Le: Hey, y’all! Please welcome author Gail Martin to my blog today! Hi, Gail! Thanks so much for being here! Let’s just jump in and get started! What is your favorite kind of a pet? Dog, cat, guinea pig? And why?
GM: I can’t pick between dogs and cats. I’ve owned both and I love each for different reasons. Dogs are faithful and welcoming. Cats are whimsical and independent.
Le: I love both too. How many pets do you have today?
GM: Sadly, none. When my last cat died, we were pet-less and because we travel so much and sometimes for long periods of time when we are in Europe, we decided it wasn’t fair to the animals. Once I settle down again and stay home more, I would love a small dog or a cat or both.
Le: Traveling is good though. And very responsible of you not to leave a pet behind. It’s so hard on our animals. Have you ever rescued an animal?
GM: Yes, my cat Waifer who lived to be 20 was abandoned in northern Michigan. We had a popup trailer on my parent’s property and one night we heard a rustle outside. We assumed it was a possum so we decided to open the door and let our Samoyed and terrier outside to scare the pest. When we flung open the door, this tiny little kitten sat mewing up at us. We took her in, and then the next day went out to homes that were further down the road to see if they’d lost a kitten. Everyone laughed. They said people always dumped their kittens in the woods. We decided to take her back home to the Detroit area and find her a good home. We did. Ours. Since she was a little waif in the woods, we named her Waif-er.
Le: Ah, that is such a sweet story. Waifer was certainly blessed to find y’all. Do you ever incorporate animals into your novels?
GM: Yes, I’ve had cats and dogs in my novels and would love to have a parrot sometime. One book that stands out in my mind is Dooley, an Irish setter, who is a great character in my novel, The Christmas Kite. My series out right now is based on three women who are involved in a dog shelter. The first book, Dad In Training, is about Molly who wants to own a dog shelter. The second book, Groom In Training, is her best friend, Steph who runs a doggie day care in her home and wants to move it to the back of Molly’s shelter. Steph owns a border collie named Fred and he’s a great character in the first two books. The final book, Bride in Training, to be released in less than a week, is the story of Emily who is a part-time employee at Time For Paws, the dog shelter, and who also has a dog walking/sitting business.
Le: I love that! Love the premise of the series and new book. Very cool. What was your favorite character animal?
GM: I would have to say Fred the border collie. He is a fun dog, well-behaved and such a good friend to Steph. And best of all, he’s also a romantic too. He falls in love in book two, Groom In Training.
Le: Too funny! Has one of your own pets been the inspiration for a pet/character in a novel?
GM: Yes, both Jinx, a terrier-mix and Teddy, a Samoyed, inspired scenes and events in my novels. Jinx lived to be twenty as well and influenced my life very much. Teddy was a real character with separation anxiety. He was so powerful, that when we hired someone to stay at our home while we traveled for a month, he moved large pieces of furniture from room to room – like overstuffed chairs – and tore up every houseplant as well as the baskets they were in. The young woman asked our neighbor to help her find a way to keep Teddy in the basement when she left the house, but Teddy didn’t like the idea. He ate the basement banister which we had to repair when we came home. She swore she would never own a pet or have children. She did have children eventually.
Le: Oh my! And I thought the Hilo Monster (my labradoodle) was trouble! Do you have anymore funny stories?
GM: I have two funny stories. We fed Jinx canned dog food and when we bought cans of doggie stew, we realized Jinx didn’t like peas. He ate all around the peas and made a little pile of them on the outside of his dish. Teddy on the other hand liked everything. One day my husband came home from work and I was thrilled to tell him, I’d made chicken paprikash for dinner and homemade spaetzel (German noodle). He walked into the kitchen and called to me asking why I’d made such a small amount. I said I’d halved the recipe because I thought that was plenty. He said there’s less than a cup here. I knew he was wrong. I had made them, put them in the frypan with butter and bread crumbs to brown when he arrived home. I had a whole pan full. When I went in the kitchen, he was right. We looked down and saw Teddy sitting beside us with a large smile on his face. . .that’s if dogs could smile. But we knew he was guilty.
Le: Oh, boy! Now that is something the Hilo Monster has done. Is there a secret that only your pet knows?
GM: Not really a secret, but people always think I’m very sweet and loving. Ask the dogs. They know the truth. I do get crabby, and that means raising my voice a lot. . .even if it’s just at myself. Or you could ask my husband. : )
Le: Our pets see all sides of us, don’t they? And they still love us. What is your pet’s pet peeve about you?
