Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Nikki May & Fela and Lola

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m the human (Nikki May, author). The beast draped around my shoulders is Fela, my standard schnauzer. He’s seven and a real mummy’s boy.

Fela’s sister, Lola (standard schnauzer) is out of shot, she’s looking at us both disdainfully and rolling her eyes.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My first coffee of the day, I usually have four or five. As always, it’s made by Peter (husband, editor, plot advisor and barista).

What's brewing?

We live in the middle of nowhere, our nearest coffee shop is a fifteen minute drive away, so husband has become an expert at making my iced coffees. His recipe: One shot of espresso made with a Nespresso Firenze Arpeggio capsule, four squirts of sugar-free vanilla syrup, a dash of skimmed milk and five ice cubes. Chuck all of that in our KitchenAid blender and pulse a few times. Served with a paper straw.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

Today was a good day. Husband served my iced coffee with a slice of white sourdough toast with butter and marmite – just the way I like it. Of course I shared it with Fela, he adores toast.

How were you and the schnauzers united?

I first saw Fela when he was six weeks old and it was love at first sight. That dome head, those gorgeous eyes, that button nose. His sister Lola joined us a year later, they are distant cousins.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Fela is named after the late and great Fela Kuti, the pioneer of Afrobeat, a Nigerian hero and a political insurrectionist. I also call him Roo for reasons even I cannot fathom.

Lola is a proper little madam, she’s ruled the roost since she was nine weeks old, she’s a showgirl and her name was inspired by "Copacabana."

[photo right: Fela at six weeks old]

Have your dogs inspired you to create any fictional canines?

Yes! My first dog, Tosca (he’s now chasing squirrels in heaven), got a walk-in part in my debut novel, Wahala.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Squeaky ball for Fela. We have to have five minutes of chasing the ball around the bedroom every morning.

Lola doesn’t do toys, she’s all about squirrels.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Fela fell in love with Kiwi, my neighbour’s chocolate lab, when he was a puppy. She was a bit of a cougar – about eight years older than him. She’s now in heaven but he still wags his tail when we say, “Kiwi”.

Do the schnauzers do more to help or hinder your writing?

Mostly help – my best ideas come on dog walks and they insist on a ninety-minute trek every morning. They are less good at editing though – this is Lola [photo left] interrupting me at work.

What is each dog's best quality?

Fela is loyal, Lola is a comedienne.

If your schnauzers could change one thing about Dorset, what would it be?

Slower squirrels. Ideally snail-paced and unable to climb trees.

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

‘Do you really think that if you sit at the foot of the tree barking for forty-minutes, the squirrel will jump into your mouth? Seriously?’

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

Fela – Will Ferrell (doing his Elf voice).

Lola – Jodie Comer (as Villanelle).

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

There is no problem that can’t be resolved with a long walk on the beach followed by fish & chips.

Visit Nikki May's website.

Learn more about May's new novel, Wahala.


--Marshal Zeringue