Saturday, July 12, 2014

Showcase: The Dog Year by Ann Wertz Garvin


Dr. Lucy Peterman was not built for a messy life. A well-respected surgeon whose patients rely on her warmth, compassion, and fierce support, Lucy has always worked hard and trusted in the system. She’s not the sort of person who ends up in a twelve-step program after being caught stealing supplies from her hospital.

But that was Lucy before the accident—before her husband and unborn baby were ripped away from her in an instant, before her future felt like a broken promise. Caught red-handed in a senseless act that kept her demons at bay, she’s faced with a choice: get some help or lose her medical license.

Now she’s reluctantly sharing her deepest fears with a bunch of strangers, avoiding her loneliness by befriending a troubled girl, pinning her hopes on her husband’s last gift, and getting involved with a rugged cop from her past. It’s only when she is adopted by a stray mutt and moves her group to the dog park that she begins to truly bond with the ragtag dog-loving addicts—and discovers that a chaotic, unplanned life might be the sweetest of all . . .

Ann Wertz Garvin

Ann Garvin is an Easterner who lives in the Midwest and a fiction writer who makes a living as a scientist and educator. While working as a nurse she completed her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in exercise psychology publishing extensively in the area of exercise, mental health and media and later became a prize winning short story writer.

Decades of teaching health and studying what makes people tick proved a perfect backdrop for her novels ON MAGGIE'S WATCH & THE DOG YEAR (June 2014/Berkley Penguin). Her teaching position as an adjunct in the Masters of Fine Arts position at Southern New Hampshire University allows her to marry her love of people, story and writing and help others do the same. Ann, a natural storyteller, is a sought after speaker and educator at conferences where writing, health and human nature is discussed.

Q. What inspires your writing?

A. Characters inspire my writing the most. I love watching people and imagining their lives. Imagining what they might do for a living, how they talk to their spouses. I’m that person in the airport that wants to eavesdrop and write things down. I want to peek into people’s lives and consider different ending. It’s not creepy or anything. It isn’t!

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A. Hands down, meeting readers and talking about books. Reading and writing can be solitary and I can’t seem to keep a book club going to save my life. I marvel at people who have been in book clubs for years. As a writer I get to talk to readers about everything I love (and don’t love) about books. It’s my own personal heaven.

Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A. I wonder if every writer says this…finding time to write. There is so much that gets in the way. Making dinner, shopping for groceries, cleaning up after the dogs, but still I write. I love to write and so when silly things like wiping down the microwave gets in the way, I get frustrated. So, I’m learning to live with more dirt and learning how to say ‘no’. All so I can say ‘yes’ to writing

Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A.  I think I would do what I do in my other job and that is as a college professor teaching health. I actually love my other job so I’m very lucky that way. I’ve been teaching college for years and it is the next best thing to writing. Other careers? Maybe a professional shoe shopper—is that a thing?

Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  A girl with no real plan makes good, or at least does pretty well.

Q. What is your favorite book of all time?

A.   I hope it’s okay but I picked a kid book-From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. It’s the book that made me want to become a writer – years and years ago. It has everything: suspense, quirky characters, intrigue, a mystery and really good story. I love this book and I’m thankful I read it when I did.

Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.   I’m a lot like the protagonist in Bridget Jones Diary and Jane Austen’s Emma, except I’m not British and I don’t smoke. But, I’m a romantic bumbler that is for sure.

Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?

A.   I’m most like Maggie in On Maggie’s Watch but since I haven’t had her losses I haven’t gone as far as she has and I’m like Stuart from Frozen Foods in The Dog Year. I’m kind and I often spend a lot of energy taking care of others

Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of? Harry Potter. No competition.

Q. What is your favorite season?

A.  Spring because of the anticipation that summer is around the bend..

Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A.  I love The Dog Year cover. Penguin got it exactly right and I’m so honored to be working with them.

Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A.  With my first book I did an event at a book store where only one person showed. So, it was the bookstore owner and a student that I’d had in my classes ten years before. I said to both of them, “We could have saved a lot of gas and done this on the phone!”.

Q. Are you working on something new?

A.  Yes I am. It’s in the beginning stages and I’m loving this stage this time around. I can feel my brain working on it when I’m doing other things. I can’t wait to see what it works out. I can’t say too much but there is a fair amount of laws being broken.

Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A. Don’t believe it when the naysayers report that publishing is dead. People will always want stories, books will always live in some form, and reading is always a valiant pursuit.

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