I’m sure most of you know that Jackie Bouchard recently published a new book, “Rescue Me Maybe.” If you haven’t heard of it, or read it, what are you waiting for? It’s currently on sale at Amazon!
I thought it would be fun to interview Jackie about her new book and was surprised when she asked if I’d like to read it.
Duh! Yes please!
This book caught me right from the beginning, I could really relate to Jane, the main character. There were times when I thought, that is so me. I feel exactly like that! I could feel Jane’s anger, frustration, despair and ultimately hope. I really couldn’t put it down, in fact I carried it everywhere with me. I even left my desk at lunch to read the book in my car.
Last month I sat down over coffee and donuts to interview Peggy Frezon. Delilah the little drill Sargeant that she is, has refused to give me a donut. She said, something about it ‘not helping my cause.’ Whatever that means. So, my interview with Jackie Bouchard is simply coffee.
I’m not sure what Jackie was drinking, it might have been Margaritas, (I heard she rolls like that) but regardless of what anyone is drinking, today I’m delighted to present an interview I had with Jackie Bouchard. For those who may not know Jackie (I don’t know what you’re waiting for. She’s awesome. Really!) Jackie is dog mom to sweet Rita, who she writes about on her blog Pooch Smooches.
The cover of Jackie’s new book, Rescue Me Maybe with her angel dog Abby.
First off, thanks for agreeing to this interview and congratulations on the release of your 2nd book, “Rescue Me Maybe.”
Thanks for inviting me! I just wish it was in person so I could meet you and Sampson and Delilah!
Having read, “What the Dog Ate” I expected a similar style of writing in “Rescue Me Maybe” but the writing styles are totally different. What do you attribute this to?
Huh. I find that interesting that you thought the styles seemed so different. I did expect that people might be surprised at the sad/heavier parts in “Rescue Me, Maybe,” compared to “What the Dog Ate,” which is much lighter the whole way through, but I thought they had a similar… tone, I guess is the word I want.
One big thing that might make them seem different is that “What the Dog Ate” is told in the third person, past tense, so the reader is a bit more detached from what Maggie, the main character, experiences. In “Rescue Me, Maybe,” however, it’s first person, present tense, so the reader is right there with Jane experiencing everything at the same time she does. I actually tried writing one draft of “Rescue Me, Maybe” in third person, but it just wasn’t the same. I realized all the humor was in how Jane looks at the world and reacts to it, so I switched back to first person.
Did you find yourself more emotionally invested in one book vs the other?
I was definitely way more emotionally invested in the second book – for several reasons. One was that the first book was something I did almost on a lark. I took a creative writing class for something to do at night while the hubs was working crazy hours. I wrote a short story version of “What the Dog Ate,” and the instructor said it read more like a novel and I should turn it into one. So I thought, what the heck. There were zero expectations when I wrote it. I didn’t know that I’d ultimately get an agent, or publish it, or that folks would buy it and say they enjoyed it. It was all just for fun. But with this latest book, I worried that my agent would hate it. I worried that the folks who loved “What the Dog Ate” would hate it. I worried that all five or six of my fans would be let down. But, so far, luckily most folks seem to like it even more.
The other reason it that as the book evolved, it became more and more a “love note” to our first two dogs, so I was very emotionally invested in the doggy parts of the book. There are some parts that I can’t read without crying!
And, finally, I’m emotionally invested in this one because my personality is a lot like Jane’s. I’ve thought a lot of the things that Jane thinks. If readers hate her, I’ll feel like they hate me. And that’s no fun. In fact, I just got my first negative review of Jane over on GoodReads. A woman said she thought Jane was “immature.” That made me want to stick my tongue out at her. Jane is a lot of things, but she’s not immature!! She’s not she’s not she’s not she’s not!! **picks self up off floor, post-tantrum. Dusts self off.** Sorry. Next question?
You got the idea for “What the Dog Ate” based on a TV show you saw about the strange things dogs have ingested. Where (or how) did you come up with the plot idea for Rescue Me Maybe?
I was working on a different book when our 12 year old beagle, Bailey, died. She was our first pet as a couple, and the hubs and I were both devastated. This probably sounds a little crazy, but I found the best way to deal with my grief over losing Bailey was to write about someone else losing her dog, so Jane (last name “Bailey”!) and her beagle, Barnum, were born. I didn’t really plot anything out. Just started writing about Jane and her loss of Barnum. Some of the scenes (like when Jane remembers taking Barnum to the pet cemetery, or when she goes back to pick up his ashes) are pretty much straight from what happened with Bailey. (Except the hubs was there, not my mother-in-law, and my mother-in-law isn’t mean like Jane’s!)
