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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Virtual Book Tour: An Interview with Hy Conrad

Today we are privileged to have a special guest--Hy Conrad.  In December, I'll be posting a review for Hy's book, "Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know".  But before I tell you how I feel about the book (hint:  it's a dog book, so that should give you some idea), I wanted to give you an opportunity to meet the man behind the masterpiece.  So, without further ado, let's get to the interview (hey, that rhymed!).


THE INTERVIEW:

DANA
Welcome, Hy. Would you please tell us a little about yourself.

HY
I began my working life as a stage actor, performing on Broadway and in national tours, among other places. One year, while working in summer stock, I came up with an idea for a play. It wound up having a short run Off-Broadway, and that began my writing career.

Today, I’m best known for my TV work. I was one of the original writers of the series “Monk” and wound up becoming the show’s Co-Executive Producer. From there I became head writer for the webisode series “Little Monk” and Consulting Producer on TV’s “White Collar.”

In the publishing world, I’ve written a dozen books of short mysteries which have been translated into over a dozen languages.

More recently, I wrote “Rally ‘Round the Corpse”, the first in my Abel Adventure mystery series. It was published a couple of months ago and is available just about everywhere.

DANA
What can you tell us about your book, “Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know”?

HY
“Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know” is a humor book, 115 essays “written” by 11 dogs who share their innermost secrets. They range from Tinkerbell, the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua to Axelrod, a yellow Lab who is puzzled by everything, from herb gardens to sofas to sprinkler systems.

The essays are short, two pages each, so each dog tells ten or eleven little stories about his life. Readers have told me they read one every night, or keep it on their coffee table to thumb through whenever the mood strikes.

DANA
As a dog owner, I have to ask this question; Do you own a dog (or dogs), and, if so, would you please tell us about them?

HY
For the past 25 years, I have had miniature Schnauzers. This dates back to the time I held a Boston Terrier up to my face and broke out in a rash. My doctor told me there were a limited number of breeds I could pick, ones that don’t shed or have dander. I chose Schnauzers and have loved them ever since.

My current pair – I always have two – are Charlie and Nelson. For much of the year they get to live on dozens of acres in the middle of the woods. The boys love to explore and have been known to a tree bear (the more docile black bears) and bring back deer bones. I never ask where they get them. I don’t want to know.

DANA
What inspired you to write this book?

HY
One night I happened to see a TV infomercial. It could have been “Things The Banks Don’t Want You to Know.” Or “Things The Government Doesn’t Want You to Know.” At some point, I said to myself, “Sure, how about ‘Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You To Know.’” And that’s how it started; the title came first.

Like many humor books these days, this one began as a blog. I started posting on the most obvious topics: “What We Do When You’re Gone” or “Sticking My Head Out The Car Window.”

The initial idea was to keep them generic, in a sort of Everydog persona. But I soon realized that the humor was in the specifics. It was funnier if the dog had a real personality, and even funnier if we invented a variety of “dog bloggers” with radically different personalities.

DANA
What did you find to be the most difficult part of writing this book?

HY
I found that the tone was the trickiest part. The first essays were a little too sarcastic and didn’t have enough individual personality. Every story, I realized, has to draw you in quickly. This was a learned skill.

DANA
What are your plans and goals for the book?

HY
I don’t anticipate a movie sale, if that’s what you’re asking. But I think this could be an “evergreen” title that stays in print. I hope it can be big during the holiday season. The book was recently featured in Dog Fancy magazine as one of the perfect dog gifts for Christmas.

DANA
The essays in your book so describe the nature of dogs, and you tell each story with such humor. Do you consider yourself to have a very good sense of humor, or is it something you have to work at?

HY
I’ve always considered myself funny, but I became confident in my humor when the USA Network called me up and asked me to work on “Monk”. Suddenly I was in a room with five great comedy writers and found I could hold my own pretty well.

DANA
What projects are you currently working on?

HY
I’m always writing something. It’s my job and my only hobby. Most recently I was asked by USA and Obsidian Press to take over writing the “Monk” novels, a successful series of books based on the characters from the TV show. My friend Lee Goldberg wrote the first 15 novels, and I’ve been asked to write numbers 16 and 17.

DANA
Do you have plans for more books in the future? If so, what types of books will they be?

HY
As soon as I have a chance, I plan to finish the second novel in my Abel Adventures Mystery series, titled, “If I Die Before the Wake.” I also have an idea for a sequel to the dog book.

DANA
As a fellow author, I always like to ask this question: if you could describe the work of an author in three words, what would those words be?

HY
Alone, creating worlds. (That’s three words and a comma.)

DANA
I couldn't have put it better myself!  Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Hy.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Why do dogs eat furniture when there are endless chew toys nearby?
Why do they always dash to a rug when they have to throw up?
And why are they always absolutely starving?

Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know answers the questions that dog owners have asked for centuries. The book is a collection of 115 humorous essays that reveal the truth behind some of the most baffling canine behavior, their hopes and dreams, their grudges and pleasures, and what they really think about us humans. Peppered with lively, clever stories and visually appealing photographs, Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is a verbal and visual delight that is laugh-out-loud funny. If you have dogs, love dogs, or have ever been baffled by a dog, this book is a must-have.

Topics include:
  • My Life in Your Purse by Tinkerbell, the Chihuahua
  • Waiting by the Table (for food scraps, of course!) by Orson, the bulldog
  • The Bed Rules (Rule #1—It’s my bed) by Dimples, the boxer
  • The Reason I Ate the Sofa (leather tastes a lot like rawhide) by Axelrod, the yellow lab
  • I Can Poop the Second I Start My Walk (but choose not to) by Sophie, the cocker spaniel

Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Target, on e-books and at independent bookstores everywhere. For more information, go to www.ThingsYourDog.com where you can also ask questions about your own dog’s behavior and learn the secrets they have been keeping from you!


ABOUT THE AUTHORS: 

ABOUT HY CONRAD
Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk, working on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer. In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old. His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.

Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages. Hy’s first mystery novel series, Abel Adventures, will debut in 2012 with the publication of Rally ‘Round the Corpse. And his first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in May 2012. He lives in Key West with his partner and two miniature schnauzers. (www.hyconrad.com)

ABOUT JEFF JOHNSON 
Jeff spent most of his working life in advertising agencies, currently as General Manager of Cramer-Krasselt in New York City. He is the author of The Hourglass Solution:  A Boomer’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life and co-authors (with Paula Forman) a national online advice column called Short Answers, which also appears in newspapers all along the east coast (from Massachusetts to Florida). Jeff lives in Vermont and Key West and is on the Board of Directors of the Waterfront Playhouse and the Florida Keys SPCA.


LINKS:

WEBSITE LINK: www.ThingsYourDog.com

AUTHOR LINK: www.HyConrad.com

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2 comments:

Bk Walker said...

Thank you for hosting Jeff & Hy today :)

Dana Rongione said...

Happy to have them!