. It’s relying on her sovereign God who has a plan for her life.

The craziness in Kaye’s life, and that includes this crazy puppy that comes to stay, along with her crazy ex-mother-in-law, causes many trials in the life of Kaye. But she learned many of the same lessons I was learning in the aftermath of my father’s death, in how to cope with grief and how to continuously look to God for His will and His peace.

Loved meeting Cousin It aka Hilo, Leanna. Thanks for sharing :)

On Thursday the spotlight shines on Anita Higman’s Holly Goodnight, Owen Quigley & Van Keaton from her novella Once Upon a Christmas Eve in Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe


Relz Reviewz Extras

View the trailer

Character spotlight on Bryn Seymour

Reviews of Elvis Takes a Back Seat, Lookin’ Back, Texas and Once in a Blue Moon

Interview with Leanna

Visit Leanna’s website and blog

Buy Leanna’s books at Amazon and Koorong

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3 Responses to Character Spotlight ~ Leanna Ellis’ Cousin It

  1. I'm having a good time reading this book!

  2. Thanks so much for inviting me to tell you about 'Cousin It,' aka The Hilo Monster. I just got home from the ACFW conference and let me tell you she was excited to see me!

    Thanks, CeeCee, you made my day!

    Blessings all!

    Leanna

  3. I'm putting this book on my bedside table to begin tonight.

    Did you say you wanted a review for it? I have so many books floating about in unorganised piles that I can't remember!

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