Who is in the photo at right?
I'm Anne Marie Pace. I write books for kids. My new picture book, Vampirina Ballerina, is from Disney-Hyperion with fabulous illustrations by the talented LeUyen Pham. I have also published a couple of books with Scholastic Book Clubs.
My dogs are Harry (3 1/2) and Honey (2 1/2); Honey is the littler one. They're both mixed breeds from the SPCA. They have similar coloring and we think both have some beagle in them, but that's about all we know for sure. People always ask if they're related which we think is hilarious, because to us, they look nothing alike apart from their beaglishness.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I drink a lot of tea, and my dogs are with me all day long, so this wasn't an occasion. It's just a lovely part of my life. The mug in the picture is one of my favorites; it's a gift from my daughter and it reads "Dogs are like chocolates. It's hard to have just one."
I go through phases. Right now, I need to be thrifty so I use Kroger brand tea bags (I realize the tea purists are cringing in horror). But I also go through long stretches of preparing loose tea of various types with my tea infusers, worrying about water temperature and brew time and all that. For less thrifty times, I like PG Tips; and for indulgent times, I like different Taylors of Harrogate blends or breakfast-type teas . Anything more indulgent than that is out of my budget.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
My dogs want treats all day long, and I try to say no. For this picture I was trying to get them to stay with me so there is peanut butter on the bottom of my mug. It sort of worked.
How were you and your dogs united?
For many years, we were cat people, but I know kids and dogs have special bonds, and I wanted my kids to experience having a dog. When we were ready to get a new pet, we decided to go for a puppy. I stalked the SPCA website until there were puppies and then applied for Harry. Harry adores other dogs, and I knew a friend would make him happy, so about a year and a half later, I began stalking the SPCA website again and found Honey.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Harry came with the name John Quill (his sisters were Tulip and Redbud). But these days, all pet names in the Pace house must have some Harry Potter to them, so Harry was an obvious choice. He also just looks like a Harry. Honey came with the name Honey Pie, which we shortened to Honey. Can you guess the HP reference?
Do your dogs have much influence on your work?
They disturb my work, if that counts as influence! Harry is highly excitable so I have to stop working frequently to correct his behavior (he barks at people and dogs walking along the sidewalk, squirrels, deer, etc.). I do have a manuscript about the dogs, but it's sort of a character sketch in search of a plot. I'll get it right eventually.
Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?
They stick pretty close to home. They love their friends Talus and Snickers, so they're always up for a romp at our house or theirs. And of course, any walk is a good walk.
Squirrel, postman, cat...?
Skunks and groundhogs get the most attention, unfortunately.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Absolutely squeaky toys. Harry is a destroyer of all things toy, but it makes him incredibly happy to run around with a squeaking stuffy.
What is each dog's best quality?
Harry is fiercely loyal and protective of me, and Honey is happy. Can dogs be happy? She just exudes joy.
If your dogs could change one thing about Virginians, what would it be?
I think Harry would like a law banning ball caps and moving vans. And Honey would like a law requiring all people taking walks along the sidewalk to give chicken to any dog they pass.
What is each dog's proudest moment?
Harry is happy every day when he scares those terrible horrible no-good very-bad ballcap-wearing passers-by off our sidewalk. I think he takes credit for the fact that they walk away. For Honey, it's probably the time she used the new stool to climb onto the kitchen island. She's not a big dog, so that was quite an accomplishment. I think she ruined an entire loaf of bread before we found her.
If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?
Harry should definitely be Casey Kasem. I've never heard a dog sound as much like Scooby Doo as Harry does. I'm not sure about someone to play Honey, but it would have to be an actress with a high-pitched voice who talks really, really fast.
Visit Anne Marie Pace's website.