Last month Allie Larkin, a blogger I’d been following since her days as a solo green blogger on Allie’s Green Answers (now a group blog called The Greenists) reached out to me about doing a blog tour promoting her new book, Stay. I was truly honored that she wanted to do a stop here because I really don’t think many people read my blog except my friends in Baltimore!
She sent me a copy of the book and I couldn’t put it down. I’m not a huge fiction reader, however, I love a good book that includes a dog as a main character! And this book did not disappoint.
Savannah “Van” Leone has loved Peter since the day they met. The problem is, Peter has loved Van’s best friend, Janie, since the moment they met. And now they’re walking down the aisle, with Van standing nearby in a Halloween orange bridesmaid dress, her smile as hollow as a jack-o-lantern. After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin-Tin-Tin, and does what any woman in her situation would do: She buys a German Shepherd over the internet.
The pocket-sized puppy Van is expecting turns out to be a clumsy, hundred-pound beast that only responds to Slovakian. Van is at the end of her rope—until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only living being who will always be loyal to her, no matter what. And thus begins a friendship that will alter Van’s life in ways she never imagined.
Joe leads Van to Dr. Alex Brandt, a rugged vet with floppy blond hair and winning smile. But just as things are starting to heat up, the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, forcing Van to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to have everything she ever wanted. Warm and witty, poignant and funny, Stay marks the arrival of an irresistible new voice.
If you’re interested, you can read an excerpt here.
Allie was nice enough to answer some of my journalistic hard-hitting questions…
Being a long-time follower of The Greenists (actually – I remember when it was Allie’s Green Answers!) – I have to say I was a little surprised that you didn’t write a book about being green. What inspired you to write the story of “Stay”?
I’ve been writing fiction since college (and STAY actually started as a writing exercise in one of my classes). But I’ve been a nature lover and been concerned with the environment for a very long time. There are already a lot of great books on going green out there. I’m not saying I’d never be interested in writing a green book, but I feel like blogging is a great forum for all things green, because we can create a discussion, and share ideas on a daily basis. I especially loved transitioning Allie’s Answers to a group blog when Courtney and I started TheGreenists.com. It’s exciting to see how other bloggers approach going green and discussing what they’ve learned.
A lot of bloggers these days seem to want to get published. Can you share some advice to bloggers that are looking to publish something?
You hear stories all the time of bloggers getting discovered and getting book deals. I don’t think that happens all that often. If you want to be published, most likely, you’ll need to submit work. Learn about the process, and have a strong, polished, finished manuscript to submit. I found websites like AgentQuery.com and blogs like Galley Cat to be indispensable resources when I was trying to figure out how to navigate the system.
While I love the story of “Van” – I think the real star of the book was Joe! As much as I love dogs, I haven’t had much exposure to German Shepherds. Is it safe to assume that a lot of Joe’s traits were inspired by your own beloved (and book cover model!) Argo? (btw – I *love* that Argo is the cover model)
Argo played a huge part in developing Joe as a character in the book, and even though I did not get drunk and order him off the internet, I got the idea for Joe from him. Our other dog, Stella had a lot to do with Joe as well. Argo is a little more mild mannered and well-behaved than Joe. We adopted Stella when she was thirteen months old, and she gave me more than enough inspiration for Joe’s incidents.
It’s apparently very hard to find stock photos of black German Shepherds, so we took over 1,000 photos of Argo, sent them along to Dutton, and Monica Benalcazar created the cover from one of them. I love that Argo is on the cover. Not only is he the inspiration, but he and Stella are great company while I’m writing.
As a lover of cheesy music from the 80s, I definitely was into your references to Boston. Are you also a closet fan of Boston?
I unabashedly love Boston, and share your love of cheesy 80’s music. If I slow danced to it in junior high school, I want to belt it out in the car at the top of my lungs. I think us cheesy music lovers should unite and stand proud!
So what’s next for you, Allie? More fiction? Are we going to find out what happens with Van and Alex?
I hope we’ll find out what’s next! I have some ideas for Van and Alex and I’d love to have the chance to loop back and spend some time with the characters from STAY again. I loved writing them, and I’m not ready to let go of them just yet.
I am working on something new right now. Like STAY, it focuses on the meaning and complexity of friendships, but the plot is very different.
Allie Larkin’s Stay was released on June 10th… Go buy a copy now!