Studious computer geek Ben has just moved with his family to a new town and is struggling to fit in. His faithful, fun-loving Labrador puppy, Zoe is helping him overcome his homesickness. Through unusual circumstances, Ben and Zoe meet and befriend Jade, an enigmatic Goth girl. Will Zoe’s charming, but wayward behaviour prove too much for Ben to handle? Will he find out more about the inscrutable Jade? Together, the three of them embark on a venture that changes them all. Find out what happens to the unlikely trio in this heart-warming dog story.
What is the power of a Labrador puppy? In today’s interview I’ve been joined by Susan Mason, author of ‘Life According To Zoe’ to chat about the ups, downs and rounds and rounds that the loveable puppy Zoe will take her owner on in this uplifting tale. Susan, thanks for joining me today to chat about this mischievous puppy Zoe. Where did the idea for this tale of a puppy dog’s tail (and legs, ears and body too) start?
This book was inspired by the antics of our family pet – a lovable, yellow Labrador puppy. We named her Zoe because she was so playful and full of life – just like Zoe in the story.
I hope that your Zoe hasn’t let the fact that she’s now the inspiration for a book goes to her head! How did the plot unfold from your Zoe’s personality?
I started off with Zoe, and a lot of puppy behaviours that I thought people might find entertaining. Puppy training needed to happen for the unruly Zoe. The human story grew from that. Ben is Zoe’s owner, and the two of them meet Jade. Both Ben and Jade have challenges to overcome.
What types of challenges did you want to explore within the human side of the story?
I wanted to write a story with teenagers, so Ben became Zoe’s young owner. I did actually meet a Goth girl crying at a bus stop one day. That influenced how I decided what kind of girl Ben would meet, and some other elements of the story.
Do you feel that many of the elements of the story were directly inspired from your own life experiences?
A lot of what Zoe gets up to is directly taken from my experience with our own pet. I’m sure lots of dog owning readers will nod knowingly at the familiarity of these accounts in the story, too.
*Laughs* Ahh, yes the crazy antics of puppies! You just have to love them when they’re so small and full of beans. Other than loving the life of puppyhood, what is the most important thing that you wanted to say in your book?
Life According To Zoe is a celebration of life, despite the challenges we can all face. It is a story of friendship and acceptance.
What did you learn through the course of writing about this friendship?
This is the first book I have worked on with an editor. Lesley was great, and I learnt a lot working with her.
And I hope that your editor has encouraged you to keep writing. What is your next writing project focused on?
I have some translations of my Axolotl book that I will be publishing. Then I will be writing another fun facts animal book. Watch this space!
Will do! What keeps pulling you back to writing?
Why do you write?
I write for children. I wish to encourage them to enjoy the world around them and to have hope for the future.
Writing for future hope. What a wonderful motivation to write with a reason that positive I’m sure writing is much easier to tackle. Before I allow you to return to your life of the real-life Zoe, I’d like to toss you a few questions from our quick fire question set to see if we can tap into a touch of your hope. Let’s start with: Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
I find great wisdom in the bible.
There is certainly a lot of wisdom and advice within those pages. But will the advice help you answer the next question, what came first, the chicken or the egg?
Yes! I like that definitive answer! What is your favourite line, quote or statement from your book?
Jade said – “This is my face.”
Mmmmm, I am feeling a little bit of intrigue with that statement. I wonder where it is going to go from there. What is your favourite flavor of ice-cream?
Yum. What is your day job, and do you think it has influenced your writing?
My career has been as an accountant. I am a CPA. How has it influenced my writing? So far, not a lot!
*Laughs* You never know where inspiration may strike. One day you might be able to find another tale of great hope within an account! And finally for today, what is the best advice that you’d like to impart to other authors?
Love your characters.
With characters like Zoe it’s hard not to love them. Susan, thanks for joining me today to chat about the love of a puppy and I hope that you are able to share your stories of hope with many new readers.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘Life According To Zoe ( ASIN: B0711VMYH9 )‘.
Want to find out more about Susan Mason? Connect here!