Answer: First of all, I've never had children, let alone three teenage boys, so I'm amazed you can even think about writing let alone find the time to do it. Even Trixie, our golden retriever, demands (and receives) play and belly rubs that, on an annual basis, add up to enough time to write half a novel! Basically, over the years, I've found that I make writing time by denying myself other pleasures: Aside from architecture and antiquing, I have no hobbies; I seldom watch television, and my own reading time has declined so that whereas I once read 200 novels a year, I now read 20. But do not feel sorry for me; do not weep and pound your breast in despair over my self-denial. When writing, I'm doing what I love to do, and no vacation in Zanzibar, no game of golf or tennis would be a fraction as much fun.
Question: I've always enjoyed your canine characters (as well as the human ones), probably because I'm a pet professional and pet lover. Besides being entertaining stories, your books have educated readers about the countless positives of living with dogs-in particular the service animals. I understand you are involved with CCI (bravo!), and I wonder how you first became aware of the organization and interested in supporting its programs. Amy, Sherman, Texas
Answer: A good dog, under the gently controlling influence of a caring owner, is a source of joy and wonder and perpetual comic relief. Dogs can teach us patience because they are patience personified; they can teach us to enjoy the small things of life, for they are not driven by ambition; they are reflexively courageous; they have strength without arrogance, beauty without ego, charm without guile. Grooming a dog can be a Zen experience: Because she has a thick coat and because we have a no-hair-in-the-household standard, Ms. Trixie receives a 45-minute combing every morning and a 15-minute combing most afternoons. During these sessions, she languishes in limp enjoyment, as if she were at a spa, and whoever is combing her-sometimes Gerda, sometimes me-zones out, so focused on the beautifying task that the world is forgotten, with the consequence that a combing is like meditation, and restful. Every floor in the house still has to be swept every day, as backup, but we wouldn't give up the combing even if all could be handled by sweeping! As for CCI: I read an article about them just before I wrote Midnight, and I decided to included a paraplegic and his service dog in the story. Soon thereafter, we because deeply involved in this wonderful organization. For more about CCI-and dogs, and true stories that will lift your heart-I recommend the book Love Heels, by Patricia Dibsie, with an introduction by me, published by Yorkville Press.
Question: Is there any way that Oddkins would ever be republished? All available copies seem to either cost upwards of sixty dollars or are in poor condition. I don't want to resort to stealing the copy from my local library! Karen