Monday, May 10, 2010

Gwyn Cready & Socks

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, romance novelist Gwyn Cready, and my four-year-old silkie terrier, Socks. He is my writing partner, keeping my feet warm and house safe while I type.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I needed the java jolt. I've got a copyedited manuscript due in a week and I have barely made a dent in it. I'll need to be up for three days straight to get it done ("Yes, another shot of espresso, please.")

What's brewing?

I'm having the house blend at my favorite independent coffee shop, Uptown Coffee, here in Mt. Lebanon, Pa, a suburb of Pittsburgh. I've had many a productive day here. I'm loath to admit it, but at home I'm an instant coffee drinker. (ignoring sounds of hisses and boos). I just love Nescafe Hazelnut Instant. What can I say? And I like my coffee the way I like my heroes: straight, dark and hot.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

You know I love a good biscotti--dark chocolate with almonds if my fav.

Any treat for Socks on this occasion?

Well, chocolate is no good for dogs, so he's waiting for the meal portion of the day, where in our house at least, you can always count on some messy eater (or subversive dog lover) to drop some meaty morsels on the floor.

How did you and your dog come together?

Socks is our very first dog. My husband and I grew up in cat families and have always been cat people. However, from the time my daughter could speak, she said she wanted a dog. I'd say there was an accidental baby switch at the hospital, but she looks so much like me, I don't think I'd have a leg to stand on. We finally bowed to the pressure for Christmas, when she was eleven. We picked a Yorkshire terrier puppy, since we thought it would be best to dip our toe in the canine world with a dog who was cat-sized. Unfortunately (or, rather, fortunately), while we adopted a black Yorkshire terrier from the breeder we expected to be about seven pounds, he grew up to be a white silkie terrier who tips the scales at 13 pounds. So much for expectations. We couldn't imagine a better dog, though. He's a little dog who thinks he's a big dog, so he's a great watch dog. He's also a great litter mate to our daughter, who shares her bed with him each night. Suffice to say, we are totally in love with him and can't imagine how we lived without a dog before. My daughter wears a ridiculously self-satisfied smile whenever we talk about it.

How did your dog get his name? Does he have any aliases?

Socks is a nickname. His whole name is Socrates. And since he doesn't have markings that make him look like he's wearing socks, I'm sure a lot of people are confused. Actually, we wish we would have waited to name him. We think he'd make a better Barkley or Hoover. However, I think my son would have made a better Jamie, and we're not getting anywhere on that, either.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?

He loves his plush ivory-billed woodpecker that makes bird noises.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

It took Socks and the cats (we have three) two years to come to an uneasy peace. I'm sure they got pretty darned tired being chased around the house, but when he finally grew out of his puppy phase, they were happy to ignore him. He loves the mail carrier, so that's not a problem, and he has actually killed a mole once on his walk. The poor little guy made the mistake of running in Socks's path. Terriers have generally been bred to clear mines of rodents, so Socks connected to the instinctual part of his brain, picked the mole up, shook him hard once and tossed the dead body away, all in a matter of a split second.

Does Socks have any influence on your writing?

Yes. He brings to heart to all my stories. I try to imbue the hero with the same loyalty and courage. As usual in the human world, though, he falls a tad short.

Who is Socks' best pet-pal?

His litter mate, my daughter.

What is Socks' best quality?

Eternal good cheer.

If Socks could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I'd eat all-meat meals and be required to use ill-designed chopsticks to get the food to my mouth.

What’s the most amusing thing Socks does? The most frustrating?

He goes bonkers if anyone pulls out a suitcase. I guess he doesn't want the pack leaving without him. And if we leave him alone with a view of the outside, he'll bark at every creature, great and small, that dares to walk by his house.

Gwyn Cready has a BA in English literature and an MBA in marketing from the University of Chicago. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

Her books include the RITA® Award-winning Seducing Mr. Darcy and the recently released Flirting with Forever.

Read an excerpt from Flirting with Forever.

Visit Gwyn Cready's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue