Monday, November 10, 2014

Karen Miller & Seiko, Wilson, and Millie

Who is in the photo at right?

So, the person in the photo not a zombie canine is Karen Miller, speculative fiction author. And the zombie canines are from left to right: Seiko (aka Psycho), cocker spaniel/poodle, male, 18 months; Wilson, Maltese terrier/jack russell, male, 5 years and Millie, Maltese terrier/poodle, female, 6 years.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Since I don't do coffee this was a post-workout pile on (hence the author's cherry-red face) because, hey, I abandoned them for an hour so I could exercise and have a shower after.

What's brewing?

Again, alas, being not a civilised person who drinks coffee, my intention after the photography was to indulge in a chocolate protein shake. Which I had no hope in hell of holding for the purposes of the photo!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

No. We're all of us trying to lose weight.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Well, Seiko (aka Psycho) is only sort of mine, insofar as he's my father's dog technically but he travels so much that my place is his second home. Dad named him. Because he's a ... wait for ... watch dog. (I'll give you a moment to recover from the terrible pun.) Wilson's all mine, I named him, after House MD's best friend. Since he's my best friend! And Millie came to me with that name.

How were you and your dogs united?

Like I said, Seiko is kind of a step dog, but very much one of the family. Wilson's story is unusual in that I found him in a pet shop. Most of my dogs in the past (there have been a few!) were rescue jobs. But I'd lost my last dog, MacDuff (rescue from Mt Druitt TAFE college, where I was teaching) at the grand age of 19. I lasted 3 months as a dogless person. Then on the way home from an interstate trip to a convention I was seized with the notion that I had to have a dog, right now. So I got home, got in the car, drove down the road to my excellent local pet shop that only works with proper, registered breeders, and I found Wilson. Love at first sight. A year or so later, when I was thinking I needed to find him a doggy friend, I heard about a dog in a bad situation, and so rescued her. That's Millie. Instant love all around.

How do your dogs help--or hinder--your writing?

Whether it's just my two, or the terrible threesome, I can't be anywhere without the loyal escort. As I type this they're all sleeping at my feet in the study. We're a pack, I'm pack leader, so it's all for one and one for all. Seiko is young and very energetic, so sometimes he gets a bit pushy wanting to play ball. Otherwise they never hinder me, and when I get stuck on a sticky plot point they're always ready to listen as I talk my way out of it!

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Not yet. But I never say never!

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

As in chasing? None of the above. We chase balls and dog toys.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Wilson loves Millie, and Millie loves Wilson. Seiko loves Wilson, and Wilson loves Seiko. Millie quite likes Seiko but wishes he wasn't so boisterous. Seiko would love Millie if she'd let him, but she won't. And everybody loves Editor Barney, my cat who thinks he's a dog. And Editor Barney loves everyone.

What is each dog's best quality?

Seiko is a goof. He makes me laugh. Wilson is incredibly loving. He literally throws himself backwards into my arms for a hug. And Millie is so sweet and polite.

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

More time throwing balls and dog toys, less time in front of the stupid computer.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Patton Oswalt for Seiko, James McAvoy for Wilson and Joanne Froggatt for Millie.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Are you happy?

Visit Karen Miller's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Falcon Throne.

The Page 69 Test: The Falcon Throne.

Writers Read: Karen Miller.

--Marshal Zeringue

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