Who is in the photo at right?
Hi! I'm Tess Hilmo. I write novels for young readers (ages 8-12) and this is my pup Daisy - she's a 13-year-old toy poodle.
Here we are in the hammock in our back woods - my favorite place to steal away with a good book.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I'm an herbal tea fan and enjoy it at my breakfast table most often - though I do like to go out for tea and found my newest favorite on a recent outing to the cafe at Barnes and Noble.
Today it's Harney and Son's Hot Cinnamon tea. It tastes just like those hard cinnamon candies I loved as a little girl and I feel like I'm getting a real treat when I choose this flavor.
Of course, Daisy is always curious about what is going on at the table....[photo left]
Any treats for you or Daisy on this occasion?
Funny you should mention treats. At 13, Daisy is pretty chill. You can find her stretched out on our family room rug most of the time. But when she hears the treat bag rattle, she comes to life like a young puppy again.
How did your dog get her name? Any nicknames?
We adopted Daisy from a neighbor who was moving 11 years ago so she came with her name - but when she needs a bath we call her stinky-pot-schmooley. I have no idea why, really, but my son said it one day and it just stuck.
How were you and your dog united?
Our neighbors were moving and we couldn't imagine the street without Daisy on it so we offered to keep her and they agreed - lucky us!
Are there any dogs in your new novel inspired by Daisy?
My newest novel, Skies Like These, is a fun, friendship filled novel with a cowboy twist. It takes place on a dog ranch in Wyoming so there are lots of wonderful dogs in it - in fact the resolution at the end comes about because of one particularly wonderful bullmastiff. Daisy definitely inspired some of the various moments I wrote about.
Does Daisy do more to help or hinder your writing?
She keeps me company which is a wonderful gift.
Who is Daisy's best pet-pal?
Me! If I'm in the house, she's right there with me. Sometimes I feel guilty because I'll go downstairs to grab something and she will follow me. Since she is 13, she's a bit slower and will inevitably get to the bottom stair right as I'm going back up. The look on her face is like, "Seriously?" but she follows me back up all the same.
Where is Daisy's favorite outdoor destination?
Picking the kiddos up from school.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Daisy has never been much for toys. I remember buying her a squeaky early on and she couldn't care less. Ah, well.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
We get the occasional deer in our yard and she goes crazy barking and chasing them off. At first, I liked the deer and was sad but after I saw them mow down my vegetable garden in about thirty seconds, I let her chase at will. She is about one tenth their size so it's a funny sight.
What is Daisy's best quality?
Unconditional love. It's probably every dog's best quality but Daisy has it in spades.
If Daisy could change one thing about Utahns, what would it be?
About Utah: the snow - she's winter wimp!
Utahns in general are big outdoorsy people so dogs are widely accepted and loved.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Daisy could speak, which actor should do her voice?
Hilarious question! Hmmm... let's see, I think I'd like Rosie Perez to do her voice. Funny, snarky and full of personality.
If Daisy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
I'd just want to make sure she knows how very much she is loved.
Visit Tess Hilmo's website.