Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Readers in Alberta Want to Know!

Wow! Thanks for all those questions! Here’s my attempt to answer at least some of them.

Where did I get the idea for the story? Is Wild Dog Summer based on a real event, or an event from my life?

Simple answer: no. I never lost a close relative in a car accident like the one that took the life of Joe Kelsey. But the idea did come from real life, in a way. While I was living in the small town of St. Clements, just outside Waterloo, Ontario, there were too-frequent accidents on country roads involving young drivers (usually) and drinking (sometimes). I would read about these accidents in the local paper and wonder how devastating that must be for the families of these young people. BJ’s family just grew out of that process.

Also, there really were “coydogs” in our neighbourhood. I still have the newspaper clipping that gave me the idea for the wild dogs in the neighbourhood. See?

Why did I change some parts of the book?

Hmmmm. This is an interesting question. The answer is pretty simple. I wrote Wild Dog Summer a long time ago (my daughter wasn’t even born then, and she’s now in university, so that gives you an idea…!) Since then, the way people speak has changed, and popular culture has changed too. In order to bring the story into a more contemporary setting, I did a quick copy edit. But to tell you the truth, I didn’t think I made that many changes!

How long did it take to write Wild Dog Summer?

I wrote it in ten days…BUT….I thought about this story for about six months before I started to write it. That’s how I work. I think about it for ages, letting the ideas swirl around in my head, letting things percolate and settle, letting the characters come alive in my imagination. Then, when I can see what the ending of the story should be, I start writing. So the writing only took ten days, but the creation of the story took months and months.

What are my hobbies?

Curling (I love curling!), music, and photography.

Just for the record: I haven’t thought much about dirt bikes before now, but you know, I’d love to try one!

Is there a sequel to Wild Dog Summer? How many books have I written?

I’ve written ten books. Two of them were originally published by Nelson Canada (Wild Dog Summer and The Legacy). I also published a book called Abby and the Curling Chicks. Under my Pugwash Publishers imprint, I’m republishing the first two books, and will be publishing a number of others, including the sequel to Wild Dog Summer called The Toymaker’s Son. (You can read the first two chapters on my website, on the Novels page.)

Do I have any pets?

Yes, I have a dog. His name is Tetley and he’s a Shetland Sheepdog. He likes to chase cars (because he thinks he’s herding them). And I can confidently add that Tetley is the best dog in the world. That's Tetley in the picture at the top of this post.

Thanks for all your questions! How are you enjoying Wild Dog Summer?


  1. Thanks for all of your answers Jean! We are now on Chapter 15 of Wild Dog Summer.

  2. Tetley is certainly the best greeter in the world...especially if one brings treats for him...

  3. I love your book and can't wait to finish it I am reading it with my grade 7 class and it is my favorite class reading book i have read in a long time

  4. Thanks, Anonymous! Let me know what you think of the ending....when you get there!


  5. Hi from Lillooet BC. We are reading Wild Dog Summer in our Grade 7 guided reading group. The students have a few questions and we hope that you will have some time to respond. :)

  6. Hi, My name is Ashley Doss. In the novel Wild Dog Summer i am on chapter 11, i have jsut finsihed reading chapter 10. I'm thinking while Lucy goes to Summer Camp and Riding Camp, she will spend most of her time with her articles and maybe the Baseball Diamond. Also in her and Craige's secret hiding place at old Millers Barn. So maybe what happens next, maybe Craige and BJ will get attached mre.