Monday, June 4, 2012

Sita Brahmachari & Ringo Star

Who is in the photo at right?

This is my youngest daughter who is actually the rightful owner of Ringo Star. And there I am wearing my Artichoke Heart charm wishing Ringo good luck on his first ever walk in our local park!

This is Ringo Star… he’s our new puppy, born 29th January 2012 in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex! I do feel like creating a breed-name more befitting his sense of style, charm and beauty! However his breed is a ‘Cockapoo’ (!) – a Cocker Spaniel, Toy Poodle cross. Or, if you are Australian, you might call him a ‘Spoodle’… I’m favouring this breed name! I’m Sita Brahmachari, a relatively new author (though not as young or as lively as Ringo)! My debut novel for Young Adults, Artichoke Hearts, (published by Pan Macmillan and soon to be published in America by Albert Whitman) won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2011. My second novel, Jasmine Skies, (set in Kolkata, India) was published by Macmillan Children’s Books in March 2012. Look out for an artist of the future as my daughter has had her illustrating debut on page 55 of Jasmine Skies with her monkey drawings!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My husband Leo, bought me a brand-new coffee maker for my birthday in March. I love the jewel colour capsules I can select every day. I’m like my youngest in a toy shop… can’t wait to taste the next coffee!

Would you like… Fortissio Lungo? Livanto? Vivalto Lungo? Volluto? Or Rosabaya de Colombia?

I’m expecting my author friend Louise Millar, who has recently published the brilliant novel Playdate, (published in America by Emily Bestler Books/Atria/Simon & Schuster) to arrive at my house soon. When being published authors was a pipe dream we would drop the children off at school and share each other’s chapters … those were in the days before Ringo and official publishing contracts, when we could never have dreamed that we would be sitting here now drinking coffee as published authors, with Ringo the super-star puppy sitting at out feet … Dreams can come true!

What's brewing?

Today I have chosen Rosabaya de Colombia and after much deliberation Louise has selected Livanto.

And we could not resist a treat for Ringo by ‘Paws’… I bought a packet of dog treats from a country fair at my Mum’s village fete, where Ringo was supposed to enter into the dog show, and judging by how many people stopped me to admire his cuteness, he might have been a contender… only he was all done-in from the excitement of meeting a Hungarian Water Dog so he had to have an afternoon sleep instead!

Definitely could have been a contender at that dog show! If only he’d been awake!

How did Ringo get his name? Any aliases?

Ringo has lovely large padding paws… that seem to drum the ground as he walks! We are also a family of Beatles fans! Two syllable dog names (we drop the ‘Star’ for informal occasions) are good for hollering across parks! Rin – go!

Has Ringo ever been to Abbey Road in NW London?

We had intended to make it our first Ringo Star Harrison day trip! (Harrison is my married name). Abbey Road is not that far from where we live. However, we first need to familiarise Ringo with the Zebra crossing outside of our house… He is, as I will explain later, not enamoured with either the roads or the pavement! He has, however, seen the Jasmine Skies book trailer on YouTube with the poster of Abbey Road in Mira’s bedroom. He’s told me he thoroughly approves and is looking forward to a drum kit for his first birthday!

How were you and Ringo united?

We had our name down with the breeder for over a year. We were overjoyed to hear from them just before the Easter holidays that a puppy was waiting for us! It required a day trip to Clacton-on-Sea and, unlike most of our sea-side jaunts, nobody cared that it was raining cats and dogs!

[Photo left: Ringo in the sunshine and looking forward to a treat!]

Does Ringo play any role in your writing? Are there dogs in your books?

It’s only a matter of time! There are indeed very special dogs in both of my YA novels so far. Piper the little dog belonging to Nana Josie (my bohemian, artist grandmother in Artichoke Hearts) paints him, leg-cocked, onto her own coffin, and of course there is Miss Print’s dog, Moses … and the wise monsoon street dog, Bacha, (meaning ‘naughty’ in Jasmine Skies) and I am already thinking about the sheepdog who is to appear in my third novel, set in the Lake District mountains.

Does Ringo have any non-canine pet-pals?

Ringo is keen on chasing pigeons, but he’ll learn!

What is Ringo's best quality?

He has a heart of pure gold! He wants more than anything else to please us all and he has special healing powers with the teenagers in the family suffering exam stress and hormonal overloads! He is indeed a dog with special calming ability. Oh! And did I say… he’s just plain heart-meltingly adorable?

If Ringo could change one thing about Londoners, what would it be?

The traffic! Ringo does not appreciate the roaring road outside of our house. In fact he is not too fond of concrete. His delicate paws require him to be carried to the local park, where his feet are able to be reunited with the soft grassy surfaces.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dog could speak, which actor should do his voice?

The wonderful Jack Lemmon! Ringo is a dog with a wry sense of humour, sharp wit and intelligence and a whole load of charm, with great maturity. I had the honour of once meeting this wonderful actor in Italy with his friend Marcello Mastroianni. I was stage-struck and had a similar feeling when first encountering Ringo!

If Ringo could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Is it true that… ‘All you need is love?!’

He just answered! In the immortal words of Ringo Starr, you heard it here, today:

‘Woof! Love is all you need!’

Visit Sita Brahmachari's website.  See Sita Brahmachari's top 10 books that take you travelling.

--Marshal Zeringue