Monday, September 12, 2011

Peter Abrahams & Audrey

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Peter Abrahams - known as Spencer Quinn when it comes to the Chet and Bernie series – with my dog, Audrey, who has no other name. Audrey’s six years old, half Bernese and half Golden Retriever. She’s very strong, quite smart, kind of willful. Audrey has her own ways. For example, the wind scares her but she has to be outdoors if it’s windy. I’m somewhat older and like the wind. The Dog Who Knew Too Much is my 27th novel. The 28th, Robbie Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood St., first in a new middle-grade series, comes out in January. The Chet and Bernie books are for adults, but I know some teens are reading them.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The occasion? I paused on the way to the office (over the garage), about to start the workday. Any time Audrey sees a human like that is an occasion for her to sit on his feet. It’s a Bernese thing.

What's brewing?

I load the coffee maker with fresh beans every night, programmed to grind and brew at 7:30. This particular brew is Ugandan. I like the word Uganda a lot.

Any treats for you or Audrey on this occasion?

Don’t say treat in front of Audrey.

How were you and Audrey united?

My wife brought her home.

How did she get her name?

Ask my wife how Audrey got her name.

Any nicknames?

Nicknames? Did Audrey Hepburn have a nickname?

The latest Chet and Bernie mystery is now out. How much of Audrey is in Chet?

I don’t really work that way, but if I hadn’t had dogs – of whom Audrey is the latest of quite a few – I wouldn’t have been able to write or been interested in writing the series.

If the mysteries are adapted for the screen, who should do Chet's voice?

Humphrey Bogart. Rex Harrison would also work, in a crazy way. But confining ourselves to the living, usually the best policy, how about Jeff Bridges?

Does Audrey have a favorite place to go for walk?

The beach. We live very close to a nice beach and Audrey loves it. She swims even on the coldest winter days.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Chet (not a talking dog, by the way, only a narrating one – he has no human powers) mentions several times in the series that he’s responsible for home security. Audrey’s the same way. She barks at the approach of any non-family member. At the same time, she gets along very well with the mailman, UPS and FedEx people, meter readers, etc. They all bring her treats, of course, which skews the results somewhat.

What is Audrey's best quality?

She’s part of the family and knows it. Does this answer the question? Logically not, but it feels right (perhaps right here is some insight into how I’m able to write Chet).

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

She’d want me to give up on trying to get her to retrieve. But where’s the retriever part, I keep asking.

Visit Chet the Dog's blog and Facebook page, and Peter Abrahams's website.

The Page 69 Test:
Spencer Quinn's The Dog Who Knew Too Much.

--Marshal Zeringue