Saturday, November 10, 2012

Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You To Know and a Giveaway!

Why do dogs eat furniture when there are endless chew toys nearby?
Why do they always dash to a rug when they have to throw up?
And why are they always absolutely starving?
Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know answers the questions that dog owners have asked for centuries. The book is a collection of 115 humorous essays that reveal the truth behind some of the most baffling canine behavior, their hopes and dreams, their grudges and pleasures, and what they really think about us humans.  Peppered with lively, clever stories and visually appealing photographs, Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is a verbal and visual delight that is laugh-out-loud funny.  If you have dogs, love dogs, or have ever been baffled by a dog, this book is a must-have.

Topics include:
  • My Life in Your Purse by Tinkerbell, the Chihuahua
  • Waiting by the Table (for food scraps, of course!) by Orson, the bulldog
  • The Bed Rules (Rule #1—It’s my bed) by Dimples, the boxer
  • The Reason I Ate the Sofa (leather tastes a lot like rawhide) by Axelrod, the yellow lab
  • I  Can Poop the Second I Start My Walk (but choose not to) by Sophie, the cocker spaniel
Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Target, on e-books and at independent bookstores everywhere.  For more information, go to www.ThingsYourDog.com where you can also ask questions about your own dog’s behavior and learn the secrets they have been keeping from you!

PRAISE FOR THINGS YOUR DOG DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW
“A whimsical delight for dog lovers everywhere, this book will charm and remind readers why they fell in love with Rover to begin with.” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

 “I laughed, my dog howled.” (Steve Martin)

This is the perfect book for anyone who owns a dog, has ever owned one, or knows what a dog is. These guys made me laugh out loud—and captured my heart at the same time. The book is simply irresistible.” (Tony Shalhoub, star of the TV series Monk)
“If you love dogs and enjoy humor, you’ll love Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know. I did. Dog lovers will go crazy with this book!!” (Kah Cherub, Not Just Nonsense)

“ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!!  Overall, this fun read is perfect to leave on your coffee table and it is easy to pick up, read a few pages and then come back to it, sort of like your dogs attention span when food isn’t involved.” (Mary, BookHounds)
“We LOVE this book. Written by 11 dogs to their owners, each dog’s personality shines through on colorful, journal like pages. This is the perfect book for dog lovers of all ages. Even my kids have started asking me to read the book to them. A+ for a fun, beautifully crafted book.” (M. G. Gagliano “Maria”, Amazon Reviewer)

“This book was delightful to read because it was so accurate to the many breeds described. It would make a great gift for anyone considering a dog to help pick the breed. It was a funny, easy-to-read, laugh-out-loud book that dog owners will enjoy, yet dogs may have a cause of concern as now their secrets are out to us humans.” (Motivevotives, Amazon Reviewer)

An Interview with author HY Conrad . . . 


Tell us a little about yourself.

I guess I’m best known for my TV work.  I was one of the original writers of the series “Monk” and wound up becoming the show’s Co-Executive Producer.  From there I became head writer for the webisode series “Little Monk” and Consulting Producer on TV’s “White Collar.”

In the publishing world, I’ve written a dozen books of short mysteries which have been translated into over a dozen languages.

More recently, I came out with “Rally ‘Round the Corpse”, the first in my Abel Adventure mystery series (available everywhere).  Most recently I was tapped to take over authoring the “Monk” novels, a successful series of books based on the characters from the show. 

Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?

Starting as a teenager, I began working as a stage actor, performing on Broadway and in national tours.  Then one summer, while doing summer stock, I wrote a play that found a niche Off-Broadway.  Suddenly I wound up getting a lot more respect and more jobs.  And from then on, I was a writer.

What is your favorite non-writing pastime?

I love travel and history and dogs.  So, I guess my dream job would be to travel back in time and take care of Marco Polo’s pooches.

If you had to sum it up the book in 30 or less words, what would you say?

“Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know” is a humor book, 115 essays “written” by 11 dogs who share their innermost secrets.  They range from Tinkerbell, the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua to Axelrod, a yellow Lab who is puzzled by everything, from herb gardens to sofas to sprinkler systems.

What inspired the idea behind your book?

For this book, the title came first. 

One evening, my co-author, Jeff Johnson, and I were watching late-night TV and there was a series of infomercials, advertising books like “Things The Government Doesn’t Want You to Know” and “Things the Banks Don’t Want You to Know.”  A seemingly endless number of things we weren’t supposed to know.

At that point, I turned to Jeff and said, “Sure, what about something really useful like ‘Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know.’”

Like many humor books, this one began as a blog.  We started posting on the most obvious topics: “What We Do When You’re Gone” or “Sticking My Head Out The Car Window.”

The initial idea was to keep them generic, in a sort of Everydog persona.  But we soon realized that the humor was in the specifics.  It was funnier if the dog had a real personality, and even funnier if we invented a variety of “blogging dogs”, each with a radically different personality.

