I was born in June of 01, which makes me a brilliant, quick-thinking, and creative Gemini going on ten. My parents were champions of course. My birth name was Chile Pepper, which is perfect for my apricot reddish hair, but I was named Friday, as in “His Girl.” My new parents, Lou and Jan, and my brother Nikon the German shepherd picked me up and took me camping that night. They put a leash on me for the first time, and I shrieked blue murder, earning nasty looks from passersby who thought a puppy was being killed. In the night Nicky got out of the tent and stepped on the remote control for the truck. The horn started beeping and woke up the campground at two in the morning. Was that an auspicious arrival or what?
Are you Lou Allin’s boss? I am everyone’s boss. Let’s get that straight. Sociologists have a word for me, and it’s Alpha Bitch. I knew my destiny the minute I saw the light outside my mommy’s tummy. My bro Nicky never touched a hair on me from minute one. Having a GSD as your muscle is a great idea. When Nicky spoke up with his 120 pounds, dogs listened. Now that he’s at Rainbow Bridge, I have these dippy border collies, Shogun and Zia. Zia competes in agility competitions. Big deal. Who can’t do that? Shogun’s pretty good for scaring off bears when we walk in the clear cuts on Vancouver Island.
I sleep with Lou with my own pillow. If I want to get up in the night and shake, I do. If she wakes ME from a sound sleep where I’m chasing prey, I might just growl. There are rumours about me biting when being groomed. Lies, all lies. Once she took a pair of sharp scissors to tidy up my privates and ended up sticking me. I laid fangs on her finger right to the bone. Tell me that you wouldn’t do the same. Ouch. I can still feel that nick.
Has your Mom immortalized you in any of her books? Did she show your real character or did she exaggerate it for the book’s purpose? Are you happy with her portrayal of you? Lou started writing about me when I was barely four pounds and four months old. She called me “The Hunchback of Notre Dame with a Rastafarian haircut.” When I had my Anna Karenina cape on and got onto my hind feet to make a run, I look like him, all chesty with shapely legs. I posed on the cover of Dogs in Canada in this outfit, one of many custom made clothes in my closet. I even have a purple parka with my initials and pockets for handwarmers. Lou called the book Bush Poodles are Murder. That’s because “are murder” has to be in the title. Lots of people have thought that there is a breed called bush poodles and asked her where to buy one. Humans are so dumb. Natch, I was the hero of the book. We got stuck out in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard, and it was -25 below. I’m not gonna tell you how we made it out, but I was an inspiration. The bad woman had even taken the coat from my fictional owner, Belle Palmer. But I got my hunting talents working and found a shrew. Still can’t understand why Belle didn’t want it. But the grouse she roasted tasted pretty good . The cover shows blood on my face and in the snow, but I don’t want to give any more away. In the book they called me Strudel ‘cause I was “good enough to eat.” See how silly people get about poodles?
Have you read any of Lou Allin’s books? Are they really as good as she (he) thinks they are? I’m only in one book, so I can’t be a fair judge of this because why would I read the others? She puts all her animals in her books. Freya, her first German shepherd, has five books of her own. That’s the record. Nikon has one. A Little Learning is a Murderous Thing. It’s an academic mystery, starring him as a pup. Sounds boring to me. Now, me as a pup is another matter. Shogun has one (And on the Surface Die), and another coming up (She Felt No Pain) in Lou’s new series set here on Vancouver Island. Aren’t those titles stupid? What the heck are they supposed to mean, anyway, from some poems in the 19th century? I keep asking, “Why can’t I be in this one, too? I have zillions of fans,” but she says that her publisher wants her to keep the characters separate. Every night I whisper into her ear: Return of the Bush Poodle, Return of the.... You get the idea. Hope she does. People bought my book because they thought George Bush was in it. Humans, go figure!
What does your mom (dad) do besides writing? Is she a hermit or does she actually set her foot outdoors? Lou used to teach in a college in Northern Ontario,but she retired. Now she has big responsibilities because she is a VP in the Crime Writers of Canada. She’s in charge of British Columbia and Yukon. Sometime I want to go up to Whitehorse YK to see if there are any other bush poodles. Also she takes care of membership, like finding people all over the world who want to join. She also organizes events like the Arthur Ellis Shortlist Release Event at the end of April. Arthur Ellis is the name of Canada’s last hangman. He’s an award given in six categories in crime writing. Arthur is made of wood like a puppet, and when you pull the strings, he dances like he was on the gallows. Is that weird? And people think Canadians are so polite.
Is your mom crazy about book promotion? What does she do to promote her books? Does she ask your advice at times? I taught Lou everything she knows. I went with her when she signed my book at the big Chapters bookstore in Sudbury back home. I wound around her with my leash so many times that she kept getting tangled up. This was a ploy on my part to take her mind off her own nerves. When little kids came up, I backed off big time. You never know what they are going to do. They stick out a hand and then they pounce. Not that I’ve ever bitten anybody but Lou. That wouldn’t be good for business. She always asks people if they like to read mysteries. Half the time they don’t. If she asked them if they liked dogs, she would get a better response. Maybe someday she will learn this. It’s been great talking to you! If you’d like my autograph or a lock of my hair, don’t be shy about asking.