Thank you for your patience in this fantastic interview with Alison Pace, author of the new novel PUG HILL! Alison’s website is here.
Cute cover huh?
By the way, I hope my readers, and Alison, will forgive any funky formatting today. Alison and most of you guys know that I am on dialup (that’s thanks to Earthlink… bad, bad Earthlink… *cue Psycho shower scene music*) and just posting one entry takes forever… let alone the continual blog editing I tend to do! Take it away, Ms. Pace!
Alison Pace is the author of the novels If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend and Pug Hill, and is a contributing editor at The Bark magazine.
While she doesn't actually own a pug, she has had twelve dogs over her lifetime, including: a St. Bernard, an English mastiff, a Scottish terrier, a Corgi, and three Chinese shar-peis. She lives in New York City where she is at work on her next book.
To get into the most elite spot of Manhattan’s Central Park, there are
a few stiff requirements: you must have short legs, a round tummy, a
pig nose, and walk on all fours—or at least know someone who does! Pug
Hill is a place for pugs and pug-lovers alike to bask in the
camaraderie that comes from owning (or dreaming of owning) one of the
world’s most cherished and irresistible dogs.
Author Alison Pace has been to Pug Hill and she knows first-hand the
joy and stress-relief that these tiny pooches offer. Now, the author
of the hilarious If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend introduces readers to
the congregants of Pug Hill in a novel that’s as full of love, humor,
and heartwarmingly-awkward moments as the adorable dogs themselves—PUG
HILL (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; $14.00; May 2, 2006).
Pug Hill is all at once touching, witty, and so very smart. I love
this nervous and self-deprecating narrator who makes low self-esteem
not only funny and endearing but enviable. There’s a terrific comedic
eye at work here and a tender heart—a most satisfying combination.
- Elinor Lipman, author of The Inn At Lake Devine and My Latest
Alison Pace isn't afraid to tackle serious subjects, even as she
delivers a wry and witty portrait of a woman growing up and growing
into herself at long last. The aptly named Hope has such charm and
self-deprecating humor, I felt that she could be a friend of mine.
- Joshilyn Jackson, author of gods in Alabama
To paraphrase Woody Allen, love is too weak a word to describe how I
feel about this novel. I lurve it. I loove it!
- Melissa Senate, author of See Jane Date and The Breakup Club
A delightful romp! Alison Pace's dry and breezy wit make this a
delightful, funny read for pugs and humans alike. If Bridget Jones kept
a must-read book list in her diary, Pug Hill would most certainly be
at the top.
-Wilson the Pug with Nancy Levine, authors of The Tao of Pug
MO'C: How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how
the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.
AP: I knew I wanted to write about someone whose life had been
greatly affected by dogs and who was going to spend a fair amount of
time reflecting on them. The present-day part of the story, the
public speaking class, started as a glimmer when my first novel came
out and I was contemplating my own unease with public speaking as I
got ready to give readings.
MO'C: Comedy is often the most difficult literary tool to use well.
What are some tips that you might have for authors? What's the source
of your own humor?
AP: I think with comedy, there is a part to it, that you are either
funny or you're not. And not funny is fine, there's lots of other
things to be good at. I think though what's most important is to not
try to be funny. I wish it did, but it doesn't work. I think my best
advice is just to be yourself as a writer and see what happens from
MO'C: What's the best dog for a stay-at-home writer to have?
AP: I think a stay-at-home writer is a great job to have a dog
because you can be with your dog a lot, and I think that means so much
to your dog. A pug of course would be great. The only problem I
could see would maybe be an overly enthusiastic fetcher, like a lab?
It might be hard to type and constantly throw a tennis ball. Though
it seems to have all worked out for John Grogan, though. So, any dog,
great for a writer.
MO'C: Can you comment a bit on the human/animal bond and how it
inspired your work?
AP: I think it's such an important one. I've always had such a
kinship and love with my dogs. I think dogs can teach us a lot about
the world, and, as odd as it may sound, about being good people. That
idea inspired me a lot as I was writing a character who couldn't
really deal with her life and looked up to dogs in a way.
MO'C: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
AP: Just keep writing, write as much as you can, and make sure you
really love it, because, unfortunately for all of us, it doesn't get
MO'C: What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting
AP: Oh, I think it's just a matter of trying to calm down enough and
disconnect from the internet and the world enough to spend some time
each day working in the world you are trying to create. Since I work
in my home, it's important for me to get out a bit in the morning,
whether it's to a yoga class or to the post office, just so I can
leave the home, and return to the workplace, That separation is
something I've found to be quite helpful.
MO'C: What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most
AP: Most exciting is holding the finished book in your hands for the
first time. Most frustrating is, for me, being a control freak and
realizing how much control must be relinquished along the way. That's
not to say I don't work with the most amazing people in publishing,
because I think I do, it's just hard to let go.
MO'C: Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not,
what else is in the works?
AP: I don't plan on writing a sequel to Pug Hill, no. I think Hope,
the main character, really got to where she needed to go, and that's
the fun part for me. I'm not sure I would really know how to write a
book about someone who has already found her happy ending. My
favorite part is getting them there. I've started a new story. It's
called Through Thick And Thin, about two sisters who have grown apart
and try to find a common bind through dieting. And if you might be
wondering, yes, there's a big role for a dog in it.
Buy Alison’s book here. You can also buy it at other places, especially your local indy but you know what? It takes too freaking long to make all these links on dialup!
Thank you so much, Alison!