In celebration of my latest humor book, RED DOG / BLUE DOG: WHEN POOCHES GET POLITICAL (Running Press, August 2012), which features political humor and funny dogs, I am featuring interviews with other dog book writers. It’s very exciting to shine light on books from other writers who also share a love for canines.
This week it’s Kim Kavin, award-winning writer, editor, and photographer whose work is widely published in magazines, in books, and online. In April 2013, she will celebrate 10 years of earning a living as a full-time, freelance journalist. LITTLE BOY BLUE (Barrons, Sept. 2012) is her ninth book and her first hardcover. It’s also her first book about dogs, a topic she hopes to write about for many years to come.
[Update: As of me posting this in March 2013, I'm now seeing the the book has recently won a flurry of awards, including:
- American Society of Journalists and Authors announced the winners of its 2013 writing competition. Little Boy Blue earned an honorable mention for outstanding general nonfiction book of the year. It was among just five books cited.
- Foreword Reviews has just announced its finalists in the 2012 Book of the Year Awards. Little Boy Blue is among five finalists in the pet-book category.
- Little Boy Blue won the 2012 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award from the Dog Writers Association of America]
Currently own dogs? Tell us their names, breeds and one amusing fact per dog.
I share my home with two dogs. Blue, whose life story is the basis for LITTLE BOY BLUE, will turn three years old in February. Ginger, a foster dog I adopted a couple of months ago, will turn one year old in February. Both are mutts, and I have no intention of trying to verify their breeds. I think mutts are awesome. Everybody should go to the shelter and adopt one.
Amusing fact about Blue: He sleeps under the covers at night. All night, even in the summertime. I have no idea how he gets oxygen in there.
Amusing fact about Ginger: She was so terrified of everything and everyone as a baby that when my sister tried to pick her up for the first time, Ginger pooped all over her. You can imagine the nicknames that ensued—for them both.
In one sentence, what is your book (or latest dog-related book) about?
LITTLE BOY BLUE is the story of how Blue was rescued from a gas-chamber shelter in North Carolina and transported hundreds of miles to be adopted—and about the army of volunteers trying to save great dogs like him all across America today.
When did it come out? Publisher? Any notable awards or praise for it?
Barron’s published LITTLE BOY BLUE this past August. It has earned wide praise from reviewers, rescue groups, and dog lovers nationwide. It recently was nominated for an Arlene Award, given by the American Society of Journalists and Authors for books that make a difference. We won’t find out the winner until early next year, so all fingers and paws are crossed.
What inspired you to write this book?
I never thought about writing a dog book until I adopted Blue and started to question some things about his history. Every question led to more questions, and the answers led to the proposal for Little Boy Blue.
What kind of writing, if any, were you doing before the book?
I’m primarily a travel writer. I’m on the masthead at Yachting as charter editor, and I contribute regularly to luxury print and online brands that cover the global yachting industry. I’ve also published a few travel books as well as a guide to magazine writing and a children’s book about Native American history that won an Honor Book award.
RED DOG / BLUE DOG is a humorous photo collection of
dogs doing stereotypical liberal and conservative things,
assembled all in good fun. It released in Aug. 2012 from
Running Press and has been featured by USA Today,
PoliticalWire.com, The Huffington Post, and more.
How did you find your agent?
For a number of years, my agent was Jacky Sach at Bookends Inc. in New Jersey, which is where I live. Jacky retired and I had no agent for a while, and I had to send queries to agents for LITTLE BOY BLUE. I recalled that the president of Bookends, while she didn’t handle dog books, was the proud mom of a rescue dog. I can’t believe I remembered that detail, which Jacky had mentioned in an offhand comment years ago. But I pitched the agency president, Jessica Faust, because of it, and we took a chance on each other doing something new, and it has turned out great for us both.
What has been the biggest surprise or learning experience you’ve seen through the process of seeing your book(s) get published?
Everybody says you should aim for the biggest publisher out there. Mine is smaller, but they have treated me like a rock star—and given me far more support than a bigger publisher likely would have for this particular title. My agent encouraged me to look at the entire package as opposed to just the advance, and I am thrilled with the decision that I made to go with Barron’s. They’ve featured LITTLE BOY BLUE at Book Expo America (with 1,000 galleys), with ads in the New York Times Book Review as well as BookPage, and in all kinds of other media thanks to a publicist they hired just for my book. LITTLE BOY BLUE earned out its advance in the first quarter and is still selling. It’s been a great experience for my first hardcover.
Tell me about a fun moment or proud experience you’ve had with your book and readers since the book was published.
My proudest moment—not just since the book was published, but maybe in my whole life—was when the shelter where Blue was rescued bowed to public pressure following the book’s publication and agreed to eliminate its gas chamber. No more innocent, healthy puppies will be asphyxiated in that shelter ever again. We’re now working to make that shelter an example of positive change for all the taxpayer-funded shelters like it nationwide.
Far less significant, but also a proud moment for me, was when Blue and I appeared on CNN. He had to sit in a director’s chair under the lights, all without jumping down or looking away during the live interview. I was so busy trying to keep him in that chair that I forgot to be nervous myself, and we both ended up looking great on our national TV debut.
What are you doing to reach out to readers and dog enthusiasts?
I recently became a correspondent for The Bark magazine, which is really exciting for me. We’re also doing the normal book signings and appearances, as well as signing books for fund-raisers held by rescue organizations. We donate our time for that, and we’re proud to be a part of the movement to save as many dogs as possible from the shelters.
Think of your dog (or a past dog perhaps). If you could compare them to one celebrity, who would it be?
Blue is a lot like Tobey Maguire. He’s adorable, the ladies love him, and he’s fantastic at playing the vulnerability card.
Favorite of these dog movies? — “Best in Show,” “101 Dalmatians,” “The Shaggy Dog.”
I’ve only seen “Best in Show” among the titles on that list—and I thought it was absolutely hilarious. My parents have a purebred who goes to dog shows, and I can tell you firsthand, there is way more truth than fiction in that script.
Where can people find you on the Internet?
LITTLE BOY BLUE ’s official website is www.little-boy-blue.info. Blue also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littleboybluedog. My personal website and blog are at www.kimkavin.com. I also own and edit the website www.CharterWave.com, if you have any interest in learning about luxury charter yachts around the world.
What’s next up for you, writing-wise?
I just sent my agent the proposal for a sequel to LITTLE BOY BLUE. It’s a memoir about fostering homeless puppies, and how doing so helped me to get through my divorce. Hopefully I’ll be writing that in early 2013 after landing a publishing deal. Then Blue, Ginger, and I can all go to book signings together.
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Other dog author writing/publishing articles & links for you:
- Interview with Maria Goodavage, Best-Selling Author of SOLDIER DOGS.
- Interview with Julie Klam, Best-Selling Author of LOVE AT FIRST BARK.
- Interview with Dorothy Patent, Author of SAVING AUDIE: A PIT BULL GETS A SECOND CHANCE.
- Interview with the authors of NUBS: THE TRUE STORY OF A MAN, A MARINE, AND A MIRACLE.
- Interview with Wade Rouse, Author of I’M NOT THE BIGGEST B*TCH IN THIS RELATIONSHIP.
- Sell More Books by Building Your Author Platform.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.