Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Paw and Order #SpencerQuinn #ChettheDog
LUCY BURDETTE: We love Spencer Quinn books here at Jungle Red, and before those, we loved Peter Abrahams books. And lucky us, now Spencer/Peter is here visiting! First of all welcome, Spencer (we'll call you that since we're talking dogs today), please tell us a little about the new book.
SPENCER QUINN: Thanks for inviting me over, Jungle Red people! In Paw and Order, seventh in the Chet and Bernie series, C & B visit Suzie Sanchez in Washington DC. She's Bernie's girlfriend from back home in Arizona, but she's taken a job reporting for the Washington Post - "a no brainer" as Bernie puts it,
which is the best kind of brainer out there, in Chet's opinion. Things go bad from the get-go, when Bernie mistakes Eben St. John, a mysterious Brit, for a love interest of Suzie's, when in fact he's only a source.
Then something not good happens to Eben, and the instrument of that not-good is a gun belonging to Bernie. You see where this is going? Yes, into the maze of an international conspiracy Le Carre or Graham Greene style, except seen through the eyes of a member of the nation within the nation, as Bernie refers to the dog population of the USA. Don't want to spoil the story, so all that I'll add is that it features what I'm sure is literature's first and only dog-versus-drone scene.
LUCY: How do you get into the head of Chet the Dog in order to write his character? Is he based on a real dog?
SPENCER: Now we come to the fun of this job! I use my imagination. Or it uses me. I just start telling the story in Chet's voice. There's so much discussion of plotting, reversals, point of view, etc. Is there enough about the imagination, the best club in the bag, in my opinion? Chet's not based on a real dog, but I couldn't have written him without having had lots of dogs in my life.
LUCY: One of things people love about mystery series is the way the characters grow and change. Could you talk about the challenge of this with a dog as the character?
SPENCER: Growth and change are not Chet's thing! He likes people to stay in place. So what the reader sees as growth and change are often puzzlements to him. Perhaps just one more of the payoffs I stumbled upon in this
(The photo is me on tour: me playing Bernie; a lovely member of the nation within (as Bernie refers to dogs) called Sadie, playing Chet: and a Porsche playing the Porsche.)
LUCY: You've written both stand-alones and series, including suspense and YA.What are the challenges and joys of each?
SPENCER: I like doing different things. Doesn't it keep you fresh? One thing about novel writing, as opposed to playing professional baseball, for example: if you take care of yourself you can still be doing it at 80.
LUCY: What's up next for you?
SPENCER: I'm continuing with Chet and Bernie, of course. PAW AND ORDER, just out now, will be followed by book 8 next summer or fall. But also, I'm starting a middle-grade, dog-narrated mystery series for Scholastic. Book one in the Bowser and Birdie series, WOOF, comes out next summer.
LUCY: And Hank would like to know (in fact we all would!), when you came up with the idea of Chet the Dog, did your agent love it immediately?
SPENCER: Hi, Hank! Well, the answer is I sent DOG ON IT, book one, into her without warning. But yes, I recall a positive reaction.
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