Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stefanie Pintoff & Ginger

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Stefanie Pintoff and I write crime fiction – usually in the company of Ginger, my six-year-old goldendoodle.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s morning. I actually like mornings – but before we face the day ahead, I require coffee, and she requires a walk. Today, that means Central Park, which is our favorite place to go together. I think about what I’m going to write that day. She thinks about the interesting smells, whether she’ll find a stray tennis ball, and all the people she’ll meet!

What's brewing?

Now that the weather’s warm: iced coffee with sugar and milk.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Not today, though sometimes there’s a muffin or part of a bagel. And yes, I always share with Ginger. I can’t resist the look in her big brown eyes!

Any treat for Ginger on this occasion?

Ginger gets two or three peanut-butter/oatmeal flavored dog biscuits.

How were you and Ginger united?

We brought Ginger into our home when our previous dog, a west highland terrier named Bailey, was well into her golden years. We’d always loved golden retrievers, and we hoped that the “poodle” combo would alleviate shedding as well as allergy concerns.

Some people can’t imagine life without a dog, and I’m one of them. When Bailey inevitably left us, Ginger was a tremendous comfort. She allowed our family to grieve for Bailey specifically, not for the loss of everything associated with having a dog.

Does Ginger have any influence on your writing?

Ginger is my faithful writing companion. When I work everyday, she curls up under my desk and naps until it’s time for our next break.

I understand Ginger's first book came out before yours. What's the story of her book?

Ginger’s breeder, Kathryn Lee of Rhode Island’s Make Way for Doodles, was writing (what I believe) was the first book published about Goldendoodles. Her editor hoped one of her dogs would be the “cover dog” – and something about one of Ginger’s pictures caught her eye.

Professional animal photographer Mary Bloom came to take some shots of Ginger – it was actually the first time anyone in our family had been professionally photographed! A couple months later, we got the official word: Ginger had been chosen for the cover.

We were thrilled when the book came out – family and friends bought copies, watched the Amazon numbers, and recommended it to everyone we knew.

Not unlike when a certain mystery novel came out a few years later…

How did Ginger get her name? Does she have any aliases?

Ginger is named for the color of her fur – which especially as a puppy, resembled the spice.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Occasionally a squirrel … but Ginger’s pretty exclusively focused on tennis balls.

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

Ginger is a retriever through-and-through, so it’s always about the tennis ball.

Who is Ginger's best pet-pal?

Ginger’s first best pal was her big sister Bailey the westie. Now, Ginger loves any westie she meets; recent neighboring westie Chloe was a particular favorite!

What's Ginger's best quality?

Ginger is 52 lbs of love, devotion, and happiness; she never seems to have a mean thought or a bad mood.

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

The most amusing: her slavish devotion to her tennis ball.

The most frustrating: the same dog who doesn’t budge from the foot of the bed on weekday mornings is an early riser on weekends, pushing a tennis ball in our faces til we wake up!

What is Ginger’s proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

Ginger’s proudest moment came when she had to be interviewed with us before we bought our NYC coop apartment. Much to our relief, she was on her best behavior and passed with flying colors!

Ginger’s most embarrassing moment comes around every winter. She is terrified of snowmen – meaning ordinary snowmen, just like kids build every snowfall. She balks at the idea of coming within ten feet of one.

Stefanie Pintoff's debut novel, In the Shadow of Gotham, won the Edgar® Award for Best First Novel and the St. Martin’s Press / Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel Award, while also earning nominations for the Agatha and RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Her second novel in the series, A Curtain Falls, released in May 2010.

The Page 69 Test: In the Shadow of Gotham.

The Page 69 Test: A Curtain Falls.

Learn more about her books at
Stefanie Pintoff's website.

--Marshal Zeringue