Hi Pat. Can I start by asking you why you wrote this book?
I didn’t actually intend to write a book at all. Originally I kept a journal because I felt that adopting Bruna was so important to me that it might be interesting in years to come for my children and grandchildren to read. As I wrote I felt my journal start to change into something more shaped and substantial - I was kind of surprised to realise that I had written my first book.
What were the challenges of writing your first book?
Because it’s autobiographical I didn’t have the writer’s block that fiction writers sometimes have but there were other issues to think about. I had to decide which parts of my life with Bruna to select and which bits of my own life story to weave into the book. I had to keep revaluating what would be interesting to other people. What Bruna eats for breakfast isn’t going to be vitally exciting to anyone except Bruna of course! I also had to check with family and friends that they were happy to be included. There’s also the matter of truth telling and not making something more or less than it really is. I didn’t want to be sentimental or smug.
Did the process surprise you in any way?
Yes it did – a lot more than I expected. Seeing your own experiences and emotions taking shape on a page, makes them real in a different way somehow. I found myself looking at parts of my life almost as if I was an observer. It felt strange but it also made me really reflective. Of course Bruna was physically never far away from me as I wrote. The process was a partnership in so many ways and she was at the root of it all. My writing brought her and me even closer together. We have so much shared experience now and I feel she has been instrumental in pushing my life in a new direction.
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process?
Probably it is the same for me as any writer. I think it’s about writing with integrity, about choosing the right words and shaping them into something that is your best effort, something that’s going to draw the reader into sharing and enjoying what you have created. If I’ve managed to do that I will be incredibly happy.
What are you working on at the moment?
Well, I am mixing autobiography and fiction in a collection of short stories for children. It’s a completely new challenge but I want to build on some elements of the story of Bruna and me and the many animals who have been a part of my life. I’m excited to see how it all develops.
Thank you Pat. I’m looking forward to seeing you at your book signing at Cover to Cover in Mumbles on Saturday January 25th.
To find out more about Soi Dog go to www.soidog.org. To order a book directly, go to https://soi-dog-foundation.myshopify.com Or come to Cover to Cover Book shop on January 25th. Outlets on Gower such as Llanmadoc Community Shop and Herons Way Garage, Llanridian and The Heritage Centre, Parkmill also stock it. Thank you for taking the time to pop in. Please call again.