Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jackie Bouchard is barking up the RIGHT tree...plus a book giveaway

The title of Jackie Bouchard's sophomore novel, Rescue Me, Maybemakes me think of that popular Carly Rae Jepsen song from last year. Perhaps it's just the word "maybe" at the end. Every time I say the title, I get "Call Me, Maybe" in my head. However, I don't think Carly Rae's song features a dog (unless dogs have miraculously learned how to use phones). Jackie, on the other hand, loves to write about dogs, as apparent from her picture.

Last year, Jami reviewed Jackie's debut novel, What the Dog Ate. Given that she's a tough critic (but we love her for it), knowing that she held this book in high esteem gives us enough confidence to believe that Rescue Me, Maybe will also be an instant hit!

Jackie Bouchard used to be trapped in the hamster wheel of corporate America, but she was lucky enough to escape and now fully understands the term "struggling writer." Jackie loves: reading, writing, and, yes, even 'rithmetic (seriously, algebra rocks); professional cycling; margaritas; blogging (she never thought she'd say that, but she does and here's proof); dogs in general, and her crazy rescue pup specifically; and her hubby. (Not in that order.) Jackie dislikes: rude people and writing about herself in the third person. After living in Southern California, then Bermuda, then Canada, then the East coast, Jackie and her husband settled in San Diego. American Jackie, her Canadian hubby, and her Mexican rescue mutt form their own happy little United Nations. (Adapted from Jackie's bio on her website.)

You can connect with Jackie on Facebook and Twitter. Don't worry, she won't bite...or bark, for that matter! She's here to answer some of our most pressing questions and has TWO copies of Rescue Me, Maybe to share with some lucky readers (e-book is worldwide and print version is US/Canada only).

What did you learn from writing What the Dog Ate and were you able to apply that knowledge to Rescue Me, Maybe?
I learned that, for me anyway, middles are hard, but you have to persevere. I'm not one who plots out my stories ahead of time. I get an idea for the incident that sets the story in motion (e.g. in What the Dog Ate, what would happen if the vet surgically extracted a pair of panties from your dog that weren't yours...), and start running with it. I usually know how I want the story to end, but I don't know how to get from A to B. So, I start flailing my way toward that point B. Sometimes I go off on a tangent for a while and have to reel the story back in. I end up deleting a lot of scenes! I can get bogged down and discouraged while deep in the thick of the middle of the story, but I've learned I just have to keep plugging away. And, usually, the characters do or say something that I didn't know was going to happen, and that's the best part of all! It's fun to see what's going to happen, just as the reader does.

What is the easiest thing about writing a dog as a character? Most challenging?
The easiest thing for me is that I've been around a lot of dogs. I've had my own dogs, my family members mostly have dogs, I volunteer at a shelter, and I've read a lot of non-fiction books about dogs. I wouldn't say I'm an expert on them, but I probably understand them better than I understand most people. They wear their hearts on their sleeves... er, if they had sleeves... and don't have hidden agendas.

The most challenging thing is making their different personalities really come across, which is hard when you have a character that doesn't express him/herself through words. (Some books, including some big best sellers, do have dogs that "talk" or even narrate the entire story, but so far I've only written from the point of view of a two-legged, human main character who can only guess at what her dog thinks. Maybe one of these days I'll write a story with a dog that speaks!)

What is the best or most memorable feedback you received for your writing?
The best and most memorable feedback I got was from a reviewer on Amazon who said What the Dog Ate brought her back to her love of books! I'm not an overly sentimental type but her review made me teary-eyed. She wrote: "After quitting smoking, I no longer sat on the patio devouring novel after novel. At that time I was reading probably five to six books weekly. (I would read while doing everything, makeup, cooking, walking...) When my husband died, I stopped reading books altogether...reading only magazines, specific pet journals and the Readers Digest. When someone suggested What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard, I figured it would probably just be another novel I purchased then gave away. I have DEVOURED this book, laughing out loud, turning pages as fast as I could speed through Maggie's story and the best thing of all, I was PISSED when the story ended....looking vainly through the couple of blank pages after the last "." thinking maybe, just maybe there was another chapter hidden away (in very very small print). I cannot tell you what a joy it was not only to read a book again, but to read one that was so delightful and had characters you liked and believed in...."

My goal when I wrote the book was simply to make the reader forget her/the world's troubles for a little while. So, to have someone say it helped her return to her love of books was a huge thrill for me!

If you could choose one of your books to be turned into a movie, which would you pick and who would you cast in the lead roles?
Well, I can't say why I wouldn't choose Rescue Me, Maybe without giving away a spoiler (that book would be pretty much impossible to make into a movie), so I have to pick What the Dog Ate. But that's the easier answer for me anyway because I had specific people in mind while I was working on the book, whereas for Rescue Me, Maybe I never pictured any particular actors.

The main character, Maggie, is 41 and a redhead so I always pictured Debra Messing in that role. For Maggie’s best friend, Helen, I pictured Holly Hunter from day one, but with a silky, blonde bob haircut. Helen is in her early 50s and in killer shape, just like Ms. Hunter. I could totally see someone like Mark Ruffalo playing Maggie's husband, Dave. For Brian, the younger guy Maggie starts dating, I could see Ryan McPartlin, “Captain Awesome” of Chuck fame. Brian looks older than he is, so I think Ryan (who's in his late 30s) could pull off playing 30-year-old Brian, but they might have to age him a little with some premature gray streaks. For Maggie's hot, new cycling buddy, Russell, I think Bradley Cooper would be perfect. (I get to be on set while this is filming, right?!)

