Friday, August 21, 2009

Hart Johnson & Joel

Tell us about who’s in the picture to the right.

The short fluffy one is Joel, a Corgi mix who’s been part of our family for almost five years. We adopted Joel through the Humane Society. The poor little guy was abandoned on their doorstep on Christmas Eve with no information, but from his quirks we’ve put together a few guesses as to his heritage and first year. I’m Hart Johnson, also known as the Watery Tart, a social scientist by day and writer by identity.

What are you and Joel drinking?

It’s Friday afternoon, and my weekend is started so this is a Tart Special. My husband drinks decaf, and sometimes when I get home there is coffee left. I poured it over ice and added sugar, Baileys and just a little rum. Perfect unwind.

Are you having any treats with that?

Just the break. I work full time, am a mom, and write on the side, so a little time to just relax with the pooch is DEFINITELY a treat.

Any treats for Joel?

Joel eez on ze carrots. He is overweight and we finally figured out the dog treats were probably the culprit, so he gets carrots instead most of the time.

What’s Joel's heritage?

From his build, it’s pretty clear that Corgi is the dominant breed, and his personality supports that too--he doesn’t like to be told what to do, which I’ve heard is a Corgi trait. But he also has fur growing between the pads on his paws, which the vet says is a sign he has some arctic breed in him, and his fur grows almost in a lion pattern. All of it gets a little long, but his mane and haunches get quite long, though at the moment he has a summer haircut.

And what about his story?

Do you have a tissue ready? He can be really skittish, jumping back if someone reaches too fast, and extremely slow to warm up to new people. We think he was probably abused, maybe not with abusive intent, but in the end, abuse is abuse. Looking at him, and knowing his quirks, we suspect somebody adopted or bought him because he was so CUTE, but when he is reprimanded he growls, and if you take something from him, he’ll bite. He also sleepwalks, and can be downright mean if he wakes suddenly because he is disoriented. We think the first owners didn’t have the patience or skills to learn that he needs to be treated more like a two-year-old--distraction, coaxing, bribery. Yelling or sternness doesn’t work.

Joel, why don’t you tell us what you like to do?

My favorite thing EVER is going for walks with my daddy. I don’t usually have to wear a leash and we meander around a couple blocks sniffing things. Next best is probably playing with Cali.

Who’s Cali?

Joel: My sister, but she’s thinner and faster and can jump real high.

Hart: A cat.

Joel, what do you and Cali play?

Well, sometimes I chase her. And sometimes she leaps out from hiding onto me. And she lets me clean her ears. I like that a lot.

What other quirks does Joel have?

He’s a greeter. It’s very sweet. He has to be greeted by each one of us personally every morning and every time we come home or he whimpers about it (and if we aren’t up by nine, he reminds us we haven’t greeted him yet.) He’s really got a loving temperament, other than not liking to be told what to do, but I share the quality, and so am sympathetic.

And does Joel read?

He often joins my son and I when we read, so I guess at the moment he’s reading the latest Pendragon book.

Doesn’t he like the books you write?

My books all seem to combine family, academic life and conspiracy theory, so they are a little mature for Joel, who gets scared easily. He’s really hoping "Confluence" sells though, as if it were to do really well, I could quit my day job and be home with him to write.

About "Confluence":
A blood oath taken by a nine year-old boy, a young girl of unusual ancestry, a strange cult that’s not what it seems, and a family caught in the middle… When Mac Rawlins, scientist, is recruited to a prestigious Behavioral Genetic Program in a small university town, it seems the perfect launch to his career and the perfect place to raise his children. Right from the beginning however, the move is burdened with obstacles; his unwilling fifteen year-old from an earlier marriage accompanies them and they find a town with divided loyalties and strange undercurrents. Unwelcome events, one by one, begin to alter the lives of the members of his family as they struggle to understand what they are really doing there.
Learn more about Hart Johnson and her writing at her blog, Confessions of a Watery Tart, and her Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue