Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of five novels, twenty-two books for children and numerous essays, articles and stories that have appeared in many national and literary publications. Dogs are Willa and Holden. Both are pure bred Pomeranians. Willa, the female, is eight and Holden, the male, is seven. They have been mated and Willa had a puppy (named Bebe and she is so cute I can't bear it!) so I call them husband and wife.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I mostly have coffee in my own sunny dining room; Willa and Holden are always there with me.

What's brewing?

I use a Nespresso maker for the best latte ever. It steams the milk to perfection and the easy-to-use pods are make a delicious brew.

Any treats for you or Holden and Willa on this occasion?

I might have a muffin (home-made; I'm a good muffin maker) and the pooches each get a biscuit.

How were you and Holden and Willa united?

I know a wonderful woman who is a dog breeder on Long Island. She had these two dogs she was retiring and she called to ask me if I wanted them. After I finished doing cartwheels around the living room, I said yes.

How did Holden and Willa get their names? Any aliases?

These are the show names they were given. Holden [photo left] is actually short for Holden the Applause and Willa is short for Willa be famous? For reasons I can't explain we call Holden Roscoe and Willa Fairy or Fig.

Your new novel Two of a Kind has just hit the bookstores. Are there any dogs in it?

Yes, there is a dog that plays a small but important part. My protagonist, Christina Connelly, is trying to get information from a very cranky, older man out walking his dog. He is not too helpful until she reaches into her purse and pulls out a dog biscuit, which she gives to the dog (she keeps a stash on hand for dogs of her clients--she's an interior designer). The owner softens and gives her the information she needs.

Do Holden and Willa do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Oh, they help! I work in a small room that faces the yard; I tend to keep the dogs nearby. They snooze or roll over, hoping for a belly rub as I pass. I love having them near me.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

They ignore cats and squirrels; they yap like mad at the poor postman.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Not interested, though they both enjoy chewies and such.

Do Holden and Willa have a favorite place to go for outings?

Our backyard, though small, seems to have all they require. Some dirt for digging. Plenty to sniff. Things to try to eat, like leaves, weeds and small twigs.

What is each dog's best quality?

Willa [photo left] is so dainty and pretty; she's a true lap dog and is happy when cuddled in someone's arms or lap. Most endearing.

Holden is a true gentleman. He is calm, self-possessed and even-tempered; I have never heard him growl. And he always knows when I need some TLC; he jumps up and licks my nose.

If Holden and Willa could change one thing about Brooklyn, what would it be?

Willa was raised on LI and does not understand why there has to be concrete; if it were up to her, Brooklyn would be covered in grass.

Holden thinks there should be more places for dogs to stop and snack along the way.

Learn more about the author and her work at Yona Zeldis McDonough's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Queenie, Willa and Holden (October 2012).

My Book, The Movie: Two of a Kind.

The Page 69 Test: Two of a Kind.

Writers Read: Yona Zeldis McDonough.

--Marshal Zeringue

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