Who is in the photo at right?
Me (Holly Schindler, author of both YA and MG novels, most recently the YA Feral, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly) and my Pekingese, Jake.
What the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Every day is coffee with a canine. We’ve been together for eleven years—that’s a whole lotta coffee and a whole lotta manuscripts between us.
I’m a writer, so no daily five-dollar coffee here—if it ain’t on the dollar menu, I don’t eat it. Just a plain old cup of joe with a little milk. Jake’s favorite drink is sweet iced tea.
Any treats for you or Jake on this occasion?
Jake and I are getting a little older—we’re watching our donut intake. But we might sneak in an English muffin. Jake has a bit of a butter addiction. Okay, maybe we both have a bit of a butter addiction…
How were you and Jake united?
I was a couple of years into my pursuit of publication when Jake came into my life. I was getting rejections just covered in my blood and was in serious need of a little love. I always say Jake came from a breeder, and I’m the rescue dog.
How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?
Mom and I picked Jake up together; when we were driving home, we tried out all kinds of different names. Every time we said “Jake,” he looked at us. It was like he was already saying, “Yes? What do you want?” It always sort of felt like he told us what his name was. He has about a hundred different aliases, funny-sounding nicknames we all call him. Terms of endearment.
Does Jake do more to help or hinder your writing?
Definitely help—he keeps me on a strict schedule. And he also gets me out into the world. Makes sure I push myself from the desk and go on walks or trips to the park. Makes sure I have plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Which is good for the mental outlook (and a positive outlook leads to better writing…)
Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your published work?
I have a WIP that is heavily influenced and inspired by Jake himself. (I’ll have to stop by again later to dish over coffee about that book!)
Cat, postman, squirrel…
Oh, man. Jake always watches for the mailman. (He barks to let us know the mail’s come.) He’s a big cat-hater. When he’s misbehaving, we’re always threatening, “If you don’t calm down, I’m getting you a cat!”
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick.
Squeaky toy. It’s obscene the number of toys he has. His favorite is Roo, a kangaroo-shaped toy [photo right]. We got it the same day we got him. So now Roo is also eleven years old.
Who is Jake’s best pet-pal?
He once had both a Papillon and a Lab that he hung out with quite a bit—lots of fence-racing—but they no longer live by us. In fact, we’re going to get new neighbors in the next few months, which means that Jake’s going to get a new pet-friend soon…
What is Jake’s best quality?
Intelligence. I also like the fact that he has his own mind. A Pekingese isn’t a Golden Retriever. It’s his world, and you live in it. But I like that. I like the fact that he has his own opinions, his own agenda.
If Jake could change on thing about you, what would it be?
He’d make it easier to wrench me away from my computer.
If Jake could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
“Seriously—what are you thinking about?”
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Jake could speak, who should voice him?
I know this answer isn’t possible…I’m going with a dream-world scenario here: When we’re outside and flies buzz near his head, Jake’s always trying to catch them with his mouth—he’s succeeded a few times, actually. It reminds me of the scene in Karate Kid when Mr. Miyagi and Daniel are catching flies with chopsticks. And since Jake’s an Asian breed (and I’m a child of the ‘80s), my dream choice would have to be Pat Morita.
Visit Holly Schindler's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.
My Book, The Movie: Feral.