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November 9, 2018

Blog Tour: Coop the Great by Larry Verstraete – Interview and Giveaway

 

Hello Readers!  Welcome to our Tour Stop for

Coop the Great by Larry Verstrate!

We have Larry on the blog for a quick Q&A.

Follow the rest of the tour by clicking on the banner above,
and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

 

 

 

Coop is an aging, cynical, down-and-out dachshund who faces the ultimate test when his new owner, Mike, and Mike’s grandchildren, Zach and Emma, run into trouble. Mike rescued him, but does Coop have what it takes to do the same?

Drawing strength from the stories about great dogs that Mike shares with him, Coop charts a dangerous journey to save his new family.

Coop the Great by Larry Verstraete
Publication Date: November 15, 2018
Publisher: Yellow Dog

Amazon | Chapters-Indigo | McNally Robinson | Great Plains Publications

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!

It’s my pleasure.  Thank you.

 

Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)

Coop the Great is a funny and touching story told by a cynical, down-and-out dog who questions his qualifications for greatness when he faces the ultimate test.

 

What was your inspiration for writing this book?  Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?

Gateway Trail is one of my favourite hikes when I visit Scottsdale, Arizona.  Not only is it rugged and scenic, but on any given day you are bound to encounter dogs who are out for a jaunt with their human companions. For dog-watchers like me, it’s not only entertaining, but also inspiring. If they can do it, why not me?

 

One Saturday, I spotted a dachshund at the trailhead. He was decked out in a green sweater and tethered to a young man. I’d never seen a dachshund on Gateway before, and this dog looked particularly eager to start the hike. I thought of the challenges he faced ahead – the steep climb, the many steps he would have to take with his short legs, and the sharp stones that might slice into his pads. I thought of the resilience the dog would need, the strength and determination it would take to make the climb with a body like his.

 

Later, at the midway point, I spotted the young man as he chugged up the trail. I looked for the dachshund but couldn’t see him. Had he given up? Did the young man leave him behind? When the man passed us, my questions were answered. Peering out of the man’s backpack, ears flapping with each of the young man’s steps, was the dachshund. If dogs can wear smiles, I’m sure this one did. See, he seemed to be saying, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

 

The story of a dachshund dog with a cynical edge who pits himself against challenges was born that day.

 

Tell us about the main character(s).

Coop is an elderly dachshund who has been shuttled between shelters and homes his entire life. In his words, he’s been ‘rejected’ many times.  He’s observant, curious and a deep-thinker. You might say that Coop is a bit of a philosopher.  He questions everything, especially things that are human related and he often asks big questions that don’t have easy answers.

 

Because Coop has been rejected so often, he’s developed a crusty, cynical edge.  He doesn’t trust people, not even his new owner, Mike, or Mike’s grandchildren, Zach and Emma.  He tells the story from the viewpoint of a dog who’s had a rough go of it and sees life in very different terms than most of us.

 

Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?

Quite a number.  My favourite ones involve situations where Coop puzzles over things and comes up with very different observations than most of us would make.  Here’s one from Chapter 10 where Mike, his new owner, reads a story to Coop at bedtime.

 

“You awake, Coop?”

Mike reached for the book on the night table. “Maybe we should read something.” He held the book up for me to see. “The book is called Everything Dogs. Now let’s see…”

He flipped through the pages. “Ah, here’s something that might interest you. It’s from a chapter called Special Dogs.”

He lowered the book and glanced at me. “You’re special, aren’t you, Coop?”

People have called me ‘special’ before. Not that I have humans all figured out, but usually ‘special’ meant that I was less than normal. A misfit of some kind. But the way Mike said ‘special,’ I wondered if he meant something else.

 

Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing?  If so, why?

The story deals in part with abuse.  It’s a heavy subject to tackle especially in a story that is laced with humor and is told by a dog.  It’s also aimed at the middle years & YA crowd so I had to be delicate while addressing the subject.

 

Because Coop is an observer of human life, he reports things that he hears, sees and smells – often in a deadpan and somewhat impersonal voice.  Writing from Coop’s point of view provided distance from the subject and allowed me to address abuse in a casual way rather than hitting it head on.  It took many tries to get the tone of those scenes right.

 

What sort of projects do you have going on right now.  Any new books coming out?

Right now, I am writing another middle grade novel.  It’s not told by a dog, but there’s definitely a dog as one of the primary characters.

 

It was great having you on the blog today!  We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!

Thank you so much.  I hope readers enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

 

About Larry Verstraete

Larry Verstraete (B.Sc, M.Ed.) is a Winnipeg writer and educator. A teacher for 30 years, his experience ranges from teaching university courses to teaching at the senior and middle years levels in public school. An author of books for youngsters, Larry has also written for writer’s manuals, science textbooks, and educational journals, and has conducted sessions in science and writing for youngsters and adults around the country. His writing career began as an off-shoot of his teaching one, and here is his story.....

 

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