Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Rebecca Hodge & Tess and Kalen

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Rebecca Hodge, an author whose debut novel, Wildland, releases in February. I’m a veterinarian and have worked for the past twenty years in clinical research, focusing on drug development for metabolic disease in humans. The two crazy dogs who are ‘helping’ me unpack my Advance Reader copies of the book are Tess, the brown mixed breed, who’s twelve years old, and Kalen, the white mixed breed, who’s eighteen months.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Although I love the way coffee smells, I’m actually a hardcore tea drinker. It’s the way I start my day, and there’s usually a mug at my side when I’m writing. The dogs are my writing assistants and are generally underfoot at all times.

What's brewing?

My favorite go-to tea is Republic of Tea Vanilla-Almond Black Tea, but I also love their Golden Yunan.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

They’re very good at giving me long pitiful looks to get Milk Bones.

How were you and Tess and Kalen united?

Both dogs were rescue puppies. At Tess’s age, I was hesitant to add a second dog, but it was a great decision--- she acts five years younger with Kalen around to keep her on her toes.

How did the dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Tess was named by my sons, and I picked Kalen’s name out of a baby name book. I occasionally mumble ‘idiot dog’ under my breath, but no true aliases.

Do your dogs do more to help or hinder your writing?

One of the best ways for me to get unstuck in my writing is to go for a walk, and since these two are firm believers in long walks, I think I have to admit they help more than hinder.

Have any actual dogs ever inspired dogs in your fiction?

My fictional dogs are truly fiction, but since I’ve been around dogs all my life, hopefully their characters ring true.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

All elicit strong interest if they come close to the house, but what really gets things going is if they spot a deer out front. [photo left]

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Balls and stuffed toys that can be dismembered are the favorites.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Shelley Lake, a nearby city park with walking paths.

What is each dog's best quality?

Tess is the calm snuggler, and Kalen is the high-energy spring-loaded crazy dog—except when sound asleep in bizarre pretzel-shapes. [photo right]

If Tess and Kalen could change one thing about North Carolina, what would it be?

Too hot in the summer!

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

What do you dream about at night?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Tess and Kalen could speak, who should voice them?

Yeardley Smith, who does an awesome job with Lisa on The Simpsons.

What advice would Tess and Kalen give if asked?

They are not allowed on the furniture, so I think they’d advise it’s time for their own couch.

Visit Rebecca Hodge's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

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