Author Barb Meyers and her dog Pepper have graciously answered my questions for today. Barb writes humorous contemporary romance, and Pepper helps…inasmuch as dogs help with anything besides eating table scraps!
1) Why did you decide to be a writer instead of a cat sanctuary owner?
At the time, all the cat sanctuary owner positions were filled with individuals much more qualified than me. Alas, I had no choice but to become a writer instead and settle for adopting numerous animals over the years.
2) Why do you think cats are better than dogs? (Since you call yourself a writer, I trust your answer will be eloquent.)
Cats are independent. They can do their business in a box in your laundry room. You don’t have to put them on a leash or open a door and let them outside several times a day. Cats bathe themselves. They don’t need your help. Cats can entertain themselves as well, and chew toys are not necessarily required. A cat can sit and stare out a window for hours at a time and be perfectly content. This sort of activity will bore a dog after about thirty seconds. Dogs are high maintenance.
3) Tell me about the felines in your fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play in your narratives?
Uh-oh. I think I’m in trouble here. If I recall correctly, the second of my romantic comedies, TRAINING TOMMY, contained a lovely Persian feline by the name of Victoria, but I think that’s the only book I’ve had published where a cat played a major role. Does it help that Victoria made Tommy’s dog Skid miserable?
4) On the off-chance you have yet to incorporate cats into your fiction, when do you plan to rectify this egregious error and demonstration of poor writing skills?
I’ll try to incorporate more cats into future works.
2) If writers are supposed to be so smart, why does your writer have a dog instead of a cat when it’s common knowledge cats are better? Does that mean your writer isn’t very smart?
Oh, no. My writer is brilliant. She has had numerous cats over her lifetime. The most recent one was named Minnie who arrived by way of the local Humane Society. Minnie was fearless. Unfortunately, she met with an untimely death a couple of years ago. If you ask me, I think a dog did it.
3) So why did your human end up a writer instead of an animal sanctuary owner or something like that?
I thought she was an animal sanctuary owner! Isn’t this an animal sanctuary? There’s hair everywhere. Oh wait, it’s mine. And there’s this other old dog hanging around all the time. Correction. I’ve just been informed that’s my writer’s husband. There were these other two mongrels that lived here for years and years. I think they recently got adopted out. What’s that? Oh, sorry. She says those were her two children. Apparently, they grew up and moved out.
4) Does being a writer mean your human is home all day and easy to access? What is her day like?
No, she’s not home every day, but I can always tell if she’s going out. If she has shoes on, she’s leaving. If she’s barefoot, she’ll be around, in which case that means she’ll get on her bicycle and take me for a run or she’ll walk me down to the corner and back. She’ll pet me every time she walks by me, too. If she’s got her green apron with her when she leaves the house, then she’s going to work her shift at Starbucks. If she’s sitting at the kitchen table with her laptop, she’s writing.
5) As a dog, you’re probably not devious or fascinating, but on the off-chance you do have feline traits, what are your techniques for distracting your human during crucial writing moments?
I shake my head so my ears flap. That usually gets her attention and she asks what’s wrong with me, do I have fleas? Hmpff. As if. Sometimes she has to lift up my ears and look at them just to make sure. If I scratch that distracts her, too. Sometimes I do this little dance just for the heck of it. She thinks it means I need to go outside. Sucker.
6) What indignities and neglect have you suffered because of your human’s writing career (besides the absence of a cat to properly rule the house)?
My human’s friends tell her I am the perfect dog. I’m very laid back and undemanding. I rarely bark. I like everyone. I don’t get petted nearly enough. My therapist claims this is a common complaint amongst us canines. If I lay on the rug near her feet, she’ll foot pet me, though. I’ve become an expert at laying with my head on my paws and looking forlorn and neglected. It makes her feel guilty and easy to manipulate.
7) We’ve established your human doesn’t write stories full of hyped up lies about dogs. Tell me about the felines in your human’s fiction. How often do they appear and how big a part do they play?
In a yet-to-be-published fantasy novel, there is a cat named Magic based on a friend’s feline. Magic is still pissed about being, um, fixed and avoids his human except to torment her at random intervals. But toward the end of the story, he comes to her defense. It’s a love/hate relationship.
8) When your human gets together with other writers, do they spend half their time sniffing each other’s butts like dogs do?
Ewww! No. Gross. No one wants to see that. Not even me.
9) What is your human’s next project (bonus points if you answer: getting a cat)?
I didn’t know we were on the point system! But I’m pretty sure we’re not getting a cat. My human’s been working on a sequel to A MONTH FROM MIAMI which came out in print earlier this year. It features Rick’s twin brother Ray as the hero. She’s just about ready to submit it so keep your fingers crossed that her editor loves it.