Friday, May 24, 2013

Henriette Lazaridis Power & Finn

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Henriette Lazaridis Power, novelist and author of The Clover House (Ballantine Books 2013) and Entertainment Coordinator for Finn, the family Golden Retriever, aged 7 1/2.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning, Finn chooses not to follow in the footsteps of his late uncle Flash who sang along to the coffee grinder. Finn greets this noisy first step in daily coffee preparation in stoic silence. Actually, since nothing Finn does is stoic, it’s more likely that he is stunned each morning into muteness by the authority of this small, hoarse creature that gets to sit on the kitchen counter while he watches, in awe, from below. Finn is an Omega Dog.

What's brewing?

I grind Starbucks beans, a mixture of decaf and caff, and make a French press. If I’m feeling lazy--or if I want to give Finn a break from the Grinder God--I pop a pod in a Nespresso and make an Americano.

Any treats for you or Finn on this occasion?

My treat is a scone pretty much every day. Finn has just had his breakfast. Do you want me to spoil him?

How were you and Finn united?

Our dog Flash died suddenly at age eight, and while we thought we would be all right with just have one dog--our black Lab-Border Collie mix Ailsa--we couldn’t bear to see her go outside and stand there, looking for the buddy she used to boss around. We contacted the breeder we had gotten Flash from, and she immediately put us on the top of her list. Lo and behold, she had a litter coming in a month, and we got Finn. Ailsa was very happy and so were we.

How did Finn get his name? Any aliases?

Our daughter who was 13 at the time chose the name out of thin air. He has several aliases, depending on his mood, among them: Finniedoodle, Finsterwald. Doodlebug. Doodle, and Buddy-Buddy. Also Sweedart (say it aloud).

Does Finn do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Depends on the day. There are lots of days when he lies near my feet and makes his patented radiator noises, as though his polite frustration at not being able to go out and play Frisbee is escaping from him discreetly like steam. I end up feeling like Odysseus trying not to heed the sirens’ call, and eventually, I give in to the dog’s whistling (a sort of pathetic come-hither) and take him outside. I like to think my writing benefits from this pause in the fictional action. There are other days when I need a break and, whether he’s making his noises or not, I am all too eager to go throw the disc for him or take him for a walk.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

Cat, but not in the way you think. Our ageless cat Cascade is the complete master of the house. Finn will go the long way around to reach even his most beloved object as long as he doesn’t have to cross paths with the ominous feline.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

Besides the black soft-rubber Frisbee that he lives and dies for (and catches mid-air quite athletically, even though he does not wear a bandanna), the object of Finn’s greatest affection is a stuffed lamb toy named Roger.

Does Finn have a favorite place to go for outings?

Finn says the theater. He enjoys comedies. But every now and then he feels the need to push his emotional range by viewing a tragedy. Aeschylus is good. He really recommends him. Finn just thinks he has a lot to say about the human condition.

Or anywhere the Frisbee goes.

Who is Finn's best pet-pal?

Finn says: “I'm in an interesting relationship at the moment with a cat, who I like a lot but I'm also horrified by. It's tricky. I don't want to talk about it.”

What is Finn's best quality?

Without a doubt his razor-sharp wit. And his ability to catch the Frisbee.

If Finn could change one thing about Bostonians, what would it be?

He just wishes they would enjoy life more. They don't need to be so angry. They should throw the Frisbee more.

If Finn could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Where did you put the other Frisbee?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Finn could speak, who should voice him?

Besides my college-age daughter who voices Finn for us, I’d say Tina Fey. Or Daniel Craig.

Visit Henriette Lazaridis Power's website and blog.

Writers Read: Henriette Lazaridis Power.

The Page 69 Test: The Clover House.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Love your title "Entertainment Coordinator" for Finn! And we look forward to reading your book!

    Nice to read your interview.
    Tootsie and her mom Renee

  2. I wanna hear more about Finn and the kitty love story :)