Jane is a woman who has lost her feelings for her husband, but due to a fatal illness, she remains with him. Being a woman deeply in love with her husband, how did this plot line evolve for you?
As you probably have guessed from reading my books/blog, I prefer humor over sad/heavy stuff, so when I was started writing about Jane and her loss of Barnum, well, that was all just plain ol’ sad. I had to come up with a twist to Jane’s story so that it wouldn’t be so sad for me, and I thought, “Hmm. What if her husband had just died too, only she was sadder about the dog?” That idea appealed to my dark sense of humor. Then I started to wonder why that would be. Why was she with him if she didn’t love him anymore? I started thinking how all that might happen, and the backstory for the novel was born. Then I started to think about what Jane wanted, now that she was free to move on, and the rest of the story started to evolve from there.
You’ve said that many women have told you that they really relate to Jane in terms of their feelings for their husbands vs their dogs. Did that surprise you?
Yes! I thought it was sort of a novel (no pun intended) angle I’d come up with, and then a lot of people started telling me they either knew women who’d been in that situation, or they felt that way themselves. I even had a friend from high school that I’d reconnected with on Facebook tell me she’d just been in almost the exact situation, except it was her cat and her husband that died. Her name is even Jane. She had been planning to divorce him; he’d dragged her across the country away from all her friends and family; then he’d gotten sick and passed away. Her beloved cat passed away right after. It was eerily close to my Jane’s story.
Anyway, I thought feeling sadder about your dead pup than your dead husband would not be something most ladies would want to readily admit to, which is why Jane tries to keep that hushed up in the book. And I assume in real life, most ladies wouldn’t go around advertising that information, but when you hear of a similar situation, it’s natural to go, “Oh, I’ve been there. I’ve felt that.”
It’s such a weird thing to make something up in your head and then have folks tell you they’ve gone through some version of it in real life. It’s actually kind of cool, I guess.
I know that Rescue Me Maybe was originally your first book, and you put it aside due to the illness of your pup, Abby. Did you find closure by writing Maybe’s story?
Actually, it was the third book that I started. I wrote “What the Dog Ate” first, and then got started on Book No. 2. When Bailey died, I put Book No. 2 aside to start what ultimately became “Rescue Me, Maybe.” It took me over 3 years to write it because of Abby getting sick, but then I started working that into the story. The book was actually started before we got Abby, but it evolved over the years into a fictionalized version of Abby’s life. The book wouldn’t be what it is if she hadn’t come into our lives and followed the path she did. I had to put the book aside for about 8 months after she died because I just couldn’t work on it. I used that time to focus on publishing and marketing “What the Dog Ate.” When I finally went back to working on the manuscript, I knew I wanted the book to be sort of an homage to her, because she had such a big impact on my life.
I hear you’re working on your next book. What can we expect in this one?
Yes, I’ve got what was Book No. 2, which will now be Book No. 3, about one-third of the way done. I’m hoping to have it out in the fall of 2014, but I better get cranking. I’m not a super-fast writer so I need to get busy if I want to make my goal! And, rest assured, there will be dog-related stuff in it. Although . . . having said that, I’ve got this idea for Book No. 4, and it keeps calling to me, so I might start on that one. If I start fresh on a new idea, it might take a little longer to get it out. We’ll see which story demands to be told!
Where can our readers find you?
They can find me at my blog: http://poochsmooches.blogspot.com
Or my website: www.jackiebouchard.com
Or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/JackieBouchardWriter
Or Twitter: @JackieBouchard
And they can find my novels on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to mention, as you already know, that I’ve pledged to donate 10% of the profits on “Rescue Me, Maybe” sales to the Morris Animal Foundation. They fund lots of great research related to dogs, cats, horses, wildlife, etc., but it’s their funding of research looking at canine cancer that I’m most excited about. Here’s hoping someday we find a cure. Cancer sucks.
I’d really like to thank Jackie, for the book and the interview. While I was provided a copy of this book free of charge, I hope you know that I would never support or endorse something that I did not believe 100% in.
The review I left at Amazon said, “I laughed, I cried, I loved this book!”
Don’t wait, go. Go now.