Monday, March 15, 2010

Beth Solheim and Andrea & Angus

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Beth Solheim, author of the Sadie Witt Mystery Series. The series features Belly LaGossa, a dog of questionable heritage and behavior that defies nature. I’m joined by the mighty Angus and his owner, Andrea. Angus is a 12 year old male Shih Tzu and Terrier cross.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Unwinding after a week of work at the hospital. Andrea is a friend and co-worker and she and Angus stopped by for a visit, a cup of coffee, and to commiserate about Angus’s latest fiasco. He backed into an ice fishing hole during an excursion with his ‘dad’. In twenty below temperatures, that wasn’t a smart move.

What's brewing?

Cappuccino in one mug, Earl Grey tea in the other, and a water bowl for Angus.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Powdered sugar donuts, courtesy of my husband.

Any treat for Angus on this occasion?

Before the donuts arrived, Angus munched on half a ‘Better than Sex’ cookie. Sinfully delicious and he snarfed it down in one gulp. The dog has good taste!

How did you and Angus meet?

Andrea mentioned Angus’s escapades, of which there are many, and I knew I had to meet him. Any dog that gets into that much trouble has to be unique, memorable and good fodder for my writing.

Does Angus influence your writing?

Absolutely. Belly LaGossa is based on Angus. Belly gets into one predicament after another in At Witt’s End, the first book in the series.

How did Angus get his name?

Andrea had always liked the name Angus and considered it for her first child. Her son was christened Isaiah instead, so the name Angus was bestowed on the dog.

Your Sadie Witt Mystery Series has a dog character called Belly LaGossa. Can you tell us a little about him? Would he and Angus get along?

Belly Lagossa is the Witt sister’s canine of questionable heritage. Actually, Belly doesn’t belong to the sisters. He belongs to the neighbor. Belly doesn’t know that, though, and has taken up residence with a regal flair in Cabin 14. He dines off hand-painted china, samples questionable culinary offerings, and sleeps on a satin pillow. He also sees dead people. Ever wonder why dogs run along with their nose to the ground? Could Belly be on the trail of a crosser?

Belly has long legs, a stubby nose, a rotund body covered in brown spots, and a cropped-off tail with four elongated hairs growing out of a bald portion of its tip. Even though his physique resembles a cement truck, he has a weasel’s knack at sneaking into locations at the wrong time. Specifically, the mortuary next door. He also has only one testicle.

Angus and Belly would be fast friends, and most likely vie for the title of King of Shenanigans.

What's this rumor about a dog treat recipe contest?

I’m inviting pet lovers to participate in a dog treat recipe contest based on the At Witt’s End theme, locale, up-north lake appeal, etc. The dog treats can be basic, biscuit, vegetarian, beefy/liver, bread machine baked, cheesy, microwave, gourmet, or a decorated treat, as long as the ingredients are safe for dogs. The winner of the winning recipe will receive a $100.00 VISA debit card. Refer to for details.

What's Angus's best quality? Belly's?

Angus is a patient fellow and tolerates the constant attention of the two children who live with him.

Belly is instrumental in solving crimes and leads Sadie Witt to clues she might have missed.

What's Angus’s proudest moment?

Angus is a mouser extraordinaire. He graciously shares his catch with his mortified owners!

And Angus’s most embarrassing moment?

Probably the time Andrea’s husband phoned her at work and asked why she had ripped the bun bag open from the bottom and left it in tatters on the kitchen counter. Just as the question escaped his lips, he noticed Angus ducking under the dining room hutch with a fresh bun in his mouth. Angus is nine inches high. The counter is 30 inches high. This does not equate!

Like the main character in her Sadie Witt mystery series, Beth Solheim was born with a healthy dose of imagination and a hankering to solve a puzzle. She learned her reverence for reading from her mother, who was never without a book in her hand.

By day, Solheim works in Human Resources. By night she morphs into a writer who frequents lake resorts and mortuaries and hosts a ghost or two in her humorous paranormal mysteries.

The first book in her cozy mystery series
Sadie Witt Mysteries, At Witt's End, is now available in print. The second in the series, titled Outwitted, will be released in 2011.

Raised and still living in Northern Minnesota, she resides in lake country with her husband.

Beth Solheim's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue