“I started like so many aspiring writers,” author Susan Wilson said recently in a phone interview with the Gazette. “I pounded out a book that seemed exciting to me. In this case, what else, a pirate story.”

Since then Mrs. Wilson has published six well-received novels, and her newest release, The Dog Who Danced, arrived in stores last month.

Her latest book is based on a sheltie named Mack, owned by a lonely 43-year-old woman named Jackie who hitches a ride from the West Coast to the East Coast. Along the way, Jackie is abandoned at a truck stop and then Mack, some hundreds of miles later on down the road, is also booted from the trucker’s vehicle. A grieving middle-aged couple rescues Mack and the saga takes on new urgency as the reader seeks salvation for all parties concerned. Along the way, a little known art form and competition called Canine Freestyle Dance, hence the title, is brought to life by the story.

Mrs. Wilson grew up in Rockfall, Conn., “a small town outlying a suburb of Middlefield,” but each year took a trip to Susan’s grandmother’s cottage in the Oak Bluffs Camp Ground.

Of course, regular contact with Martha’s Vineyard has the potential to alter one’s life as surely as those sirens in the Odyssey drew sailors to their rock. As a teenager, Mrs. Wilson, born Susan Hidler, took a shine to David Wilson, an almost-native, who had been raised but not born on the Vineyard.

“We wrote letters to each other, can you believe that, letters,” said Ms. Wilson laughing. The romance continued through college and they were married soon after.

After college David found a job at the Hickory Stick Bookstore in Washington Depot, Conn, and Susan, after learning to type and take shorthand, began work at Connecticut Bank and Trust. Their first daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1979, and Alison arrived in 1984.

The Wilson family moved full-time to the Vineyard in 1988. David managed the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and then began teaching English at the regional high school. Susan has worked at the hospital, Polly Hill Arboretum, and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

She also began, in the mid-90s, to write and sell books.

Mrs. Wilson’s first published novel, Beauty, was a modern remake of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast and it turned out to be the publishing equivalent of when Red Sox newbie Daniel Nava hit a grand slam, a few years back, on the first pitch in his first at-bat in the Major Leagues. Crown Books purchased Ms. Wilson’s manuscript in 1996. Foreign rights were quickly sold and the book went on to become a CBS Sunday Night Movie starring Janine Turner and Jamie Sheridan.

Four new novels appeared at an assembly-line pace: Hawke’s Cove, Cameo Lake, The Fortune Teller’s Daughter (this reporter’s personal favorite in the author’s romance / relationships canon), and Summer Harbor.

A theme that runs through the arc of Susan Wilson’s life is creativity combined with stability. She has not only been married to the same man for 38 years, she has remained faithful to her agent, Andrea Cirillo at the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York, even after a very long dry spell when the author tried to write a different type of book from the romance novels for which she had been known.

Eventually, Ms. Cirillo suggested to Mrs. Wilson that she try writing a book with a dog as the protagonist. “Dog books are big right now,” Ms. Cirillo said.

The result was One Good Dog, St. Martin’s Press, 2010, featuring an abused pit bull and an executive who find each other and save each other’s lives. One Good Dog stayed on the New York Times best seller list for six weeks.

The Dog Who Danced is a natural follow-up and already Mrs. Wilson is at work on a third canine project. This one takes place just after World War II.

Mrs. Wilson’s new literary niche as an author of books about endearing dogs is abetted by the constant companionship of Bonnie, a fluffy, white, medium-sized dog of unknown heritage. “American Melange,” Mrs. Wilson calls her.

“Bonnie inspires me every day with her intelligence and companionship,” Mrs. Wilson said. “She is by far one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever known. She even plays tricks on us. If I’m on the couch in the prime spot, she’ll bark at the cellar door as if she’s left something of importance down there. When I get up, she jumps into my vacated seat. Pretty smart, especially since I keep falling for that trick. Watching her interact with other dogs has helped me enormously as I create these fictitious dogs.”

For more information about Susan Wilson’s work and Bonnie visit susanwilsonwrites.com.