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 Charmaine Hammond, international transformational speaker, best-selling and award-winning author and radio host -- helping people live inspired, resilient lives and is a leading trainer in corporate North America helping transform workplaces. Charmaine is also an award winning and bestselling author of On Toby’s Terms (Bettie Youngs Books, Sept. 2010), which Jack Canfield, creator of the Chicken Soup For the Soul books, described as: "Simply a beautiful book about life, love, and purpose."
Charmaine also authored Toby The Pet Therapy Dog – and his hospital friends (Bettie Youngs Books, Aug. 2011), and has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I learned from the dog (Sept. 2009).
She is also co-authoring a new book GPS Your Best Life. Her book On Toby’s Terms is currently in development to become a major motion picture. She has been featured on CBC, CTV, Global TV, 820 CHAM, Alberta Prime Time News, many major newspapers including Metro News National Canada, US and New York, and in various magazines. She hosts three radio shows: Corporate Conversations with Charmaine, Your Book AS a Business, and PAWsitive Radio…all things Pets!
Currently own dogs? Tell us their names, breeds and one amusing fact per dog.
We just lost our precious Toby who was a Chesapeake Bay retriever, a dog who lived life big and left some pretty big pawprints on hearts. He was 10.5 yrs old and like everything with Toby… left us peacefully on his terms. Toby broke toilet tank lids, sat in bathroom sinks, and gave unconditional love to more than 10,000 students across north America.
In one sentence, what is your book (or latest dog-related book) about?
Best-selling book On Toby's Terms (Bettie Youngs Books, 2010) is an endearing story of a beguiling creature who teaches his owners that, despite their trying to teach him how to be the dog they want, he is the one to lay out the terms of being the dog he needs to be. This insight would change their lives forever.
When did it come out? Publisher? Any notable awards or praise for it?
On Toby’s Terms came out in Sept. 2010, published by Bettie Youngs Books. Honorable mention in Hollywood Book Festival 2011, finalist in Alberta Exporting award 2011. On Toby’s Terms has been a bestseller on Amazon US and Canada several times. It is in development to become a major motion picture (yahoo!). We have launched A Million Acts of Kindness – Toby’s Global Mission and an Animal Assisted Therapy Kindness Award in his honor.
Toby The Pet Therapy Dog & His Hospital Friends -- August 2011 Bettie Youngs Books Publishers.
What inspired you to write this book? (In other words, how did the book come about?)
I wrote a short story about Toby and his amazing work as an animal assisted therapy dog, it was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: What I Learned From the Dog. After our book signings and Toby’s delight at PAWdographing books, he somehow inspired me to write a book, his book. On Toby’s Terms was published in 2010. With Toby there was no such thing as quiet and gentle inspiration. He gave me so much content through his antics and his acts of love that the book was written, with Toby at my side. Sometimes with his head in my lap and other times with his toy Kong in his mouth asking me to take a break.
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What kind of writing, if any, were you doing before the book?
As a professional speaker and trainer, I write presentations and training manuals. I have written many articles, had a column in a newspaper and used to write poetry to cope with the drama of teenage life. For most of my life I have written in a diary or journal, and I have always loved to read and be read to.
How did you find your agent? (If you don’t have an agent, how did you secure a book deal?)
When we adopted Toby, interesting situations started to surface in our life. I got more clear with my passion and purpose. I met a publisher who invited me to write a book about conflict, as that is my professional background and former area of expertise. As we got talking and I shared with her the tales of Toby, and the incredible life lessons we learned from our dog, and were still learning at the time, Bettie said “that’s the book.” When I replied “I don’t have a book” she suggested I get busy writing as she was sending along a publishing contract. Since then I have written 5 books and am on my sixth.
What has been the biggest surprise or learning experience you’ve seen through the process of seeing your book(s) get published?
One of the best aspects is the incredible people that I have met as a result of Toby and the books. The learning has been that authors must think of their book as a business for it to be successful. We treated our book as a business and thus invested in its success by having a publicist, a sponsorship concierge, and media training. These services have all been extremely beneficial and have resulted in great opportunities (e.g. media), sponsorships, a strong platform and a lot of fun. On Toby’s Terms has been out a year and a half and I am still having a number of media opportunities each month.
What are you doing to reach out to readers and dog enthusiasts?
We have a radio show called PAWsitive Radio, a blog (which is also posted on several dog sites), am a frequent guest on pet/animal and dog radio shows. One of our passions is PAWing it Forward. We participate in many pet events, and raise money for pet charities. YouTube and Videos has become a fun way to stay in touch with our readers. Of course we are very active on social media, mainly Twitter, Facebook and Linked In. As a speaker, I am often invited to speak at pet events.
Other activities have included blog and review tours, contests and launches.
Think of your dog (or a past dog perhaps). If you could compare them to one celebrity, who would it be?
I have always thought that if Toby had a voice, it would sound like Morgan Freeman. Strong. Purposeful. And Gentle. Now behaviorally, that’s another story. Maybe a combination of Hachi, Must Love Dogs, Turner and Hooch.
Where can people find you on the Internet? (Websites, etc)
What’s next up for you, writing-wise?
Just finished Toby’s next children’s book, Toby Says Be a Buddy Not a Bully -- scheduled for a fall 2012 release.
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.
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.