**UPDATED: The winner of Judi McCoy's autographed book is CAFFEY! Congratulations and email me at jaxcassidy @ gmail.com and provide details about how we can get the book to you!**

a Dogwalker Mysteries Series

Meet Ellie Engleman, psychic dog-walker ...

The newest dog-walker on Manhattan's Upper East Side has a talent—she can hear what her canine clientele is thinking. So when a dog's owner turns up dead, Ellie must bone up on her sleuthing—and perk up her ears to find a killer.


THE INTERVIEW

I've known Judi since the early days of my writing career. She was a great inspiration when I first started and was always helpful in providing information about the writing industry. Her Romantic Times workshop is amazing and she is quick to take a newbie under her wing and show them the ropes. I admit, I've read almost all her books and they're very entertaining and heartfelt. Can't wait to read her new Dogwalker series! Now let's get started ...

How tumultuous was your writing journey? What is a typical day like for you?

My journey wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I broke in when there was still a lot of room for romance writers. These days, I’m not so sure I’d have the same kind of start to my career.

My typical day begins early. My dogs have me up by 6:00 so they can go out to the dog run. After that I’m up for the rest of the day. I start writing by 8:30, take a lunch break at 1:00, and continue writing until about 5:30. When I log off, I rarely go back on for more work.

You wrote really entertaining and emotional characters in your earlier paranormal Wanted series and Goddess series for Avon. Now you’re writing the Dogwalker series which are contemporary novels. Was it a difficult transition or were you happy for the change in genres?

My agent gave me the idea of doing something different, and I was happy for the chance to expand my writing abilities. Of course, I’m very happy I decided to take her advice. Without her thoughts, I never would have found Ellie and Rudy.

Can you tell us a little bit about your first Dogwalker book HOUNDING THE PAVEMENT? How about an excerpt for it?

Hounding the Pavement is a work of love for the canines of the world. Dogs have brought so much joy into my life; it was my way of giving something back to them.

**Excerpt is for readers 18 and up**

Standing in front of the professor’s apartment, Ellie inspected the door, taped top and bottom with some kind of plastic coating. Then she put her ear to the panel.

“Exactly what are we listening for?” asked Rudy.

Jumping back, she gasped. “I’m trying to find out if that detective is still inside, so be quiet.”

“Then step aside and allow me,” the yorkiepoo ordered, a smirk gracing his canine lips.

She opened and closed her mouth.

“Superior hearing, remember?” Cocking his head, he perked his ears. A full thirty seconds passed before he said, “The place is empty. Want me to scratch off the tape so we can go inside?”

“Are you crazy?” She dragged trembling fingers through her hair. “If anyone caught us, I’d be arrested for sure. Then where would we be?”

“Don’t know about you, but I’d be home sitting on a nice cozy sofa, sound asleep.”

“That’s what you think. They’d probably put you back in the big house. Want to do time there again?”

Rudy shuddered.

“Okay, okay. But if we’re not going inside, why are we here?”
She raised a shoulder in an I-don’t-know gesture. “I just thought that maybe the police had overlooked something in their investigation. Or maybe someone with a key, say Eugene, had found Buddy, and brought him back.”

“Not in this lifetime,” Rudy said. “The jerk doesn’t have enough heart.”

Leaning a shoulder against the wall, Ellie gave the matter serious consideration. Then she decided to check the tape more thoroughly. Maybe a corner had come loose and needed to be smoothed back in place. Getting an adhesive coating to stick could be tricky, especially if someone scraped it with a foot —she ran the tip of her sneaker across the tape – or there was an inordinate amount of humidity in the air. Taking a bottle of water from her bag, she drizzled a little on the bottom of the door. Who knew what might cause the tape to come off?

Rudy growled low in his throat, and she ignored him. After a third rub with the tip of her shoe, she poured more water on the tape.

A deeper growl made her tsk. “For God’s sake be quiet. Can’t you see I’m busy here.”
“Um, Ellie—”

“Hush up and keep your comments to yourself.” She bent at the waist and ran her fingers across the covering, noting it hadn’t budged. Maybe a penknife would be sharp enough to break the seal. Before she came to a conclusion, the hairs on the nape of her neck stood on end. Peering between her ankles, she spied a pair of men’s dress shoes, large but not overly so, and worn but nicely shined.
The man cleared his throat and visions of her sitting in a dank, musty cell somewhere in the Big Apple danced in her brain. Swallowing, she rose slowly and rested her forehead on the door.

This series is actually being optioned for television, can you tell us a little bit about when this happened and if the studio has decided to film a pilot? Will you or do you have any say in the series if it gets picked up?

So many people think getting their book optioned for television, or a movie, is a dream come true. Actually it’s a trade off. Once you sell the book, the buyer has total control over the script, the characters, the plots. All you can do is hope that a little bit of your original story stays in the mix. I’ve also met dozens of authors whose works have been sold and nothing has come of it.

Who would you cast for the roles if you were given an option to choose?

