Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, April 23, 2018

An Inside Look #50 (Author Interview)

An Inside Look with Dan Gemeinhart
(Author of Good Dog)

*This was a new feature I added to the blog during the summer of 2016.  It was a shot in the dark that it would work, but much to my surprise; it took off and over first season I conducted 22 interviews with a variety of authors.

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" about their novel, characters, and thoughts about the story.

*I ran a series of interviews for Season #TWO over the summer of 2017.  It was great to get back to these conversations, that I decided to run Season #THREE during the 2017/2018 school year.  

*Thank you to Dan Gemeinhart for being the Fiftieth author that I've had the pleasure of interviewing.  I truly appreciate it.  

*Here are links to the first FORTY-NINE interviews…


*I've read all of Dan's novels for middle-grade readers.  Each book seems to get better than the last one.  I've been lucky to meet Dan in person and he has also Skyped with a few of my fourth grade classes over the years.  I was thrilled to read his latest story and found it to be unique, special, and a complete page-turner.  

*He was kind, gracious, and giving with his answers to the questions.  It is an honor to post the responses with my "Inside Look" feature.   

*Here is a link to my review of Good Dog...

*Thank you Dan Gemeinhart for writing this story for readers and taking the time to share your thoughts with us here on the blog...

Good Dog
by Dan Gemeinhart (Released March 27, 2018)

How did you come to know Brodie?  
From the very beginning, I always knew Brodie's heart. He's one heckuva dog. His love, his utter devotion, his deathless loyalty to the boy he loves...those were there from the moment the idea sparked to life in my head, and are really the emotional engine that keeps the story charging forward. It did take me some work, though, to get to know his personality and his find his voice; it was a little tougher than it's been with my human characters. But, just through the process of writing the story and putting Brodie in those life-or-death situations, I really got to know this amazing little dog and I fell totally in love with him.

What do you think is Brodie's most admirable quality?
His selfless devotion. He would risk anything and everything - literally, his soul - to save his boy. He has questions and doubts and regrets about other things, but not when it comes to what he would do for Aiden.

Is there anything you wish Brodie would have changed or done differently in his story?
Sure! Because he's so laser-focused on finding and saving Aiden, he doesn't always treat his friends as good as he should. Tuck is an incredibly loyal companion, and even Patsy the cat risks a lot to help Brodie, but sometimes he's too blinded by his own love and mission to see that. He does eventually and he does truly love and and appreciate them at the end, but I think there are times when he could have been a better friend along the way.

What do you think Brodie can offer to other “dogs” (and/or children) that are experiencing similar situations to what he went through?  
Really, I think it's the importance of holding on to who you are and what's important to you, no matter what. We can't control the actions of others or a lot of the things that might happen to us in our lives, but to some degree we can hopefully control whether or not we fall into hopelessness or bitterness, and whether we let ourselves be lost or twisted. Life can be incredibly hard and there is plenty of darkness in the world...we just need to do our best to be the soul we know we should be, and to look for the light even in hard times.

How did you research Brodie and the circumstances he found himself in?
For this book, most of my "research" was more internal soul-searching. I had to do more world-building than I've had to do in previous books...come up with how things work in this story, what happens to souls after we die, how spirits can or can't interact with the world, what the consequences and rules are. It's definitely fiction of course, but I had to craft it in a way that felt true and real to me.

What was the hardest scene to write about Brodie?
Definitely his death scene, which happens before the narrative begins (he's already dead and in "heaven" when the story starts) but is slowly revealed to us in little flashbacks. It's...tough stuff. It's a very dark scene not only for Brodie, but for his boy Aiden. It was pretty heartbreaking to imagine it and to keep having to revisit it, but I thought I needed that darkness to add stakes to the story, and to make the light at the end that much brighter.

Who do you think was Brodie's biggest supporter and why?
Well, without giving too much away, I'd say it was a tie between good 'ol Tuck and the angel-who's-not-an-angel. They are both with Brodie nearly every step of the way, and they both do everything they can to help Brodie on his journey.

Why do you think humans and dogs have such a special connection?  
Oh, man, I don't know! But it's amazing, isn't it? How much love and joy dogs give us, whether we deserve it or not? As I'm writing this I've got my own great dog curled up by my feet. I think the human-dog connection is one of the most beautiful, quiet little mysteries in life. It would be easy to just say that dogs love us because we feed them, but anyone who's ever really known and loved a dog knows it goes way deeper than that.

What do you think Brodie is doing as this present time?
I don't know if I can answer that without giving the ending away! :)  I do know, though, that no matter where he is, he's loving his boy, and he has absolutely no regrets about the quest he went on to save him. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about GOOD DOG and Brodie!

No comments:

Post a Comment