Today we’re welcoming Elsa Watson to Basia’s Bookshelf. Elsa’s the author of Dog Days, a funny, sweet book about woman that ends up in the body of a dog (and the dog in hers) in a canine-crazed town during Woofinstock – you can check out my review below.
So, welcome, Elsa!
Thank you so much for having me on Basia’s Bookshelf! I wanted to talk about something weird that happened to me a couple of years ago—a major shift in my reading life.
I used to love dark, heavy, brooding books. I gravitated toward historicals that were full of beheadings and poisonings. I could work my way through the slowest 500-page classic, could keep a dry eye as authors killed off beloved characters or put their heroines through gruesome tortures, accidents, betrayals, and disappointments.
But suddenly, that all changed. I remember when it happened—I was standing at a huge table of books in an elementary school gymnasium, holding a paper bag. This was at the gigantic rummage sale that’s put on annually by our local Rotary Club, a sale that offers something no reader should ever miss—the chance to fill an entire paper bag with books and buy it for a dollar. And there were SO MANY BOOKS. The table I stood at was twenty feet long, and beyond it stretched another and another and another.
Given this wonderful sea of books, I should have had three bags already filled. But I didn’t. I kept picking books up and putting them down. Picking them up. Putting them down. Finally, I took a step back.
“I just want to read something fun,” I thought. “Something funny.”
Ah, something funny! That was a new idea. I like trying new things, so no sooner had I expressed this thought than the decision was made. I was going for funny. Within five minutes I had a full bag.
I went home that night with books by Nick Hornby, Jennifer Weiner, Janet Evanovich, Suzanne Selfors, and Jennifer Crusie. I tore through every one and started hunting down more. These books were light, they were fun, and they made me laugh. They were exactly what I was looking for.
That was a long time ago, and I’ve been seeking out funny books ever since. With my reading tending in a humorous direction, it wasn’t long before my writing followed suit. A couple years ago—when I couldn’t help but notice that my historical fiction ideas weren’t gaining much traction—I tried switching gears in a big way. I sat down to write a goofy dog story. In it, the heroine and the lead dog character switch bodies when they’re struck by a bolt of magical lightning, so the woman ends up trapped in a dog’s body while the dog gets to run around with thumbs and the ability to speak.
It’s silly. It’s nutty. And I loved working on it.
When what you read and what you write mirror each other, it’s like balance has been returned to the Force, like vampires and werewolves have decided to end the war and just be friends. There is peace. And there are many chuckles.
About Elsa: Pacific Northwest native Elsa Watson has always loved animals. After raising chickens and inoculating goats in the Peace Corps in West Africa, she and her husband moved to an island near Seattle where they’ve filled their lives with dogs, more chickens, and the cat they brought home from their travels. She currently works at the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, a wildlife hospital and education center. Elsa is the author of MAID MARIAN (Crown, 2004; Three Rivers Press, 2005), a re-telling of the Robin Hood legend.
Her novel DOG DAYS will be published by Tor-Forge in May 2012, followed by THE LOVE DOG in the spring of 2013. To learn more, visit www.elsawatson.net.
Author bio courtesy of Goodreads