Who is in the photo at right?
Yona Zeldis McDonough, a novelist and children’s book author. Dogs are Willa, a female Pomeranian who is about eight, and Holden, a male Pom who is seven.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I always have a morning latte and in the warm weather, an iced coffee late in the afternoon. I have to feed Willa and Holden before I have my morning brew because otherwise they bark so much I can’t enjoy it. But once they are eating peacefully, I can make that eagerly anticipated a.m. beverage. So they are eating while I am sipping at my dining room table.
For the morning coffee, it’s a nifty Nespresso coffee maker that uses pods; the iced coffee is a chicory blend from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. My husband introduced me to it and I just love the robust, ever-so-slightly bitter flavor.
Any treats for you or Holden and Willa on this occasion?
Yes, when breakfast is over, they get dog biscuits and in the afternoons, I give some some broken up quinoa crackers, which make them insane with joy.
[photo left: Willa]
You have a new novel that's just hit the bookstores. Are there any dogs in it?
There is indeed a Pom in You Were Meant for Me. His name is Fluff and he’s a bit of a bad boy: snapping, snarling, chewing on slippers etc. The fiancé of the character who owns him wants to get rid of him but they manage to come to an understanding that accommodates both man and beast.
Your new book for children, a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, has a dog pictured on the cover. I know the author had several dogs in her lifetime. Which one is that on the cover? Do the dogs appear in the biography?
That’s Jack, the bulldog her family had when she was a child. And yes, he appears in the biography. He’s a loyal and stalwart little guy.
Last year you shared that the dogs yap like mad at the postman. How's he holding up?
He seems to take it in stride. And to their credit, it’s all bark and no bite. In fact, I’ve never even known Holden to growl, though once in a rare while, Willa does.
We know Holden and Willa love your backyard. Do they have a favorite destination away from home?
Not for Willa. She is a true homebody. But Holden likes to take walks around our neighborhood (Park Slope) where he is much exclaimed over and admired.
Is Brooklyn generally a dog-friendly place?
Boy is it ever! So many dogs here, dogs runs in playgrounds and the park, shops that offer free biscuits and set out bowls of water for strolling pooches. Dog watching is fun here for that reason; I have lots of dog pals in the ‘hood.
[photo right: Holden, fresh from the groomer]
What's the latest thing that Holden and Willa did to help your writing? How about to impede it?
Once in a while, a barking jag may interfere with my concentration. But mostly I find them delightful little companions who inspire me and bring so much happiness to my writing, and my days.
In 2012 I asked you: if Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices? You said Nicole Kidman should play Willa and Tom Hanks should play Holden. Any reconsiderations or alternative casting choices?
I’m still standing by those choices but I also could see Cameron Diaz as Willa…just saying...
Visit Yona Zeldis McDonough's website.
Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Queenie, Willa and Holden (October 2012).
Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden (September 2013).
The Page 69 Test: You Were Meant For Me.
Writers Read: Yona Zeldis McDonough.
My Book, The Movie: You Were Meant for Me.