WELCOME AMY SHOJAI
Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, and the award winning author of 26 bestselling pet books that cover furry babies to old fogies, first aid to natural healing, and behavior/training to Chicken Soupicity. She is the Puppies Expert atpuppies.About.com, the cat behavior expert atcats.About.com, and has been featured as an expert in hundreds of print venues including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle, as well as national radio and television networks such as CNN, Animal Planet’s DOGS 101 and CATS 101. Amy brings her unique pet-centric viewpoint to public appearances. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed dog viewpoint thriller LOST AND FOUND.
Connect with Amy at these sites:
Q&A with Amy Shojai
-Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I draw from both personal experience and current events when writing my dog viewpoint thrillers. Every day I read two newspapers and several blogs and news sites, as well as subscribe to science and animal magazines. From these I collect interesting tidbits and keep in a file.
As an animal behavior consultant and veterinary technician, I’m familiar with the medical aspects of cat and dog care and health. It’s great fun to bring this expertise into the fiction arena, and expand on the “what if” aspects to turn stories into Thrillers With Bite!
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
It varies, but most times I know the beginning and the conclusion. I may also know some of the major plot points and scenes but the order of these can change as I write.
My first thriller I started at the beginning and wrote to the end. But with the sequel HIDE AND SEEK, I was more flexible and decided to write the scenes that burned to be born onto the page first. That meant some of these came out of order, and the additional scenes and chapters I never thought of before were inspired by these first ones.
So it’s a little of both. I have a starting point, and a target to reach the end, but the story in between leads me around quite a bit and often surprises me. I also host NAME THAT CAT and NAME THAT DOG contests for some of the animal characters in each of the thrillers. These pets often have their own personalities that add depth and new directions to the plot. For instance, in HIDE AND SEEK, the therapy dog at the Alzheimer’s unit is based on a real service dog who really does pick up and collect and tidy up rooms.
-Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
Well, I’m not sure what other folks do. I have my dog and cats nearby for furry inspiration. And I have a desk treadmill, so I often write while I walk. Otherwise I’d never get any exercise, aside from keeping the new kitten from tormenting the 17-year-old cat.
I also have to have my mug-‘o-caffeine handy. Yes, I’m addicted to coffee. And the mug has a lid to keep the cats from paw-dipping and flinging liquid everywhere.
Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
Yes, I’ve been a fulltime freelance writer since 1992 when my first nonfiction pet book came out. But I write both nonfiction and fiction now, so I have a full plate of writing projects at any given time. On the nonfiction side, I write all the content for puppies.about.com as well as a three times a week blog at BING, BITCHES & BLOOD, and also a weekly newspaper P’ETiQuette column, and a twice monthly PET TALK television segment. I also write music and am a playwright (the latest is STRAYS, THE MUSICAL), and on the fiction side, I’m working on the next dog viewpoint thriller in the series.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Wow, there are really so many and I don’t want to leave any out. But some of my favorites (in no particular order) include James Rollins, JT Ellison, Tess Gerritsen, Alan Leverone, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Rebecca Cantrell and on and on…
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading the ARC to I AM PILGRIM by Terry Hayes, a spy thriller.
Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
The next thriller in the September Day series is called SHOW AND TELL. In the first book, (HIDE AND SEEK), the bad guy created treatment that wreaked havoc in autistic children, but he escaped before the police could catch him. So in this third book, some of the parents and children affected seek September’s help to track him down. There will again be animal-centric subplots including a dog fighting ring that September and her service dog Shadow must overcome. And fans have urged me to allow September’s relationship with Detective Jeff Combs to develop.
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I’d cast NEW actors, not necessarily well known ones. As an actor myself, I know there are extraordinary, gifted performers who haven’t gotten their break and I’d love to give them a chance.
Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?
My handwriting sucketh, so any notes must be on a keyboard. J
-Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Writing and playing music, playing with my pets, reading, and working in the rose garden. Now, to find time for “leisure” is the trick!
Prime rib, very rare, with horse radish, and asparagus. Yum! But then it’s also a well known fact that M&Ms and Cheetos are brain food. Just saying….
About the book
A mysterious contagion will shatter countless lives unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing cat . . . in 24 hours.
A STALKER hides in plain sight.
A VICTIM faces her worst fear.
AND A DOG seeks the missing—and finds hope.
Eight years ago, animal behaviorist September Day escaped a sadistic captor who left her ashamed, terrified, and struggling with PTSD. She trusts no one—except her cat Macy and service dog Shadow.
Shadow also struggles with trust. A German Shepherd autism service dog who rescued his child partner only to lose his-boy forever, Shadow’s crippling fear of abandonment shakes his faith in humans.
They are each others’ only chance to survive the stalker’s vicious payback, but have only 24 hours to uncover the truth about Macy’s mysterious illness or pay the deadly consequences. When September learns to trust again, and a good-dog takes a chance on love, together they find hope in the midst of despair–and discover what family really means.
“Recommended for anyone who likes a ‘bite-your-nails, hold-your-breath’ kind of thriller.” — Dr. Lorie Huston, Cat Writers Association President
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