I recently happened to come across another great dog book, “Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” by Sally Cronin and approached the author to come on the blog. Find my interview with her below. Here is a short review.
The book this wonderful story of a dog and his life with the author’s family, told from the dog’s perspective. It doesn’t get cuter than that, and as triple dog owner I enjoyed every minute of it.
Cronin does a great job at getting into ‘character’ and creating this original and lovely take at what that dog’s life might have been perceived in a humanised dog-brain.
Illustrated with pictures and full of lovely anecdotes this is a beautiful piece of art that will have dog owners in stitches and tears alike. It may be difficult to get it wrong with dog books, but this one is brilliant. Enjoy!
Here is the book blurb for anotehr one of Sally’s Books that is receving attention right now:
Just An Odd Job Girl
Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.
For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.
Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.
Surprising though these events had been, nothing prepared Imogen for the realisation that she still had what it took, both in the work environment and when it came to her heart.
It was a journey into the past to rediscover who she had always been and a step forward into the future and a new adventure in life.
Welcome Sally. Please tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.
My writing is as varied as my choice in reading. I have a practical side that finds great satisfaction in researching and writing my health books and then there is the slightly wacky side that enjoys poetry, short stories and novels. I probably would find it difficult to sum myself up as a person, as like most of us, I am perceived differently by the various groups of people in my life. My family, friends, colleagues, or online contacts probably all see me in basic terms with add-ons according to the circumstances. My writing is an extension of that as most of my books have been aimed at one group or another.
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?
I was writing poetry and songs as a young teenager. Mainly because after several schools on different continents, speaking other languages, I was not particularly confident in writing prose in English. However, I have always been an avid reader from early childhood and most of those books were pinched from my father and were way above my pay grade. I bought my first book at 11 which was the first Wilbur Smith (I have every book that he has ever written). I wrote my first critique at 12 when I had read Nevil Shute’s On The Beach!
The majority of books that I read were adult rather than for children and when I got to about fifteen I began to write short stories. Most unfortunately, in very poor handwriting that was scribbled down on scraps of paper and lost to the world forever over the years.
I spent 25 years across various industries and my writing was limited to business reports and project management with a little fiction creeping in at budget time! It was only in my early 40s that I began a journal as I lost a substantive amount of weight and this later became my first book Size Matters published 15 years ago. It is now in its 5th edition as an Ebook and enjoying a new lease of life. Unfortunately obesity has only increased over the intervening years which means the book is still current.
I also have written programming and interviews for radio and Internet Television as well as being a news editor. This pushed me into something that I love, whatever the form of writing, which is research. So much easier today than when I first started back in 2003 before the Internet took off, but still a wonderful part of every aspect of my writing.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
Every author I have ever read influenced by desire to write. My husband has always been hugely supportive and he encouraged me to get my first book published. I released it originally under a pen-name and friends and family did not know anything about it until it hit the local and national press. I think my mother was a bit scandalised with my openness but eventually she got quite a kick when further books came out.
Actually I have to admit they all rather just happened. The health books were the result of my huge interest in health and nutrition and the fiction stories were rather the antidote to the more serious work I was producing. Media training and my current book a People Management Programme are related to the training that I have been involved in most of my career and offer as a freelance provider now.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
As I have mentioned, the first book was Size Matters especially when you weigh 330lbs. A memoir really about my journey into and out of obesity. When I was studying nutrition I took a side order in human anatomy and health. I devoured medical books and decided to combine the two subjects in a monthly newsletter called Just Food For Health. I wrote 25,000 words a month on all aspects of health and nutrition for humans and pets. I had cooked for several years in a professional capacity and this also entered into the equation. Two years later this became the second book of the same name which I used as a reference book for my nutritional clients over the years.
The third book which is a romance, Just An Odd Job Girl, was inspired by rather a lot of Rioja at a dinner party back in 2003, when one of our guests found my stories working as a temp funny and suggested I write them all down. I would be delighted to see that get another go around now that it is in Ebook format so that is the cover I have chosen today.
Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot which is a men’s health book was the result in the increase in male clients who began to come and see me for various issues apart from weight. Many were going to their GP’s and coming away with prescriptions and in my experience men are not really into taking these for life. It made sense to write a book specifically related to men’s health issues but also to include those who love and cook for them.. It takes team work to regain health and everybody needs to be on board.
Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story was inspired by our collie who was such a huge character and part of our lives when we began working from home that I just sat down with all his photographs and told his story from his perspective.
I have already mentioned the Media Training Manual which was a result of my days in print advertising and broadcast media as well as an author. Having been both sides of the great divide my aim was to bridge that gap with some straightforward strategies to get work noticed locally and on a national level.
Turning Back the Clock was based on a series of radio programmes that I presented back in 2004 and it is looking at taking ten years off your current age, mentally, physically and emotionally. It is the prequel to the next book due by the end of the year which is a guide to remaining in your own home through the elderly years from a nutritional and practical perspective. Aimed not just at those over 70 but as a guide for their families too. This was inspired not just by my nutritional and counselling work over the last 18 years but on my experience caring for my mother at home for six years until she died at 95.
That just leaves Flights of Fancy which is my short story collection. It also contains the novella The Sewing Circle and brings together fantasy, ghosts, furry friends, a little old fashioned justice and talkative parrots.
What is your life like outside of writing?
We live in the mountains of Madrid and have done for the last 16 years apart from the time I lived with my mother in the UK. I managed to work during that time until the last two years and it was a great inspiration for a lot of what I write about today. I blog daily as well as enjoy the various interactions on social media and I am outside as much as possible whenever the sun is out.
People assume often that if you live in Spain that it is coastal and warm but in fact we are at 900 metres and only 30 minutes from the ski slopes. In the winter our nights can drop to minus 10 degrees although being Alpine we have stunning cold but sunny days when you can burn.
Apart from walking, I swim daily from June to October and rather neglect my writing. We have some wonderful friends locally from all over Europe including Italy and Russia as well as Spain of course. We entertain frequently and I love cooking for lots of people especially when it ends up with dancing into the night.
What makes you laugh?
I actually wanted to be an actress, singer and stand-up comic when I was in my teens. I have done some of all of that over the years but there are times when I do hanker for a good old fashioned comedy spot. I love Mrs Brown’s Boys with its ribald and in your face humour (my husband is Irish and I have a fair bit of the green stuff in my veins too). I am not keen on really crude humour but love people like Billy Connolly when he is in full flow on his observations about life and people. Dawn French, Julie Walters and Joanne Lumley are definitely up there. Who knows when we return to the UK in the next year or so I might get myself a job as a red coat at Butlins or similar. You are never too old for humour.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Tough question. I like a table that has enough in common to be happy in each other’s company and individual enough to stand out and entertain. In Ireland there is a tradition that guests around the dinner table should all stand up and do a party piece and it is something we have introduced here.
This means that I would ask Billy Crystal (loved his Oscar presentations), Ella Fitzgerald (wonderful voice and I assume I can have past and present), Wilbur Smith (his early books were mind blowing and he can still turn out a great book) Eric Morecombe (my father loved him and looked a little like him) Cole Porter (so that Ella could perform some of his work) and Michael Parkinson as I think he would get the best out of everyone.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
Since I have chosen Just an Odd Job Girl as my featured book and it is based in the 60s onwards, a song that I loved from 1969, ‘Where do you go to my lovely’ by Peter Sarstedt.
What are you working on now?
The People Management Programme which I wrote 30 years ago and adapted for every company I have worked for since is in final edit and should be released in the next month. The book on elderly care will be ready by the end of the year. Our visitor in the last week, who is a superb guitarist, has re-strung my own neglected instrument and I am going to start playing again after 25 years. I want to write more songs even if it is only for my own pleasure. I suspect that after all this time it might not bring pleasure to anyone else!
Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?
I write books that I hope are interesting or amusing for others. I love to talk and writing is an extension of that and if people buy the books and enjoy them that is a huge joy for me. Blogging is the instant gratification part of the writing process and I get a huge kick out of people’s comments. I intend to slide disgracefully through the pearly gates with a laptop under one arm and a glass of Rioja in the other. Hopefully when I am about 120 and I promise to send back reports.
Links to all my books in print and Ebook
Publishing Site – http://www.moyhill.com/jaojg/author.html
Twitter – Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
LinkedIn – http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
All books available in print and E-versions