Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Charlaine Harris & Scrunch, Rocky, and Oscar

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Charlaine Harris, writer, and my dogs are Oscar, an aged male dachshund, Rocky, a male boxer-spaniel crossbreed, and Scrunch, female, a sort of terrier. Of course, all our dogs are neutered.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day at my house. They’re my constant companions in my office, and the dogs and a cup of coffee are the way I start my day.

What's brewing?

Folgers Dark.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Not this morning.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

Beggin Strips.

How did your dogs come to be united with you?

We adopted all of them. Rocky was a puppy; he’s probably eight years old now. The lady who was giving his litter away brought all of them over in her car trunk. W e have no idea how old Oscar is, but he’s a grumpy old man. I found him in the local animal shelter when our priest did a blessing of the animals on St. Francis Day. Scrunch is about three, and a horse had kicked her, crushing her hip. The lady that owned her (I’m gathering) may not have wanted to deal with all the surgery Scrunch needed.

How did they get their names?

I named Oscar for the weiner, my son thought Rocky was a good tough name for a dog, and Scrunch already had a name.

Have your dogs influenced your writing in any way?

Probably, by constant interruption.

In your Southern Vampire series, Sam Merlotte is a shape-shifter. He can change into any kind of animal yet usually transforms himself into a collie. Why a collie? Any chance of him someday changing into, say, a pit-bull or bison frise?

Sam shifts into a collie because he knows people really like them, and are less likely to whip out their varmint rifle if the dog they see is a collie. Sam can change dogs any time he wants to; for that matter, he’s been a lion.

What's an ordinary day like for your dogs?

Eat, poop, sleep, bark at the enemies all around them that threaten our home daily. That would be the mailman, the UPS delivery guy, and our goose.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Oh, Shade from down the street is their best buddy.

What are your dogs' best qualities?

They can’t talk, and they love us. Oscar sticks close to home, Scrunch is very loving, and Rocky has a very soft coat.

What are your dogs' proudest moments so far? Their most embarrassing?

I can’t think of any. My kids tried to dress Oscar in a sweater one time, and he refused to take a step. He just fell over. Passive resistance at its finest. That’s all I can think of.

Charlaine Harris' books include the lighthearted Aurora Teagarden series, featuring "a diminutive Georgia librarian whose life never turns out quite the way she planned"; the much edgier Shakespeare series -- set not in England, but in rural Arkansas -- featuring "Lily Bard, a tough and taciturn woman whose life has been permanently reshaped by a terrible crime and its consequences"; and the Southern Vampire series, starring a telepathic barmaid called Sookie Stackhouse and her life among vampires and werewolves and other creatures of the night.

The Southern Vampire series is the basis for HBO's hit series, True Blood.

Visit Charlaine Harris' website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

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