Do you have a favorite character in Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know? Who and why?
I think writers, being naturally lazy, love characters that are easy to write.  From that viewpoint, Axelrod and Tinkerbell are total favorites.  With Axelrod, we got to write a lot of dumb dog jokes.  And Tinkerbell turned out to be the snottiest, most superior animal on the planet, which somehow came easy to us, too.
When we wanted to get sentimental and take the long view about what dogs and humans mean to each other, we turned to Sophie, our old soul.  Gabby was a late addition to the pack, when we found we were missing the young voice of a self-obsessed girl.

What has been your greatest challenge in writing Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know?

Our biggest challenge was getting the tone right.  We wanted something funny but a little edgy.  Emotional now and then, but not too sentimental.  And then each dog has a different style and a different comprehension of the world.  Orson, our fat bulldog, thinks of everything as it relates to food.  Axelrod barely knows his own name, while Moonbeam, our rescue mutt, knows enough of pop culture to make fun of her human.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

We got a lot of our ideas from observing how people interact with their dogs.  For example, Jeff was in an upscale boutique in Manhattan and saw a woman shopping for handbags.  She would put her Yorkie in each bag, then stepped back to see how the bag looked with the dog in it.  This became our inspiration for Tinkerbell, who spends much of her life in a handbag.

Which character in Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know will be the most difficult to part with?

Sophie is an older dog who likes to reminisce about life.  As we were writing her stories, Jake, one of our own dogs became sick.  We wound up putting a lot of our own feelings into Sophie’s mouth as a way of helping us say goodbye to Jake.

Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?

Jeff can write anywhere under any circumstances.  I hate him for it.  When I write, I need to be alone, but not isolated.  If I could, I would hire someone just to sit in the next room and not say anything.

What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?

Jeff and I had always wanted to write a book together.  Our goal was to make it full of humor but with a little edge.  Sweet without being sentimental.  For four months, we got up every day and talked about dogs and swapped paragraphs and laughed a lot.  It was a great experience and we hope that readers can appreciate all the fun and energy we put into it.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

I was just commissioned to continue the Monk novel series.  Somehow I got on this crazy deadline where I have to write two books in the next six months.  In addition, I’m trying to finish the second book in my Abel Adventures mystery series.  The first is called Rally ‘Round the Corpse and is available now.  The second will be called If I Should Die Before the Wake and will be available in 2013.

What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?  

Without a doubt, it was my eight years working on “Monk”.  I went into work every day to a room full of funny, generous writers and got to create a show for a great actor.

Is there a genre you wish you could write, but haven’t made the plunge? Which one and what appeals to you about it?

I’ve always wanted to write a YA novel.  They’re, in general, big on plotting and concept and are becoming more popular with the so-called adult audience.  About a year ago I got an idea for a great story.  Very high-concept.  I imagine it will continue to gnaw at me until I actually sit down to write it.

Why did you choose to be an Indie writer and would you choose to self-publish again?

Jeff and I are not indie writers.  Being publishing dinosaurs, we have always gone through the old route of agents and publishers.  But if we ever get a great idea that a publisher doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to commit to, we would readily switch over to self-publishing.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

I think Earnest Hemingway said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Always stop for the day when things are flowing well and you know where you’re going.  It makes it easier when you sit down and start again.” 

Which authors and books have most influenced your writing style?

I’m a big fan of humor fiction writers like P.G. Wodehouse and E.F. Benson.  Basically I go for dead English guys with a lot of initials.  Also H.G. Wells.

Have you ever literally deleted or thrown away a book you’ve written?

I’ve never thrown away a book.  But I worked in TV for years, and for every series that you get on the air, there are at least 10 that never see the light of day.  My favorite was “Mr. and Mr. Nash”, a pilot that Steve Martin and I wrote for Alan Cumming on ABC.  It was about two gay interior decorators who solve crimes.  The premise was great, but it never quite worked.

MEET HY CONRAD
Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk, working on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer. In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old.  His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.

Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages.  Hy’s first mystery novel series, Abel Adventures, debuted in 2012 with the publication of Rally ‘Round the Corpse.  And his first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in May 2012.  Hy has recently begun writing the Monk book series, which will be available in 2013.

He lives in Key West with his partner and two miniature schnauzers. (www.hyconrad.com)

My website:  HyConrad.com
My book website:  ThingsYourDog.com
Twitter: ThingsYourDog

4 comments:

  1. I love this book! Hope the tour goes good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So fun:) Great idea and can't wait to read! Now, look forward to one for cats as well:O)

    Cool giveaway! Thanks for sharing:)

    Michelle
    Pit Crew

    ReplyDelete
  3. The craziest thing my pets have ever done...well, my 7 pound, declawed cat chases the 40 pound mutt and the 55 pound golden retriever around the house.

    ReplyDelete