GM: Our travels would have to be the answer. When we went up north to the trailer, they came along and loved it. They were both good riders. But taking dogs to Europe or on cruises isn’t a good idea. We love to do both.
Le: I’m with your pets about the cruises. Am I green just thinking about it? But I’m a different kind of green thinking of your trips to Europe. I definitely want to come along on one of those trips! What is your pet peeve about your pet?
GM: Dogs have one bad feature that cats don’t have. Cats use litter boxes. Dogs use the yard. That’s my pet peeve.
Le: Yes, they do. Or as one of mine (and I won’t name names) likes to use the inside. Sigh. Thank you, Gail, for taking the time to be with us! Now, I’d love to ask your pet a few questions. Don’t forget to give your sweet pet a treat afterwards. ☺ Hi, Jinx! What would be the title of your autobiography?
J: Hi – This is Jinx and if I wrote my autobiography it would be, A Terrier’s Adventure. Since I hate to think of what happened to me, I’ll let my master tell the story. When he was about 16 or 17, he’d lost his sense of smell and his sight wasn’t good. He followed our other dog out of the yard when a meter-reader came to our house and didn’t lock the gate. Teddy came back, but Jinx was gone. We did everything—kennels, police, signs, etc. – and after two weeks, we gave up. With tears in my eyes, I picked up his doggie dish and toys to get rid of them. Everyday my heart broke wondering his fate. The telephone rang that day and it was our vet asking if we still had Jinx. I told him until two weeks earlier, yes. He said I think he’s here. The secretary went out to lunch and spotted him hanging around the building. She thought he looked familiar. The vet looked at him and then called us. He wore his dog tag so we checked the number and sure enough. We picked him up – and though his foot pads were raw and he smelled like garbage, we were thrilled to have him home. The strange part of the story is that our vet was many miles from our home across two major highways. How he found his way there only the Lord knows.
Le: Wow! That is some adventure! If you were to write a novel (and sounds like you might have one), would your friend inspire one of the characters?
J: She might inspire a story. She’d done a 360 degree turn since she was young to now. She was very shy and had no confidence in herself at all. Today she is a speaker at churches and conferences all over the country. Plus she loves acting and is a solo singer. I think writing a story about how God can drag out people’s talents and change them for the better would be a good lesson for anyone who read it. I was always confident and talented so I couldn’t write that kind of a story about myself.
Le: Oh, isn’t that wonderful how God works! I’ll have to have Gail back sometime and talk to her about the changes in her life. So, Jinx, shat’s your favorite movie?
J: Easy. Lady and the Tramp. I’m sort of a tramp at heart. I suppose my adventure story shows that, and I’m also a lover. My girlfriend used to live next door and we had some romantic times together, although we never had a spaghetti dinner like the one in the movie. I always wanted to take her out, but no sense in talking about should haves. That’s one thing my master has taught me. She says in life and in novels those are in the past. We try to look to the future.
Le: That is definitely good advice. And I love Lady and the Tramp too. It’s one of my all time favorites. What musical instrument would you like to play?
J: I think I’d like to play the maracas. I could shake those babies and dart around the room. Sounds fun to me.
Le: What do you think about cats? Dogs?
J: I had little choice. Where I lived, they brought home dogs and cats so I had to deal with it. Teddy and I became good friends, but the cats. I tolerated them, but we weren’t exactly friends. For one, Waifer always tried to steal my spot in bed.
Le: Just like a cat! So, where do you sleep at night?
J: Where else? With my masters on their bed. Sometimes I like to sleep between them, especially in winter when it’s cold. I’ve even slipped beneath the blankets. I’m not really welcome there, but what’s a guy gonna do?
Le: Exactly! What do you do when your friend is writing?
J: Either bark to get in or out or, my favorite, curl up on a rug in the sun and take a nap.
Le: That definitely sounds like a good idea! What is your idea of bliss?
J: I love the sandy beach outside Mackinaw in northern Michigan. We had a long stretch of sand, some woods to visit, and best of all flocks of birds to chase. I even went swimming occasionally.
Le: That sounds lovely! And fun! What is your friend’s idea of bliss?
J: Probably the same. They spent many long weekends on that beach although they didn’t chase birds. They swam, went for walks, and, at night, sang around campfires. You don’t know what stars look like until you’re on a beach like that.
Le: They didn’t chase the birds? Huh! Thank you, Jinx, for being with us today! You take care of your friend now, ya hear?