If it were my choice, I’d want Drew Barrymore to play Ellie. Sam is harder to cast because there aren’t many blonde lead actors out there. But I’d pick Mark Valley. He was Brad on Boston Legal and I think he fits my description of Sam very well.

You spend a lot of your time traveling for conferences to do workshops and you are also a judge at gymnastic competition. Do you think you’ll ever give up being a judge?

I judged my final gymnastic meet this past weekend. I simply couldn’t combine the sport with my writing obligations and had to make a choice. Since I’m dedicated to Rudy and Ellie and helping the canines of the world, I had to go with them.

Do you have a posse you write with? Or, do you suggest critique partners and/or beta readers instead?

I have a wonderful sister and some dear friends I use to discuss plotting ideas, and a good friend from Texas who will critique my work if I need her, but this series is all me. I’ve learned how to self-edit over the years and I do the job as best I can.

What types of promotions have you used that you would suggest that was most effective in getting your name out there?

The internet is great for promotion, but using RWA chapters is also a good way to promote. I attend the Romantic Times convention each year and teach their 2 day aspiring author course. I also go to several conferences, both mystery and romance, every year as well. I find that personal contact works the best.

What’s the best part of being an author? What’s the worst part?

I think the best part is making friends with other authors, meeting people who love to read, and mentoring people with dreams of publication. Imagination is a wonderful thing and those with a great imagination are a joy to be around.

The worst part is a part of the profession. Writing is a lonely job. An author must sit at their computer all day, every day. It’s a necessary step if you want to be a success. I tell my students “Writers writer. They don’t talk about writing or complain. They just sit in a chair each day and pound out the words.”

Do you ever run out of ideas and are you ever afraid that you will?

So far, I’ve been extremely lucky with the ideas and words. I’ve never really been ‘blocked’ or lost my muse. I don’t even want to think about it, because I believe the world can toss negative thoughts back at you, so I always assume my genius ideas will be there when I need them.

What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done and what did you learn about yourself?

I’d have to say it was the day I made up my mind to go to my first writer’s conference. I had no idea if I could even finish a book, but I wanted to try so I decided to do all I could to make it happen. I went to that first conference (Romantic Times back in 1994) alone and terrified. I knew no one, didn’t even know what questions to ask, but it all worked out. God points you in the right direction. It’s up to you to step on the road and move your feet.

If you weren’t writing, what career path would you have taken?

I’d probably have done something more in the gymnastic field or maybe become a teacher, but I’m not sure what course I would have excelled in.

If you were a lipstick color, what would it be called and why?

Hmm. How about Blush? Nothing too showy, a soft, pale pink with just enough color to show the world that I’m there.

Any words of wisdom for our authors and/or readers?

Read and write what you love. Don’t be a follower, be a leader. Do what you think is correct, not what the crowd is doing. And always stand up and be proud of what you believe in.

For more information on Judi, visit her online at www.judimccoy.com

Comments (8)

On May 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM , booklover1335 said...

Hi Judy,
I love your words of wisdom. I think being true to yourself is very important. Your new books sounds really good. Mysteries are one of my fav genres, and I too am a dog lover so this sounds right up my alley!
When will you know more about the possible TV series?

 
On May 18, 2009 at 12:52 PM , Jax Cassidy said...

This is how awesome Judi is, ALL ROYALTIES earned from the sale of this book goes to an organization called Best Friends. You can read it on her blog. I think that's an awesome gesture! :)

 
On May 18, 2009 at 1:58 PM , housemouse88 said...

Hello,

Personally would love to be able to know what my dog and cats are thinking. Have a great day.

 
On May 18, 2009 at 3:31 PM , Jane said...

Hi Judi,
Can't wait to read the first book in the Dogwalker Series. How many books will there be in this series?

 
On May 18, 2009 at 4:00 PM , Judi McCoy said...

First I'll answer Jane. I hope to write at least 12 books. It all depends on sales and NAL's willingness to give keep me under contract.
Next, for Booklover 1335: According to my agent, Hollywood is all about the NAME. Right now, I don't have one, so it's been difficult getting a straight answer from people. I know they're in the script writing stage, but that's about it. I'm concentrating on writing great books and keeping my fingers crossed that all goes my way.
Housemouse88: I bet you would know if you listened carefully. Just be patient with them. Sometimes they're shy or they think we're making fun of them. If you love them, they'll hear you.
Best of luck with your four-legged friends.

 
On May 18, 2009 at 9:14 PM , Caffey said...

Hi Judi!!! I read a few mystery series but not yet one with a pet and I love my cats! So these sound to be fun as well as a mystery! Too I bet my 23 year old daughter who reads a mystery now and then would love these too! I must tell her!

I loved those Goddess series! I must get that last one that I somehow didn't know was out! That's fab on the option for TV! How did that come about? Did they approach you about the book to TV?

 
On May 19, 2009 at 8:19 AM , CheekyGirl said...

Hi Judi,
Great interview. If you haven't read Judi's book, it's fantastic and so is she!

Sabrina

 
On May 21, 2009 at 5:53 PM , Caffey said...

Thanks Judy and Jax and all!