Wednesday, August 20, 2014

EgmontUSA Book Blast & Interview: Guinea Dog 3 (Patrick Jennings)

Guinea Dog 3 (Guinea Dog, #3)Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by EgmontUSA

An award-winning, hilariously funny middle-grade series about guinea pigs who act like other pets will move its author, Patrick Jennings, into the ranks of much-loved writers, such as Louis Sachar and Andrew Clements.
When Rufus, Murphy, Lurena, and their pets go camping, they meet Pedro, a shy boy who seems afraid of just about everything--especially the water. One thing leads to another and the kids go into a nearby town to buy him a pet to cheer him up--a guinea pig, naturally. Yet what they bring home may look like a guinea pig, but it can swim--like an otter! 

“Youngsters will eagerly jump in for another fast, fun read.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Another cute and laugh-out-loud entry in the series.”—School Library Journal

Before Patrick Jennings was an author of children’s books, he was a boy who read children’s books. He lived in a small town in Indiana, and his nickname wasn't Tiger. He wanted it to be, though. He had a friend who everyone called Tiger, and this guy wasn't even like a Tiger. Not one bit. Patrick was way more tigerish.
When Tiger (Patrick) was a kid, his house was a block away from his school, two blocks from the public library, and three blocks from the county jail from which infamous gangster John Dillinger once escaped. (This happened before Tiger was born. Nothing exciting ever happened in his hometown again.) Tiger checked out lots of books from the school library and the public library, although he only finished the ones he couldn’t stop reading. Now he writes books he hopes kids won’t stop reading. Click on books and find out about the ones he published when he grew up. Yes, Tiger grew into an adult, though not expertly.

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

The first Guinea Dog book was inspired by a kitten I had just gotten that had a real doggish personality. I wrote a picture book story about a boy who wanted a dog but got a cat instead. Later I changed the cat to a guinea pig because I thought it was funnier. 

Snapper in GD3 was inspired by the families of otters that live seasonably near my home. I commonly see them in the summer swimming in our harbor and frolicking on our city streets.

2. Who is your favorite character in the book?

I don’t know that I have a favorite. I do have a real fondness for Murphy, who’s so positive and fun-loving, and Lurena, who’s so interesting and smart. And then there’s Fido, right? Gotta love him. And Pablo…and Queen Girlisaur…and… (Writers tend to care about their characters to the point of treating them like family, and one doesn’t have favorite family members, right?)

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The short story. The novel was based on a short story that was based on the picture book. I wrote the short story, then came up with the title.

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I like the resuscitation scene. It’s suspenseful, involves all the characters, and introduces Pablo in a way that tells us a lot about him at once: he spies on people from trees; he’s helpful; he isn’t affected by Dmitri’s taunts. 

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

One important thing is that you cannot force your characters to do things they don’t want to do. You have to listen to them when they protest, “No, author! I’d never do that!” You have to be patient, be empathetic (an important characteristic of any good writer), and figure out another route to your goal.

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

It makes me giggle every time I see it. The guinea pigs are too adorable. I love that the artist gave each of them such personality, and that she paired the three of them with their three people, who stand in the background. I love the cover!

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2014?

I have a stack of 2014 books waiting to be read on my reading table. I’m so busy writing and revising my own books that I don’t have nearly as much time as I’d like to read others’. One book I’ve been wanting to get to is book 3 of Adam Rex’s Cold Cereal Saga, Champion of Breakfast. 

8. What was your favorite book in 2013?

I adored Jon Moollem’s Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story about Looking at People Looking at Animals in America. It’s adult non-fiction. I read a lot of non-fiction books about animals, which may explain why my stack of novels for kids is so tall. I also loved Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell.

9. What’s up next for you?

Hissy Fitz! He’s a cat that can’t sleep, and gets very hisssssssy. It comes out in 2015. 

10. Is there anything that you would like to add?

Yes. Thank you so much for your interest in my books, and your excellent questions.

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