Friday, October 9, 2009

Mary Guterson & Sparky

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Mary Guterson, and Sparky, my mini-dachshund and the love of my life. He's five years old and a total firecracker.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Sparky and I have coffee together every morning. We sit on the little love seat near the kitchen, read the newspaper, snuggle, and drink. If I have to get up for any reason, Sparky always finishes my coffee for me.

What's brewing?

I drink instant Taster's Choice with half 'n half, the coffee choice of champions. Boil, pour, stir, drink, repeat. That about sums up my mornings.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

I'm a purist. Why ruin a good cup of Taster's Choice by adding food to the mix?

Any treat for your dog on this occasion?

Sparky has to watch his weight. He already broke his back once and let me tell you, it cost me a pretty penny to get that back fixed. Now I'm supposed to make him a lean, mean machine so that he doesn't break it again. So, unfortunately, no treats for the Sparkster.

How did your dog come to be united with you?

Oh, I made the huge mistake of visiting a friend with puppies. Sparky weighed about two pounds at the time and was the cutest thing EVER. What could I do? I forked over six hundred bucks and here we are, a few thousand dollars (broken back) later, totally in love.

How did he get his name?

I always said that when I grew up I'd have a mini-dachshund named Sparky. So I kind of had to do it.

Does he have any influence on your writing?

Total. Sparky runs my life. And my last book is called Gone to the Dogs, which is probably a big hint at the reach of Sparky's influence over me.

What's an ordinary day like for Sparky?

Wake up. Look adorable. Go outside. Pretend to pee. Come in. Look adorable while jumping up and down, excited as all get out for the same breakfast day after day. Scarf down breakfast. Lick bowl clean, cleaner, cleanest. Go outside. Pee, most of the time. Come back in. Pee on couch if didn't pee outside. Sleep. Look so cute asleep that a person can't help but forgive the fact that he peed on the couch. Wake up. Go outside. Bark at every little thing in a very manly manner. Come back in. Prance about. Jump on couch, sleep. Go for a walk on the leash around the neighborhood. Get very excited at all trembling leaves, rocks, dogs, people, birds, cars, trucks. Go home. Sleep. Dinner .... I think you can figure out the rest.

Where is your dog's favorite place to go for walk?

Anywhere, really. Sparky is the most excitable dog EVER, so it's hard to discern that one place makes him more excited than another.

Who is your dog's best pet-pal?

Sparky used to love to hump our other dog, Olympia. But Olympia (black lab mix) died this past summer at the age of fifteen. So now Sparky likes the neighbor dog, Rizzo, the best, even though Rizzo does not allow humping the way sweet Olympia did.

What's Sparky's best quality?

His insatiable love of life. And of course, his cuteness.

What's his proudest moment so far? His most embarrassing?

Sparky is neither proud nor embarrassed. Sparky is just Sparky, the cutest, most adorable dog in the universe.

We Are All Fine Here, Mary Guterson's first novel, was published in 2005. Amy Tan, author of The Opposite of Fate, called it “A real winner. What a voice: laugh-aloud hilarious, full of naked truth.” And Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club, wrote of it: “I love books that make me laugh. I love books that move me. Most of all, I love books that do both. Like this one. Mary Guterson is witty, wily, and wonderful.”

Her recently-released second novel, Gone to the Dogs, features a dog-napping heroine named Rena. "This book is not autobiographical," insists Guterson ... "except maybe a little bit."

Among the early praise for the novel:
"The sharp wit and keen observations of Gone to the Dogs had me compulsively turning pages. If Saul Bellow and Lucille Ball produced a love child, she would write like Mary Guterson."
--Randy Sue Coburn, author of Owl Island
Visit Mary Guterson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue