Today I'm so excited to introduce you to a wonderful new middle-grade novel, A Dog's Way Home by Bobbie Pyron. I love the way this story--alternating between the lost dog and his girl-- combines action and adventure with school and family issues. But I mostly loved the way my own 11-year-old daughter got lost in this story!
Leave a comment to win a signed copy of A Dog's Way Home.
I'm impressed by the way you depict Tam's doggie thinking in A Dog's Way Home. You obviously know a lot about canine sensibilities. Will you tell us a little bit about your very first dog?
The very first dog we had when I was a child was a wonderful beagle named Puck. I come from a family of big-time dog lovers and dogs were always members of the family. They were not dogs that were stuck out in the back yard--they lived in the house with us. Puck was probably one of the smartest dogs I've ever known and had an “old soul.” He was our nanny. We lived in a small beach town in Florida. Whenever my sister and I went out to roam the neighborhoods or the beach, my parents always said, “Take Puck with you and mind him.” We didn't think there was anything odd about that! And because I was a rather shy child, I often preferred to spend my time with Puck than with other kids.
Tam is separated from his little girl Abby, but neither gives up finding each other again. I once found my missing cat after six months (I phoned the animal shelter on my birthday--and my cat was there!). Have you ever found a lost pet?
This is kind of a “lost pet” story: when I was about five, our neighborhood was hit by a small tornado. It came on so suddenly, we barely had time to come in from the back yard and hide in the bathroom! When the storm passed, my sister said, “Oh no, Pucky is in the back yard!” My mother and sister and I ran to the back yard. Not only was Puck gone, but so was his dog house. We walked all over the neighborhood calling and calling his name. My mother even called my father at work and told him he had to come home and help find Puck. Right after my dad got home, we got a phone call from some folks several blocks away. The man said, “We got at dog house in our front yard and a dog in it that belongs to you”! Just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Puck and his dog house had been picked up here, and dropped down over there. He never got in that dog house again.
I've always liked standard poodles, but my daughters don't think I'm fashionable enough to own one (poodles apparently don't like sweatpants!) What three dog breeds best represent you and why?
Wow, three...that's hard! My husband will tell you without hesitation that I'm a Border Collie. I'm always trying to get him to do something! And I need a job to do—I'm not a nap taker or lollygagger. But I'd like to think I also have the loyalty of a Sheltie and the stubbornness of a terrier.
Tam encounters many wild animals on his journey. Have you ever had a wild encounter while hiking with your dogs?
Ha! Well, living up here in Park City, it's not at all unusual to have close encounters of the wild kind. And I do spend a lot of time—all year round—out on the trails with my three dogs. We've frequently encountered moose, coyotes, foxes, deer, rabbits, grouse, elk, and unfortunately, skunks. One of my dogs, Boo, is a coyote mix so she loves to hunt. When she was younger, she'd run up and antagonize a moose until it had enough and chased her. Of course, she'd run straight to mom and hide behind me! Another time, she met a very friendly fox. They played and played together out in a field for a good ten minutes. It was so amazing—and of course, I didn't have my camera with me.
I admire the way Abby sticks to her belief that Tam will return--long after everyone else gives up. Tell us about a time in which you've stuck up for your beliefs.
I am by nature a fairly reticent, peace-making kind of person. I don't like to “rock the boat.” BUT, I will not back down when it comes to the importance of adopting pets and the rights of our animal friends, whether they be domestic or wild. I will also have to say, I also had to really stand up for my beliefs when I was trying to find an agent or publisher for my book, A Dog's Way Home. So many people (editors, agents, workshop critiquers) told me I “couldn't” and “shouldn't” write the book in two different points of view. But I knew in my gut and in my heart that that was the way the book had to be written. I stuck by my vision for the book until I finally found my wonderful agent who also believed in the way I had to tell the story. Eventually, she found my amazing editor, Molly O'Neill, who also believed in my vision (and may I point out, I originally met Molly at one of your SCBWI regional conferences the year before). What I learned from that is this: yes, you have to “pick your battles” but you also have to respect your instincts and your vision!
To find out more about Bobbie Pyron see her website: http://www.bobbiepyron.com Be sure to check out her blog too! You can see me with my big doggies featured in her Fido And Friend In Five series.
To win a copy of A Dog's Way Home, please tell me what kind of dog best represents you!
Contest ends at midnight on March 23, 2011.
Open to book and dog lovers worldwide!