One of my favorite TV series is Pit Bulls and Parolees. It’s unique in that the audience is drawn into the work of a family headed by a tough, brave, street-wise matriarch named Tia Torres, who rescues pit bulls and hires parolees to help her family tend the 200-odd rescued dogs, while the men help themselves ease back into society. Some of the young men succeed. Others fail and find themselves back in prison.
The show isn’t exactly a slice of mom’s warm apple pie. With Torres as guide, viewers have been exposed to dogs who’ve been badly mistreated; have been starved, used as bait, turned loose to fend for themselves, tortured and even killed. Way worse than some of the nature shows that show animals in the wild, giving birth, hunting, bringing down game for food, fighting for dominance, killing and being killed. What’s the difference? The dogs’ conditions are brought about by man’s inhumanity, which is recognizable as a concrete antagonist. Nature is just nature. But I digress.
Why am I such a fan of the show? It boils down to trusting Torres. Often afraid of the possible danger she’s walking into while attempting to save an animal, her fortitude is compelling, as are the stories of her family and the parolees who people the dog sanctuary called Villa Lobos.
What’s that got to do with readership? Well, the novelists I read—Diana Gabaldon, Joanna Bourne, Geraldine Brooks, Sarah Dunant, Phil Rickman, Jack Whyte to name a few favorites—write spellbinding stories, stories peopled by compelling, complex characters in impossible situations. No matter the brink these authors lead me to, I go willingly, knowing I can trust that their impeccable writing, intricate plotting and imaginative storytelling will never fail me and will always deliver a truly satisfying reading experience.
It’s what I want from the authors I read. “Good writing will always find a fan base,” says Deleyna Marr, author of “Sisterhood.” I agree. And I’m one.