Monday, March 10, 2014

Allison Gutknecht & Gypsy

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Allison Gutknecht, author of Don’t Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants (and Other Lessons I’ve Learned), the first in the Mandy Berr series, and I am attempting to wrangle my nine-year-old toy poodle, Gypsy, and my two-year-old cat, Folly.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Gypsy, Folly, and I are celebrating the release of my new book, A Cast Is the Perfect Accessory (and Other Lessons I’ve Learned), the second in the series following the adventures of Mandy Berr. They are impressed with it only because their names are both featured in print within my biography.

What's brewing?

Pumpkin spice Keurig coffee, black.

Any treats for you or Gypsy on this occasion?

Gypsy has a penchant for kielbasi, the Polish sausage, though she gets gifted with it very, very rarely.

How did Gypsy get her name? Any nicknames?

My favorite actress is Bernadette Peters, and both Gypsy and Folly were named after musicals in which she has starred.

How were you and Gypsy united?

Gypsy was my college graduation present. I moved to New York from South Jersey/Philadelphia two weeks after graduating, and Gypsy has been my nearly inseparable companion in the city ever since.

Does Gypsy do more to help or hinder your writing?

Gypsy is a definite hindrance to my writing. In fact, when I visit schools, I tell the students all about where I end up drafting my books. You see, I would prefer to do so at the desk in my apartment, where my computer is usually stationed. But if I sit there, Gypsy barks at me. So I move to my dining room table and spread out all of my things, which means my cat begins systematically knocking my papers to the floor and stealing my pens and sitting on my post-it notes (oh, and also, Gypsy barks). This means that I usually have to write from my couch, which is not ideal, but Gypsy tends to make sure that her wishes always come first.

Are there any Gypsy-inspired dogs in your books?

I haven’t written any books including a dog yet, but the main character in my two current books, Mandy Berr, has some definite character traits which were inspired by Gypsy. Specifically, both Gypsy and Mandy have a tendency to lean toward self-centeredness (Gypsy’s life philosophy is essentially, “And what about Gypsy?”), and they each react very extremely to any given situation (nearly everything is either the “best thing ever” or “worst thing ever” – there is very little gray area). Gypsy is also mistaken for a puppy at least weekly, and there is something in her excitable nature that has translated itself to Mandy’s view of the world.

Who are Gypsy's best pet-pals?

Gypsy’s best and only friend is Folly, who (don’t tell Gypsy) is much, much smarter than her. In fact, I’m pretty sure Folly knows how to read. She spent the first nine weeks of her life living in Ann M. Martin’s house, so it would make sense.

Where is Gypsy's favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere that she gets carried in her bag. As long as she’s included, Gypsy doesn’t care where she ends up.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Her squeaky yellow ball, which is her whole reason for waking up each morning (although the cat often has to help her find the thing).

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Gypsy is convinced every single person is her best friend, yet she’s afraid of all other animals, except cats. A postman/cat combo would be ideal for her, though in truth, she’d probably take or leave the cat in favor of the person.

What is Gypsy's best quality?

Gypsy is excessively loving and lovable. This tends to make her quite needy, but in the most endearing of ways.

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

She would prefer that I never, ever leave the apartment, unless, of course, she is accompanying me.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Gypsy could speak, which actor should do her voice?

I became convinced very early on that Gypsy speaks exactly like Elmo from Sesame Street, and yes, she too would talk in third person.

If Gypsy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

What do I have to do to convince you once and for all that when I walk out the door, I will always come back to you?

Visit Allison Gutknecht's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Don't Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants.

--Marshal Zeringue