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Jack Frost has settled over the country with a chilly blast, putting outdoor activities on hold for a bit. The only reasonable thing for any self-respecting, dog-worshiping, book lover to do is to curl up in a sunny spot with a great new novel or two and wait for the temperatures to thaw! Bury yourself in a story centered around a beloved canine character, and you’ll have no trouble chasing away the winter blues.
If you’ve been sniffing around for just the right books to catch your attention, this is your lucky day! We have two fetching reads that will keep you bounding through the pages. I even contributed to one of them!
When Todd Dwyer’s uncle dies, leaving his dog behind, this successful app designer can’t help welcoming the pooch into his home. Archie could charm the marrow out of a bone, but Todd’s girlfriend, Gwen, is less than impressed. When things go awry the first night, Gwen insists that Todd give Archie to his sister. Instead, Todd and Archie hit the road for a hair-raising adventure, stopping at a hotel run by Todd’s childhood friend, Emma. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
There it was again, fainter now, but still noticeable—a low moaning sound that made the hair rise up on the back of her neck. Emma took a deep breath, reminding herself that, in spite of The Spirit Inn’s reputation, there really were no such things as ghosts.
She heard scuffling, then a thump! against the door. Emma jumped out of bed and grabbed her robe.
She approached the door cautiously and put her eye to the peephole. Nothing there. Maybe it was the wind after all.
Emma screamed and fell back, her heart pounding. Whatever was out there had jiggled the handle! She searched the room for something to use as a weapon.
“You’d better get out of here,” she yelled, grabbing a Merriam Webster dictionary and raising it to shoulder height. “I’ve got a gun!”
Well, the word gun, anyway.
There was more scuffling outside and then Emma heard the unmistakable whimper of a small dog. She gasped.
She dropped the dictionary and opened the door a crack. A dirty black nose and a face full of matted fur peered up at her.
“Oh, my gosh, it is you!”
Todd’s first road trip with Archie teaches him a lot about traveling with dogs, but the publisher wanted to give the book’s readers some tips from a pet travel expert, so they invited me to write the closing section of the book! It was a fun opportunity to share some of the insights we’ve gained traveling with our own mischievous pooches for the past six years.
Nothing can go wrong when Anna and Jeff meet and fall in love. Together they adopt Earnest, a charming, enthusiastic yellow Labrador retriever, and it seems they’ve created their own paradise. During the day, Earnest keeps Anna company at work in the bustling flower shop she runs out of a Victorian house that once belonged to her grandmother. But Anna’s hopes to one day purchase and restore the dearly loved house are shattered when Jeff makes some bad decisions, and Earnest’s once-blissful life becomes tumultuous as the couple’s relationship takes a difficult turn. Yet Earnest’s devotion to his two people, and their love for him, make it impossible for them to walk away from each other.
We’re excited to chat with Kristin chat about her most recent book:
What is Earnest about?
Earnest is about a wise and loving yellow Labrador retriever, who is upset when the couple who adopted him break up. He makes known his opinion about their sorry situation any way he can. Besides fighting over custody of him, they fight over the future of a historic Victorian house – and whether it should be saved, or demolished and replaced with a new commercial building. The book sheds light on a contemporary dilemma: Should we preserve the past or welcome the future?
Where did you get the idea for Earnest?
Many years ago I read about a San Diego couple who divorced and got into a legal battle over their pointer-greyhound mix. All the newspaper articles focused on the people, but I kept wondering: What about the dog? How would the bickering influence her life? What could be done to protect her? I tucked those thoughts into the back of my mind and hoped someday I could write about them.
As for historic preservation, a facet of the story, I used my own experience. My husband and I renovated an old Victorian farmhouse that everyone advised us to tear down. To me, however, it was like a living thing, and I didn’t have the heart to demolish it. Like Anna, a main character in Earnest, I can almost feel the spirits of people who lived in the house for the 120 years before I did.
Why do you write about animals?
Because I love them. And because so often they are treated badly. I want to take up for them and show their sensitivity, importance, and worth. I also want my life to make a difference for them, and writing about them seems to be the best way I can make that difference. I don’t think I could not write about animals.
How did you become an animal advocate?
All my life I’ve been supremely sensitive to animal suffering. I was born on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. As a tiny child, in western movies I cried so hard when cowboys dug their spurs into horses’ sides that my father had to take me to the theater lobby. All my adopted animals deepened my sensitivity even more – especially Bea, a beagle who came from a medical lab. Given my nature, I couldn’t help but take injured wildlife for emergency care, feed hungry creatures who crossed my path, and volunteer for animal organizations. Animal advocacy has been engrained in me since birth.
Do you have pets? Dogs? Cats?
I’ve always had dogs and cats, including once a feral colony of kitties. But a few years ago Logan, my beloved German shepherd, and Phoebe, my beloved beagle, died in the same month. I was devastated, and for the first time in my life I had no animals. My husband and I grieved for over a year. Recently, however, we adopted Bridget, who was found starving in the San Bernardino desert and brought to Seattle by the Washington German Shepherd Rescue. She is a joy! I’ll never go for longer than a couple of weeks again without an animal in the house.
What have you learned from animals? How do animals teach us?
I have learned so much from animals about compassion, loyalty, courage, resourcefulness, generosity, fortitude – my list could go on. For example, three years ago when Logan, my German shepherd, was recovering from surgery, he lay on his bed for weeks without complaining and showed courage like none I’d ever seen. I swore to myself that if I were ever in a similar situation, I’d try to be as noble as he was. If we open our eyes, we can see that animals are constantly teaching us by setting examples.
Are you ready to cozy up in your favorite chair with your best friend and a couple of good books? Well, we want nothing more! In fact, we’ve put together The Bookish Dog Lover’s Gift Basket to make make your snuggle time even more enjoyable.
Open to US and Canada, excluding Quebec and where prohibited by law. Giveaway open Feb 10, 2016 – Feb 15, 2016 11:59 PM ET. Winner will be notified Feb 17, 2016, and will have until 11:59 PM Feb 20, 2016 to claim the prize. If the prize is left unclaimed at that time, a new winner will be redrawn.
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