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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

WHY I BECAME A WRITER


By Hy Conrad

It’s always been my theory that the things that excited you as a ten-year-old, before all the limits and temptations of life lead you astray, are your true passions. For me, those early loves included mystery books, humor and dogs.

Since then, I’ve spent most of my life writing mysteries and owning dogs.  Two out of three. It wasn’t until the producers of the TV show "Monk" hired me and threw me in with a bunch of comedy writers, that I developed enough confidence to try my hand at humor.

This book began with my friend , Jeff Johnson, and me watching an infomercial.  It could have been “Things The Banks Don’t Want You to Know.”  Or “Things The Government Doesn’t Want You to Know.”  At some point, one of us turned to the other and said, “Sure, how about ‘Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know.’”  And that’s how it started; the title came first.

Like many humor books, this one started out as a blog. Our first posts were 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 “dog bloggers” with radically different personalities.

For inspiration, we used Nelson and Charlie, our miniature Schnauzers, and spent a lot of time at the local dog park, mostly observing the humans, who always seemed clueless about their dogs’ behavior. If that wasn’t grist for a humor book…

A few weeks after we started, the site garnered enough attention to get a publisher calling.  That’s when the fun really began.

We wound up creating eleven dogs, from tiny and obnoxious (Tinkerbell, author of “My Life in Your Purse”) to large and dumb (Axelrod, author of “The Reason I Ate the Sofa”).   And we gave each dog an arc, which is a writerly term for “all the little stories add up to something.”  For example, Sarge is a German Shepherd and a working dog.  In each of his stories, he gets a new job and it always winds up being a disaster.  By the time Sarge tells his tenth story, he has finally been adopted by a great family.  But he still thinks it’s a job, and this one he doesn’t want to lose.

The blog morphed into a website called ThingsYourDog.com and it’s still up and running with new content all the time.  And if you submit a question about your own dog’s behavior, one of our 11 dog experts will answer it (in a humorous way, of course).

ABOUT THE BOOKWhy 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 THE BOOK
“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)

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

5 comments:

  1. Wonderful post. Thank you for hosting Hy & Jeff today :).

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  2. It is a fun read and thanks so much for the wonderful post...

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  3. I have read the book and it is simply irresistible. A real fun book, the best I have read in a long long time.

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  4. Loved this book. It was great fun reading out loud to the kids. lol

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