Hi everyone! Today I come to you with a special post - the first of its kind on this blog! - an author Q&A. I got a chance to ask Colin Campbell, author of "Free Days With George," a few questions about dogs, writing, and the exciting things that have come with writing this book.
Up to this point, what's been your favourite thing about writing and promoting "Free Days with George”?
What a great question! There have been so many positive things that have happened since I started writing and promoting the book. I have met so many wonderful people at my publishers, I have learned a ton about the art of writing and the editorial process, and I have loved connecting the dots of my childhood memories of my Gandfather and how they still have a positive impact on my life today. The best thing however is that I will be able to leave a legacy for George, and his impact on my life, but also the way he has touched the lives of everyone he has met over the years. His story is worth telling and reading, and I am thrilled that George’s personality will live on through this book.
What was the hardest thing about writing your memoir? What was the funnest?
The hardest thing about writing the book was having to articulate the feeling of depression I had carried with me in the early parts of the book, that was difficult to write and it took a long time. The funnest (great word!) was writing about how George started to heal emotionally and the early signs that this big neglected dog possessed a warm and vibrant personality that no one had seen or imagined. Writing those parts went quickly!
Did you learn anything from writing this book?
So much..!! I was fortunate to have one of the best editors in Canada in Nita Pronovost, who was the perfect mentor in keeping the story focused on the important details and how to give George, the dog, a “voice.” I learned better mechanics of writing, I learned to "show, don’t tell” in my writing style and I also learned that it was ok to let some of my biggest fears and secrets be shared within the book. It was an eye opening and wonderful experience at many different levels.
Do you have any writing quirks? For example, I once read a Dan Brown interview where he said he liked to use gravity boots for inspiration.
Ha Ha..!! No, nothing like that. The only thing that some people might think is quirky is that I discovered that I like to write on airplanes. I wrote a lot of the book while traveling for work. I had a busy job, with frequent travel, and had to squeeze writing time in where, and when, I could. For some reason, I felt a great deal of clarity and creativity on airplanes and wrote some of my best passages while flying. I love to write on airplanes and still open my laptop and write anytime I am on an airplane.
Is there a particular message you hope your readers take from this book?
I hope people will take away two things; 1. I hope people will recognize that abandoned or homeless dogs found in thousands of shelters across North America can make wonderful pets. They are not “damaged goods” like so many people assume. These dogs are all capable of great love and have many hidden talents, like surfing, that adopters will be surprised to find if they share their home and love with a shelter dog. 2. I hope people will embrace the concept of “Free Days” and make an effort to seek them out and recognize them with their own families and friends (or dogs!)
George is a very talented dog, having competed in multiple surfing competitions. Have you ever been surprised by other talented dogs? If so, what's one of your favourite talents?
I think all dogs, like people, have talent, or at least hidden talent. It’s just a matter of opportunity and encouragement. The internet is filled with videos of dogs doing crazy things like riding skateboards, skipping rope and even driving a car. (seriously) My favorite talent though are those dogs who go to Children’s hospitals or Seniors homes and share their love and gentleness with people who can really use it and cherish it. These dogs are selfless, something that not all of us people can do. That is my favorite talent of dogs.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Colin, and best of luck with Free Days With George!
What's your favourite dog talent?