Welcome to Middle Grade Monday! Today I am interviewing Eric Kahn Gale, the author of The Wizard's Dog, a recent release from Random House Children's Books.
Why did you write this book?
I was raised in a dog-centric household and it really stuck. When I was bullied in school as a nine-year old, I cried to my dog about it. So I was very into dogs right from the start.
As my career as a novelist developed, I always knew a dog book was my ultimate goal, I just couldn’t find a way to get there. Where it began was a joke my wife and I had.
We were living in an apartment with our current pooch, Bowser, and he was obsessed with this door that connected our apartment to the hallway outside. I would speak as him using this little British boy voice. (Everyone talks as their dog, right?) He would speak in hushed tones about the Magic Door and the world beyond and saw me as a sort of wizard who could open the door and produce food whenever I wanted.
I just loved this silly look into a dog’s mind and wanted to play around with it. Years later, I saw the story potential of a dog who actually belonged to a wizard. Dogs see us as magical already, so how would they view fantasy-style magic?
2. Can you tell me about it in your own words?
Nosewise lives with his famous owner, the wizard Merlin. He loves when his master teaches him tricks like Sit! Stay! and Fetch! But he longs to learn the other tricks Merlin can do: Fireballs! Levitation! Invisibility!
Those are the good ones! Nosewise steals one of Merlin’s magic stones and finds it empowers him to talk and make magic, too!
That’s a good thing, because Merlin is soon kidnapped by an evil knight and it will take every trick Nosewise knows to save him!
*photo of Eric Kahn Gale
3. What is your writing process like?
Step 1- An Idea: This is a painful, agonizing and inconsistent time. Maybe it comes to me in a thunderflash like The Bully Book did, or maybe it’s based on a small joke I’ve been kicking around for years like The Wizard’s Dog.
Step 2- Outline: I talk out the rough idea of the story with some friends. I focus on developing a story arc and emotional arcs for all of the characters. Then I write a very detailed, chapter by chapter description of the novel.
Step 3- Writing: I try to get up in the morning and sit down at my computer first thing. Maybe I’ll read a little to get into the mood as I drink some coffee. I look at a chapter from the outline and write it. Then I take a break. Walk my dog, maybe a nap, look at the internet. And then I do one more afternoon writing session. In a good day of writing I get 3,000 words.
Step 4: Rewriting: I read the book, get notes from friends and editors and start the whole process over again.
God, I made it sound really easy. It is not.
4. Any advice for aspiring writers?
Get a friend who writes. There is nothing more valuable to me than my friends who care about writing and will talk out my stories with me. Invaluable.
Beyond that, check out Joseph Campbell’s theory of the Hero’s Journey. It is really useful.
5. Just for fun- favorite ice cream, favorite TV show, favorite super hero?
Cookie Dough. Community. Spiderman.
Buy It Now: