Who is in the photo at right?
I'm Kathy Erskine, an author of books aimed at middle grade and young adult readers but suitable for adults, too (with their children's permission). Fletcher is a male Labradoodle who's a year and a half, and often naughty.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Every day is an occasion for coffee with Fletcher -- here we're on the front porch. He's a social dog, though, and would rather hang out at cafes. He's still a little too exuberant, though.
Today's drip coffee is "Bill's House Blend" from a restaurant on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. I'm a several-cups-a-day coffee drinker but it doesn't have to be fancy -- as long as it's strong, with milk, I'm happy. It can even (gasp!) be instant.
Any treats for you or Fletcher on this occasion?
I did give him some bacon bits so he'd sit still for the camera. It also works if I sing to him but I only do that indoors where no one will hear me.
How were you and Fletcher united?
At an airport. He was flown to us from a breeder. We tried to get a pound puppy, as usual, but it's hard to find Labradoodles at the pound and we needed a non allergenic dog.
How did Fletcher get his name? Any aliases?
We agreed on a two syllable name because there's something more satisfying about calling out a 2-syllable name. I suspect the name Fletcher was influenced by the Middle Ages novel I was working on since the main character is the son of a bowyer and fletcher, a bow and arrow maker. Some aliases: Fletch. Babe. Devil Dog. Off the counter!!
Does Fletcher do more to help or hinder your writing?
Hinder. He has perfected the laser stare, then barking, then flipping my arm off the keyboard, when he wants a walk.
Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your published work?
I'm working on something new right now and there is a dog in the story inspired by my former dog, Maxine. Hopefully, you'll be reading about her before long!
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
He loves them all. He even tries to play with stinkbugs. He doesn't realize why cats run away from him or why stinkbugs stop playing (usually, he has pawed them to death). I know, it's sad.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
If you throw a ball for him he will chase it until he drops or your arm gets tired. Squeaky toys are pretty awesome, too. He will pick up a stick on a walk, occasionally, but usually drops it once distracted (inside of 5 seconds).
Who is Fletcher's best pet-pal?
Scottie! He's a dog Fletcher plays with at dog sitting. When they see each other they freeze and stare something in their unspoken language and then they're off and running for the rest of the day.
What is Fletcher's best quality?
He likes everyone and everything.
If Fletcher could change one thing about Virginians, what would it be?
Dogs would be allowed on more trails and in more restaurants, especially in the kitchens of those restaurants.
If Fletcher could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
Where did you put the can opener?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Fletcher could speak, who should voice him?
Benedict Cumberbatch. Everyone loves a dog with a British accent, right?
Visit Kathryn Erskine's website.
Check out Erskine's top 10 first person narratives.
My Book, The Movie: Seeing Red.
The Page 69 Test: Seeing Red.