And the cherry on top would be Betty White to play Maggie's spunky grandma!

Now that October is here, what is your favorite thing about autumn?
Autumn is my favorite season! There are so many things I love about it (the cooler weather, the colors, the holidays, anything pumpkin-related) that narrowing it down to one is hard. But since I live in San Diego, we only get a little of that lovely leaf-changing color, and we don't necessarily get cooler weather. Sometimes we get nasty, hot, dry "fire weather" in the fall. So, I guess my favorite thing (since the colors and the cool weather are not guaranteed) is the fact that fall means my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is coming soon! I can really get behind a holiday that's almost all about the food!

Tell us about a favorite childhood memory or something that makes you nostalgic.
I am the youngest of six kids and my family generally has a lot of fun when we get together. We all live pretty close, so now at Christmas we all get together for a meal (usually Christmas Eve dinner), and then everyone goes back to their own homes that night. But when I was little, I have really fond memories of my whole family being at our house, or even when we were all older and my parents had retired to Arizona, we'd all drive over there to stay for a few days and the house would be packed. On Christmas Eve, we'd always have this fabulous seafood chowder for dinner and then exchange our "sock presents", as we like to call stocking stuffers. On Christmas morning when we were little, "Santa" would have come while we slept and left a small pile of unopened presents. Then we'd have a huge breakfast and open the rest of our presents. We'd spend the day pigging out, playing cards, and visiting each others' piles of gifts to see what everyone got.

What is the last thing that you had a really good laugh about?
Oh, gosh, I love to laugh and usually laugh every day, mostly at funny things our dog, Rita, does. But there is one thing that stands out... and I hope this doesn't sound bad, but... when I was at the shelter where I volunteer on Monday, I was out in the field playing fetch with this Chihuahua-mix. This dog loves to fetch so I was throwing all kinds of things for him - a ball, a rope toy, this little stuffed donut-shaped thing. Well, at one point, he picked up the stuffed donut in such a way that his snout was through the hole, and the toy was over his eyes. I was calling for him to bring it, but he was running blind so he veered off and ran right into a nearby post! It just looked so darn funny - like something out of a slap-stick comedy movie. He practically bounced backwards! Then he dropped the toy and shook it off. He was fine - honest! He wasn't hurt at all, since the stuffed toy took the brunt of the hit - but I was doubled over laughing. I was all by myself in the field, so I imagine people thought I was a little crazy. (Really... that sounds bad, doesn't it? "Oh, yeah, claims to be this big dog-lover, but then she laughs at a little homeless dog!" I swear he was fine!)

Since you and your dog enjoy reading together, what is your dog's favorite book?
Well, of course Rita devoured What the Dog Ate and she (almost literally) tore through Rescue Me, Maybe (**open-mouthed smile**), but I'd say her favorite book is... wow, this is tough. So many good ones. She has a bit of a crush on Enzo, the narrator from The Art of Racing in the Rain; and she loves The Gift of Nothing, by Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the Mutts comic strip; and Good Dog, Carl is one she can read by herself, since it's all pictures. But her favorite, since we were talking about nostalgia before, is How Fletcher Was Hatched. It's a book I still have from when I was a kid that tells a cute story about a farm hound and his girl. Rita loves the moral of the story which is about being loved for who you are!

~Introduction and interview by Melissa Amster

Thanks to Jackie for visiting with us and sharing her book with our readers. 

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Print version: US/Canada only
E-book: Worldwide
Giveaway ends October 8th at midnight EST.

14 comments:

Janine said...

My favorite memory of fall was always walking in the woods and crunching as many leaves as possible.

Nova said...

My favorite fall memory of fall is of building a small bonfire & roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Sometimes my brothers would have soaked cat tails in kerosene and we could light them up for a torch!
sparkle40175 AT hotmail DOT com

Taryn said...

Great interview, Jackie! Always fun to learn a little more about you! I loved both of your books and don't think I could pick a favorite if I had to :-) Both were wonderful!

Jessica said...

I used to go to the mountains in the fall. I enjoyed that a lot. =]

Thanks!
-Jessica M
walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

lennyg said...

Playing in leaf piles with my dog

Amy Casey said...

Football Friday night, being in the band, the cool air, the cheering and yelling, the fun times with friends!

bn100 said...

carving pumpkins

Mary Preston said...

Travelling by car with family to visit an older sister. The countryside looked like it was on fire with all the stunning foliage.

Melanie Backus said...

Now that I have been married for thirty eight years, I would say that my favorite memory of fall in my youth was when I got married. October 24 th was a great day!

Jan said...

We love curling up on the couch and watching fall sports, football and playoffs.

Ann Cluck said...

Burning leaves in the backyard. Loved the smell mixed in with the cool crisp fall air.

Donna said...

Loved the interview. I don't really have a favorite specific memory of fall from my childhood, but I did love hiking with my family in the mountains while the leaves were changing. :-)

rubynreba said...

Raking leaves and jumping in them!

GizmoGeodog said...

High School football games were always fun