Thanks for joining us for the last installment of my visit with Gina Farago, author of the new and noted werewolf novel, Ivy Cole and the Moon. If you’re just joining us you may want to skip back to Day 1 and read the series from the start.
When we left last time, Gina had just explained how her new found understanding of wolves had made her a better pack leader and Sadie, her Malinois, a better citizen.
JW: You’re telling me about Sadie becoming a good citizen, how did that information feed back into the book?
GF: Because Ivy is a dog trainer, things like that were very important to know. Ivy has complete control of her pack. They are extraordinarily respectful of Ivy and she does teach classes in her community. She teaches other people how to bond with their animals and how to be good leaders as well. It was really fun to write a werewolf character as a dog trainer because then I get to put a few of these principles into my book as well.
JW: Anything else you would want to say to folks about Ivy Cole or dogs and how they’ve affected your life?
GF: I would say dogs have saved me in more ways than one. In any hard time in my life I’ve always had a dog to fall back on. That has always given me a lot of security to go and have my dog and know that he loves me would make me feel better. That was the enjoyment in writing this book because I got to just surround myself with all these dogs that I loved and it was a very familiar, comfortable place for me to be in. Even with Ivy’s character as a werewolf, that is a candid creature. That is a dog creature. I was just very comfortable being in that environment. It made me feel warm to be in this kind of setting.
JW: Warm, tell me about that.
GF: Just familiar. They say writers need to write what they know and what I know are the Blue Ridge Mountains. That’s where I spent my childhood and my characters have that very well, if you couldn’t tell I’m Southern and I am Southern Appalachian so my accent is probably even more than most southerners you meet so all my characters have kind of that quirky Appalachian nature. I write about the dogs because I grew up with dogs. I am a dog massage therapist. They have been a huge part of my entire life. So that’s very familiar. Strong woman character, very independent. I think of myself as a very independent lady. Certainly my mother and my sister were big influences, very independent. I write about what I know and that’s a very comfortable place for me to be. I’m not having to make up things that I know nothing about.
JW: There’s a lot of security knowing dogs are there. Talk about that.
GF: We have our family and we have our friends and we love them all so deeply but there are times when we may be odds with family or friends. The only place you can turn to is your dog. I may be mad at my dog but it lasts five minutes. Hes always there. Hes always there when I need him. He always makes me feel better.
JW: How is that different for dog people because they do have dogs?
GF: I think the people who don’t have dogs or don’t appreciate dogs are really missing out. I hope that readers of my story that have never got it, might read this and get it a little bit. One of the neat things is I worked with Sheriff B.J. Barnes of Guilford County when I was doing the law enforcement research for my story. I was talking to him about dogs. Now he is a huge dog advocate. He has been instrumental in helping the Humane Society in the county. Loves dogs. Heart as big as Texas. But he told me it was not always that way. Before he got dogs he would meet dog people that were he thought loopy about dogs. He said, Gina, I just didn’t get it. I thought its just a dog. What is wrong with these people?” And then he got a dog and he fell completely in love with her and she got sick. And she had to be put down. And this man who is six foot seven, about three hundred pounds and the sheriff of Guilford County is sitting there misty-eyed, trying to tell me about losing this dog. He said his heart was absolutely broken. So this is someone who had never been a dog person but once he actually got an animal it completely changed him. And now hes just one of the biggest dog advocates I’ve ever met.
JW: For people who have friends who aren’t dog people, what would you say about Ivy Cole and the Moon?
FG: I would say you can enjoy the story anyway. You don’t have to be a dog lover to enjoy my story. There are a lot of elements there for everybody but I hope people that aren’t dog lovers can read it and walk away to rethink it. I didn’t know dogs could be so noble and so special.”
Thank you Gina for writing a story that can teach as well as entertain! I know this book is in my short list of books to read!