Author Dean Koontz Shares His Dog’s Perspective in ASK ANNA

by Patrick Mahaney on December 16, 2014

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on Pet360.com as Author Dean Koontz Shares His Dog’s Perspective in ASK ANNA.

Author Dean Koontz Shares His Dog�s Perspective in ASK ANNA

When writing my Pet-Lebrity News column, I’m always eager to learn about new and interesting media projects that are a departure from the norm.

When I mean the norm, I’m referring to the literary stylings of renowned novelist Dean Koontz. If you aren’t familiar with Koontz’ work, he’s a multi-best-selling author of some of the most suspenseful novels available, such as the Odd Thomas series, WATCHERS, and PHANTOMS.

In terms of the departure from the norm, Koontz has forayed into a a topic that doesn’t provoke a high-level of reader tension in his latest book ASK ANNA.

Who’s Anna (I’m sure you’re wondering)?  Anna is Koontz’ faithful pooch, a Golden Retriever plays the canine version of “Dear Abby” in ASK ANNA role in responding to the inquiries from her fellow canines. ASK ANNA provides an insightful look into the inner-workings of minds of mongrels and pure-breed dogs alike.

Koontz was gracious enough to answer my questions for this column.

1. What motivated you to write a book that is so vastly different from your extensive repertoire of previously published novels?

Actually, I think this book is a natural fit with my other books. Some of my novels–such as FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE, LIFE EXPECTANCY, and the Odd Thomas series–incorporate a lot of comedy along with the suspense. Many of my novels also have dogs in major supporting roles. Given the chance to write a novelty book with lots of dogs and humor, I couldn’t resist any more than I could resist a superb Cabernet Sauvignon. Our first golden retriever, Trixie, published three humorous books, and I had great fun with them. A key quality of life is suspense: We never know what will happen tomorrow or an hour from now; consequently, suspense will always be part of any fiction that is true to life. Likewise, we deal with the vicissitudes of life by finding the humor in it, which means that humor will also have a place in my work.

2. Can you tell us a little about Anna (breed or mix of breeds, age, etc.) and how her “Dear Abby gene” was activated?

Anna is fully, gloriously a Golden Retriever, 8 years old. She went through 22 months of the 24-month Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) training program to become an assistance dog for a person with a severe disability. She flunked out–or, as CCI puts it in a more genteel fashion, she “experienced a career change”–when they couldn’t stop her from being distracted by birds. On a walk, if a rabbit runs across our path, Anna is not interested. But a low-flying bird or a bird sitting on a fence post will totally enchant her. In ASK ANNA, she delivers something like a Dennis Miller rant on the subject of birds. She doesn’t want to taste them. She just yearns to fly.

3. What is the most unusual piece of “Dear Anna” advice that Anna has doled out?

She thinks all dogs need to understand that the word “fixed” does not always mean “made better.”

4. Does Anna ever get asked any canine health or behavior questions? If so, is she able to answer such questions or to whom does she turn for advice on canine health and behavior?

Being a well-behaved girl, even if opinionated and scornful of most cats, Miss Anna is well qualified to give dogs advice when she feels their behavior is not appropriate, though dogs usually ask her for help in dealing with humans who do not behave properly. This is not surprising, considering that dogs in general are better behaved than people. Anna does not consider herself qualified to give advice on medical and health issues, any more than she would advise an aircraft engineer on the design of a jumbo jet.

5. What’s up next for Anna in terms of media projects and does she get any down time from her “Dear Anna” obligations to just be a dog?

Anna has no desire to be a celebrity. The only things that might be considered media projects are her essays analyzing the novels of Thomas Pynchon and her ongoing new translation of Proust’s body of work. She spends most of her time in doggy pursuits, though her theory of tennis-ball play differs from that of most dogs. In each play session, she will chase it just once, and from that point on, the game requires that I chase her in a fruitless attempt to regain that green, spherical treasure.

Thank you Dean for your willingness to participate in this interview.  Additional thanks for teaching me a new word: vicissitudes (change of circumstances or fortune).  I look forward to your and Anna’s further literary offerings.

Please help spread the news of ASK ANNA by pressing “Like” on the ASK ANNA Facebook page.

Have you read ASK ANNA or any of Koontz’ other books?  Feel free to share your views in the comments section.

Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond). Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2013) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

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