Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Julia Knight, and I’m a fantasy author. The cheeky chap with me is Frek, who is an 8-year-old collie/spaniel cross. The photo is titled “You stopped cuddling me for a whole nanosecond so I must lick your face” which is what always happens when I try to get a picture of us together!
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Actually I prefer tea and I never knowingly refuse a cuppa so I often stop by the dog-friendly café in the park.
Proper builder’s tea – hot and strong. PG Tips (English breakfast) for preference.
Any treats for you or Frek on this occasion?
Whenever I eat, Frek always gets a little bit of it, and on this occasion that means ginger nut biscuits, perfect for dunking.
How were you and Frek united?
Frek is a rescue dog – a charity close by rehomes puppies. My husband got him for me one birthday as I missed having a dog around after my last lady died.
How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?
As he was a rescue, he already had a name, Freckles. However I refused to stand in the park shouting that, so we shortened it to Frek. He’ll actually answer to anything ending in “eck” so Shrek is also a common one. He also gets called Frekadoodle, I have no idea why....
Does Frek do more to help or hinder your writing?
Walking the dog is a great way of working through plot tangles, so he definitely helps!
Has Frek inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?
He has appeared in my book, Fade to Black (under the pen name Francis Knight) as a puppy called Freckles, but only in conversation.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
He’s afraid of cats – one of them is currently trolling him by sleeping in his bed all day and not letting him in it. He sits next to his bed and whines instead. He loves our post man as he knows he can always get a quick cuddle. Squirrels on the other hand he chases like no one’s business, though I suspect if he caught one he’d just try to play with it. He’s a big old softy like that.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Despite our best efforts to train him, he never actually brings anything back (or often even bothers chasing until it lands), so a stick is a must unless we want to traipse after the ball. He also barks like crazy at the beach for us to throw stones but after diving around into the water he makes no effort to actually get it and barks for another one!
Who is Frek's best pet-pal?
He loves going for walks with a fellow collie of friends of ours, Willow and Charlie.
What is Frek's best quality?
He is totally soppy – he wants love all the time! I’m actually just about to enroll him with a charity that does hospital/care home visits with dogs and he’ll be in doggie heaven.
If Frek could change one thing about you, what would it be?
He’d give me an extra arm so I could constantly cuddle him at all times.
If Frek could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
Why is it that when we’re out you have to jump in every single drop of water – especially that green pond once that covered you in stinking green algae – but you hate having a bath? (A bath which was very necessary after the green algae incident.)
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Frek could speak, who should voice him?
Bob Peterson (who voiced Dug in the film, Up) because he completely nailed the soppy daftness!
What advice would Frek give if asked?
Cuddle me more. No, more, more! Never stop! Except perhaps to feed me?
Visit Julia Knight's website.
The Page 69 Test: Warlords and Wastrels.