One of the main characters of Night of the Party is Lulu the dog. All the other characters are out of my imagination, but Lulu is taken from life; she is my friend’s dog.
I was looking after her one day at a very early stage of developing the characters and story of the novel, and as I walked her round the block I suddenly thought, ‘Oh. This is what Ash does. He walks his dead sister’s dog.’
It was a transformative moment for the book. Lulu’s presence brought many scenes to life. She became somehow symbolic of Sophie and her memory: when Ash thinks all that life he is thinking equally of Lulu and of Sophie.
And as I worked and reworked the story, Lulu ended up having a major impact on how the latter stages of the plot unfolded. If it wasn’t for her, Ash reflects at one point, none of this would be happening.
Here she is.