What inspired you to write your book?
I’m a certified animal behavior consultant and author of more than two-dozen nonfiction pet care books. This thriller was the opportunity to write in “dog viewpoint” and offer insight into how dogs (and cats) learn and react to the world around them–as well as edu-tain readers with a fast paced story.
About your Book:
An autism cure will kill millions unless a service dog and his trainer find a missing child . . . in 24 hours.
AN AUNT searches for her lost nephew—and dooms her sister.
A MOM gambles a miracle will cure—and not kill—her child.
A DOG finds his true purpose—when he disobeys.
Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything—husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot—and flees to Texas with her cat Macy to recover. She’s forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher’s promise to help Steven, September has 24 hours to rescue them from a devastating medical experiment impacting millions of children, a deadly secret others will kill to protect. As September races the clock, the body count swells. Shadow does his good-dog duty but can’t protect his boy. Finally September and Shadow forge a stormy partnership to rescue the missing and stop the nightmare cure. But can they also find the lost parts of themselves?
Book Genre: Thriller
What formats are your books in
How do you see writing a book in the Pet Genre as different from writing other genres of books?
The author of a pet book better darn-well LIKE pets, and also be knowledgeable about them. People who love pets are passionate about their cats and dogs, and they also know a lot and will catch errors immediately. That will lose the author credibility quicker than anything.
Pets in fiction are especially difficult, because cats and dogs do not think, act, or want the same things as humans. They are not little people in fur coats (unless you’re writing shape-shifter fantasy–that’s a whole different thing), so in order to gain suspension of disbelief needed in fiction the author must be very adept.
Advice to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a pet book
Write your passion. Write what YOU want to read. Don’t chase trends–it’ll be over by the time you’re ready to publish. Once it’s written, set the book aside for a few weeks, and then re-read and edit. Do it again. And again. Once the book is published, you have only one chance to make a good impression so don’t be in a rush to get it right. Dogs (and cats) aren’t born fully trained, there is a relationship that grows over time and the same is true for your book.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I published many best-selling nonfiction cat and dog care/behavior titles through New York publishers (Ballantine, Penguin/Putnam, Rodale Press and more), but fiction is a totally different animal (pun intended!). I had worked with Cool Gus Publishing/Who Dares Wins to bring back to life some of my out of print nonfiction books. So I approached my editor there first when my thriller was ready, and they gave my debut fiction a wonderful publishing home. I have several nonfiction books with them and now LOST AND FOUND, at www.coolguspublishing.com
Today publishing has been turned on its furry ear. Look for opportunities to work with other savvy authors in your genre. It’s difficult to go it alone, but a co-op approach to promoting each other, offering beta reads, sharing ideas about book covers and editors/publishing opportunities can be very helpful.
Connect with genre-related writer organizations. I’m a founder of the Cat Writers Association (www.catwriters.org), a member of Dog Writers Association of America (www.DWAA.org) and an active member of International Thriller Writers. I have garnered much support from the members of each of these organizations.
Amy Shojai, CABC has been reinventing herself for years. She’s a certified animal behavior consultant, and the award-winning author of 26 best selling pet books that cover furry babies to old-fogies, first aid to natural healing, and behavior/training to Chicken Soup-icity.
She is the Puppies Guide at puppies.About.com, the cat behavior expert at Kitty’s Corner Blog for Chewy.com, as well as cats.About.com, and hosts a weekly half hour Internet Pet Peeves radio show. Amy has been featured as an expert in hundreds of print venues including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle, as well as national radio and television networks such as CNN, Animal Planet’s DOGS 101 and CATS 101.
She’s been a consultant to the pet products industry and a host/program consultant for select “furry” TV projects. Amy brings her unique pet-centric viewpoint to public appearances, writer conferences keynotes/seminars and THRILLERS WITH BITE!