Monday, May 5, 2014

Lisa Alber & Luna

[editor's note: R.I.P. Luna, who passed away since Lisa Alber submitted this guest post.]

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Lisa Alber, and I’m a debut novelist. My novel is called Kilmoon, and it’s the first in the County Clare Mystery series. Ever distractible, you may find me staring out windows, fooling around online, drinking red wine with my friends—or, of course, hanging out with Her Highness Luna, an 11-year-old King Charles Spaniel/Pekingese mix. Or maybe a Japanese Chin. I vote for the former though.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Kilmoon launched on March 18th. Woohoo! Luna’s been with me through most of its creation. Kilmoon is a mystery set in Ireland. In it, Californian Merrit Chase travels to County Clare to meet her long-lost father, the famous Matchmaker of Lisfenora. Her simple, if fraught, quest turns complicated when she’s pulled into a murder investigation and she discovers that her father's dark past is at the heart of the chaos. Murder, vengeance, betrayal, and family secrets—not the family reunion she was hoping for!

I’m celebrating my novel, but I’m also here to honor wee Luna, who has oral melanoma and won’t be with me much longer. I’ll miss her terribly. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to steward her through the latter half of her life.

What's brewing?

Being from Portland, OR, I've got myself a double soy latte made from locally roasted Stumptown Coffee beans. Yum!

Any treats for you or Luna on this occasion?

Lately, I’ve been letting Luna drink a little soy milk too. She gets whatever she wants! Tonight I’ll be hand-feeding her tiny pieces of steak.

How did Luna get her name? Any nicknames?

Luna is a rescue dog, and she came to me with one eye. I love symbology, so I researched what the left eye means. In Egyptian mythology, the left eye is the Eye of Horus, which was often used to symbolize healing and protection, and was associated with the moon. Also, in western traditions, the left eye is considered a lunar trait. So, Luna, which is Spanish for moon.

Oh, I call her all kinds of things. On Facebook, she’s known as “Luna the One-Eyed Wonder Dog.” I call her “Luna Tuna” and “Mistress Moon” and “Loony Tunes” and “Sweet Pea” just to name a few endearments.

How were you and Luna united?

I used to write in a coffeehouse called “Kodi’s” with a shop dog named Kodi. I grew so attached to him that I'd take him for walks. Long story short, the shop closed, I missed Kodi, and one day I found myself browsing Just looking. A month later I was still “just looking” when I saw a photo of Queenie, as her foster mom called her. I fell in love. Luna had been a stray and had had a nasty run-in with a raccoon. She’s lucky to be alive in so many ways. OFOSA, the Oregon Friends of Shelter Animals, had rescued her from Animal Control. Poor thing had a infected eye and was going to be put down.

Are there any Luna-inspired dogs in your new novel?

Kilmoon doesn’t feature any dogs. However, my second novel in the series, tentatively titled Grey Man, does! In appearance about as opposite as you can get from Luna, a huge Dogue de Bordeaux named Bijou (French for “jewel”). She’s gotta a sweet Luna-like temperament though. In the novel, Bijou is instrumental in helping a traumatized, mute woman.

Does Luna do more to help or hinder your writing?
There’s a reason the foster mom called her “Queenie”—because she sits around doing nothing but be waited on! She’s a companion dog through and through. In fact, I call her “the Buddha of dogs” because she’s so chill and so patient. So, she’s a great comfort as she lies around watching me with her big brown eye.

Who is Luna's best pet-pal?

That would be Trio, my Siamese mix. Luna hides it well, but I know she likes Trio. And Trio looooves Luna. He makes no bones about it, rubbing up against her. His behavior changed when Luna fell ill. He sleeps close by, kneads to self-soothe, and has quit doing his running leaps over her.

Where is Luna's favorite outdoor destination?

I’d say her favorite outdoor destination is any sunny, quiet spot where she can sunbathe. (She’s like a cat that way.)

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

None of the above. She likes a nice pillow to climb on for naps or to bury treats under. I once saw her start to chase another dog’s squeaky toy. For about second. That said, she does have her feisty moments when she slaps her paws against the ground or dashes back and forth or butts her head into the bed covers.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

A squirrel could tap Luna on the nose, and she'd just blink and turn her head away. So, none of the above for this one too.

What is Luna's best quality?

Her sweet, Buddha-like temperament. She’s got an old soul.

If Luna could change one thing about Oregonians, what would it be?

She’d like to see a little less outdoorsy dishevelment and a little more refinement beside a roaring fire. Yes, Your Highness.

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

Something British and high-class and wise ... hmm ... Dame Judy Dench, I think.

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

How are you going to let me know when it’s your perfect time to go?

Visit Lisa Alber's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Oh I have to agree, Peke & Cavalier. Fits her perfectly, as Cavalier don't have people, they have staff. She is adorable! You are both so blessed to have found one another. They fill your heart and then break it when they are gone. I pray she has a peaceful and easy passing. Everytime you look a the moon I'm sure you will feel a warm glow in your heart.

    Your book sounds amazing, I can't wait to pick it up.

    1. Hi Marjorie -- thanks! I miss Luna so much! She was the sweetest dog on the planet--just a joy. I didn't mind being her staff of one. :-)

  2. She does look like she should be catered to, hand and foot.

    1. :-) Oh yeah, definitely. Her sense of entitlement was so gracious and so sweet that I didn't mind.

  3. Oh, Lisa, you have me in tears here with that last question. Luna was so blessed to have you. What a beautiful life.

    1. Thanks, Natalia! I'll miss her for a long time to come.

  4. Such a fantastic doggie!!! I had the pleasure of knowing her for the last year since living near Lisa. Miss you, Luna!!!

  5. So glad we Debs got to "know" Luna before she passed. What a sweet tribute to her.

    1. Thanks, Lori! I had a bittersweet time answering the questions, but I'm glad I did!