Author Interview: Jackie Bouchard
|September 1, 2013||Posted by amkuska under General|
Jackie Bouchard is the author of “What the Dog Ate” and “Rescue me, Maybe.” She kindly agreed to an interview for Rocco’s House! Yay!
1. When did you first start writing?
I wrote some really bad poetry as a kid. As a teen I wrote more bad poetry. (Hopefully it’s all been burned.) Then once, as an adult, I got the crazy idea to enter a Christmas-themed short story contest, but I just sat and stared at a blank page until the feeling passed. It took about 15 minutes.
I really started writing in 2006. The hubs was working a lot of hours and I needed something to do at night to entertain myself. I could have hung out in bars, but I decided a writing class sounded more my speed. I got pretty hooked on it, and then the hubs would sometimes comes home from work to find me feverishly writing away.
2. What made you decide to write romance?
Actually, I have a hard time knowing what to call my writing. It’s not technically “romance” (especially my new book) since romance readers expect books to follow certain rules/conventions. I wouldn’t really call my books “chick lit” either, since I think the heroines in those books tend to be younger than my main characters. “Women’s fiction” isn’t quite right either, since those books can often be somewhat heavy. I usually call my books “light women’s fiction.”
Whatever they’re called, I want my stories to make folks smile and forget their own/the world’s troubles while they’re reading.
3. It’s really refreshing and original that you’re writing romances that include dogs. What made you decide on that angle?
I didn’t really decide to – it just happened that way. For my first book, I thought it would be fun to write a story about “women’s best friend.” Then I started writing another book that had a dog in it, but the dog wasn’t a huge character. I put that book aside when my own dog passed away, and I started working on the story that ended up being my new book, Rescue Me, Maybe. Writing about how the main character, Jane, dealt with her grief at losing her fictional dog helped me deal with my own grief, so obviously that ended up being a very dog-ified book as well.
Now I’ll go back to that book I started before, and I have some ideas about how to make the dog a bigger character. I have an idea/some notes going for a fourth book as well which is about a woman who owns a high-end doggy boutique and also volunteers at a shelter, so that one will be VERY doggy. That book will be so dogified it will probably shed.
So, I didn’t really decide to go with that angle, but that’s just kind of the way things are started working out and I’m running with it. After all, they say to “write what you know,” and since I’m a dog-mom, that’s what I know!
4. In “What the Dog Ate” Kona is a pretty…um…dynamic doggie. Was there any inspiration from real life doggies?
The idea that the book would start with a dog eating a pair of panties that didn’t belong to his momma (this is not a spoiler since it’s the first line of the book!) came from an episode of Emergency Vet on Animal Planet. My sister used to love that show (I only watched it once, and it made me cry so much I couldn’t eat my pizza we were trying to enjoy while watching). Anyway, she told me about this episode where they pulled something like 7 or 8 toys out of this big dog’s stomach. I started wondering, “Hmm. What if they pulled something that was evidence out of a dog’s stomach?” That was the initial “real life” dog behind the story.
I needed a dog breed to “play” Kona that would have a wide definition of what’s edible. Our beagle, Bailey, that we had at the time had a huge appetite, but she would never eat anything that wasn’t actual food. I knew I had to go with a Lab!
Some of Kona’s traits and quirks are definitely based on Bailey, though. For example, the way he takes over the bed when he sleeps with his mom, or the way his mom has to spell certain words in front of him.
5. Any hints on what “Rescue Me, Maybe” is going to be about?
Here’s what I wrote for the Amazon blurb/back of the book:
If you lost both your husband and your dog to cancer within weeks of each other, but you were sadder about the dog, would you tell anyone? Maybe your closest friends. Unfortunately, Jane Bailey’s closest friends are on the other side of the country. That’s where Jane plans to go now that she’s free to leave Philadelphia, the too cold, beachless, street taco-deficient city her husband dragged her to six years ago. But with no job prospects back in her hometown of San Diego, Jane is roped into helping out temporarily at her uncle’s southwestern small-town B&B. En route to her new role as innkeeper and breakfast chef, she finds a stray at a rest stop. With her heart in pieces from the loss of her dog, she’s determined not to let this mutt worm its way into her affections. She’s also determined to have next-to-no interaction with the B&B’s irritating guests, and the even more annoying handyman who lives next door. Can Jane keep her sanity—and her secret that she’s not really a grieving widow—while trying to achieve her dream of getting back to the place she thinks is home?
The dogs in Rescue Me, Maybe are definitely based on real life doggies – the dog that Jane has lost to cancer at the beginning of the book is a beagle named Barnum. He’s very much based on our beagle, Bailey. And Maybe, the mutt that Jane rescues, is a fictionalized version of on our last dog, Abby.
6. Did you have any particular writing mentor for these books?
No, not really any one mentor, but we do have some great options for writing classes here in San Diego. What the Dog Ate started out as a short story I wrote for a class I took at UCSD Extension, which is their night school. Some pivotal scenes I wrote for both books came out of two different classes I took with Judy Reeves – a great writer/instructor – through San Diego Writer’s Ink. SDWI is a local non-profit writing group here in town that offers all kinds of classes, meet-ups and support of authors.
7. Tell us something fun about yourself!
Hmmm. I’m so boring… Something fun… Let’s see… How about: I owe my marriage to math! If I hadn’t liked math and become an accountant, I never would have moved to Bermuda, where I met my hubs the second day I moved to the island. I knew he would be cute before I even met him. My best friend had already moved there a few months before me (we all worked at the same accounting firm), and she filled me in on all the cute boys at the office. (Heck, it’s why I moved there!) Since the men wore Bermuda shorts to the office (with dress shirts, ties, and knee socks – no lie!) she also was also able to give me a heads up on what nice legs he had! She was ri