Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Janie Chodosh. I am an author of young adult fiction, a teacher, mom, outdoor enthusiast, beginner violinist, bird watcher, and animal lover. My faithful canine friends are Bryn a “beeler” (beagle-heeler mix) and Darwin, a blue heeler and something or other mix.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I am celebrating the release of my debut novel, Death Spiral, A Faith Flores Science Mystery which was published on April 1st by The Poisoned Pencil, the new young adult mystery imprint of The Poisoned Pen Press.
I am all about the almond milk latte.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
Chicken soup. It’s not just good for humans!
How were you and your dogs united?
I adopted Darwin from the Santa Fe Humane Society. I fell in love the second I set eyes on him and knew he was my dog, but oh, poor guy. He was terrified. He’d try to disappear through the wall every time someone came by. By the third time I visited him, he wagged his tail and his ears perked up when he saw me. I adopted Bryn from an organization in Denver that rescues heelers. It was love at first site.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
As you can see from the picture of Darwin [photo left] in the golden leaves, he is the pinnacle of dog evolution (!), so why not name him after the famous Charles Darwin? Bryn was called Bren when we adopted her. I didn’t care for that name, but I couldn’t stand to change her name too much since she’d already gone through so much change, so I tweaked the name a little to something I liked better.
How do your dogs help--or hinder--your writing?
Bryn is my shadow and love sponge. If I am stuck, depressed, making myself crazy, having a hard day (etc.) Bryn cheers me up and helps me get back on task. However, that dog loves to bark! Did something move? (bark bark bark). Did I hear something? (bark, bark, bark). The barking is very distracting and sometimes I have to close the dog door and lock both dogs inside the house. Darwin, at age 14, is more aloof. He spends most of the day lounging in the sun and being in his own special dog zone.
Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?
No dogs in particular have inspired my writing, but dogs in general show up in most everything I write. I write for teens and I believe every child should have a pet, and to me, that pet should be a dog! Faith Flores, my protagonist, has had a lot of trauma in her life, so having canine companions in her life feels very humane.
Squirrel, postman, cat....?
We live next to an arroyo (a dry river bed) and a lot of open space, so many animals wander by. The dogs bark at each and every one of them. Yep. Each and every one. Squirrels. Rabbits. Other dogs. Birds. Gophers. Coyotes. They don’t bark much at people though. They just want to have their bellies rubbed.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
After an initial dominance squabble that resulted in a $500.00 vet bill they get on well with each other. As far as other canine pals, the answer, sadly, is none. They don’t really “do” other dogs.
What is each dog's best quality?
Bryn is a love sponge. If you stop petting her she makes herself known with her paw or her nose. When she is excited, she walks in this strange U-shape configuration where she tries to see over her shoulder as she moves forward. I’ve never had a more affectionate dog.
Darwin is sweet and independent, and a supremely good-looking guy. He enjoys lounging in the sun and wagging his tail whenever you walk by. He is more reserved, but always up for a few good pets.
If your dogs could change one thing about New Mexicans, what would it be?
I think they would ask all New Mexicans to spay and neuter their pets. There are so many stray and unwanted animals in this state.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Well, my daughter says Darwin would be Elvis Presley, though I think George Clooney. Bryn would Anna Faris, who was one of the chipettes in Alvin and the Chipmunks.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Since they are both rescue dogs, I would love to know what happened to them before they came into my life. Kind of like a doggie memoir.
Visit Janie Chodosh's website.
Writers Read: Janie Chodosh.
The Page 69 Test: Death Spiral.
My Book, The Movie: Death Spiral.