On a recent Sunday morning, Nicole Galland’s chickens were clucking furiously. Well, not exactly her chickens, but the chickens that reside on the same property as her.

The chickens were clucking because Ms. Galland’s dog wanted to play, and, well, chickens don’t really play with dogs. Luckily the dog was on a leash.

Ms. Galland’s dog’s name is Leuco, which is ironic because in Greek the word means “white.” Her dog is black and he likes to play with chickens, in a nice way. Honest. The dog is also the inspiration for her latest book, Stepdog.

Ms. Galland adores Leuco, and she said it was fun to write a book in which she could describe a character’s relationship with her dog. In Stepdog, the character Sara is utterly devoted to her dog Cody.

“Well, in some ways I’m worse than Sara with my dog, in some ways I’m better,” Ms. Galland admitted.

Stepdog tells a story of the dangers of jealousy. That is, the jealousy that comes from a husband observing his wife’s unconditional, googly-eyed love for a canine.

The protagonist of the story is Sara’s husband Rory. He is boyish, charming, Irish and an actor. (Note: Ms. Galland’s husband is also “boyish, charming and Irish.” And an actor! Coincidence? Probably not.)

“He’s not based completely off of him, but he was definitely the inspiration,” Ms. Galland said of her husband.

In the book, Sara marries Rory to help him get a green card. Their life as a new couple is working well, except for the fact that Rory thinks of Cody as the third, and unnecessary, wheel in this relationship. But when Cody gets kidnapped and Rory is at fault, it’s up to him to make things right, with the dog and his relationship with Sara. Time to get on the road to track down a dognapper heading for North Carolina.

Ms. Galland’s first novel was The Fool’s Tale. The main character in that book was named Gwirion. Ms. Galland said that Rory is a “21st-century Gwirion,” because they are both the lovers of fair maidens.

Ms. Galland has written numerous works of historical fiction, but she has been enjoying writing contemporary fiction lately, in part because when she wrote novels set in medieval Europe she felt the need to embark on her own crusades, traipsing over the hills of Scotland or dusting off books at the British library or exploring forests in France. But all of that grew burdensome when she got married, and her life became “delightfully chaotic.”

She also found it impossibly difficult to leave her dog “with some stranger” for two months. As an exasperated Rory often complains, “It’s ALWAYS about the dog.”

So Nicole started writing more lighthearted stories set in present day. “When I write the fun stuff it seems to work best,” she said.

Ms. Galland described her path to writing novels as circular. When she was in elementary school she read “voraciously and read everything.” She was an introvert, and books gave her a path to escape. She continued to pursue that escape, first with acting, then directing, then film directing, then writing screenplays, one of which won an award. She moved to Los Angeles, but the screenplay project fell apart before it made it to the screen.

By then Ms. Galland felt completely disconnected from her childhood goals, as she was so caught up in the “schmoozy” world that one often tends to be attracted to when the lure of fame and money knocks at the door.

Miserable, and holed up in her boyfriend’s house in the desert, Ms. Galland picked up a novel that she had stopped writing in college 15 years earlier. And so began her first book, The Fool’s Tale, and her career as an author.

Which she knew she was meant to do all along.

“What’s funny to me about that is that I did this route that I needed to go on in order to come back and be a novelist.”

Ms. Galland enjoys writing in the dead of winter because during the summer there are too many distractions and temptations. “Even just looking at the white flowers against the dark trees in the background from across the duck pond,” will keep her mind from the page for hours on end.

Ms. Galland is grateful for her journey as a writer, because it brought her to Martha’s Vineyard. She loves the Island and its community and energy. She claims that West Tisbury is “the best town in the world.”