Sunday, November 25, 2012

Paws To Reflect - An Interview with the Authors

I have had the opportunity to paw an interview with two ladies, Devon O'Day and Kim McLean, who used their skills to write a devotional book titled, "Paws to Reflect."

Here is our discussion:  Hello Ladies! Great to meet you. My name is Noah, I’m the Pawthor of "From The Dog's Paw". I write about my fellow dogs and cat friends at local rescue groups who are looking for their “Forever Homes,” share tips for new Pet Parents, and other newsworthy items that may interest them. I read through the .pdf pages you posted on the BlogPaws Community page. I appreciate you sending it there. My human won a copy of it so he’s excited about my interview with you. I would like to discuss the book with you so my readers and fellow Pawthors, can learn about it and possibly obtain a copy.

1. Please tell me about yourself, your background, where you are from?
Hi Noah, so paw-leased to meet you! I'm Devon and I'm from Louisiana, where I adopted my first pound puppy - Andy, a dachshund mix. I have always been an animal-person rescuing and rehabilitating. My favorite wild rescue was a baby raccoon that was able to go back into the wild. There are too many dog and cat rescues to pick a favorite among those. 

Hi Noah, Kim here. I'm happy to meet you, too. I'm from Greensboro, North Carolina and grew up in a neighborhood full of furry friends. My collie, Shane, loved to paw-around with her friends, Clementine and Charlie Brown, basset-hound and dachshund, respectively. They were part of all the fun we kids had. I love all animals, though, and have had many pets of all kinds throughout the years. I also grew up loving God, and believe that we humans are given the great privilege of helping take care of all the beautiful creatures he created.

2. My human is big on education, I’m home-schooled, where did you go to school? 
Devon: My parents were both public school teachers so I went to public school. Pineville High School in Pineville, LA then on to Northeast State University (now University of Louisiana Monroe) where I graduated even though I was constantly in trouble for sneaking animal rescues into my dorm room. Then I moved to NYC where I took continuing education classes at NYU studying writing under published authors, independent acting classes, and voice-over at Weist-Barron School. Even in apartments with several moves, I ended up with 2 rescue cats from the ASPCA, 1 from Northshore Animal League, and a 'found' cocker spaniel.      
Kim: I graduated from a public highschool in Jamestown, N.C., just outside of Greensboro. I got busy with building a family and a music career for a while, but eventually went to college in Nashville, TN, where I earned my BS in music with a minor in religion, and my MA in Biblical Theology from Trevecca University. It was on that campus that our cat, Sophie came to us. She was a little kitten stuck in a drainage ditch. Today she is fat and sassy! My collie, Veronique, who still makes me smile and laugh all the time, was actually a graduation gift.

3. How did you two get together to write this book? How long have you known each other?
Devon: Kim and I are long-term soul friends. I always say she is my sister from another mother. We met when our songwriting publishers had us write a song together. This book is just a song, only longer and without music. Over a decade ago, we rented then bought a farm where we rescue, foster, and furr-ever home a menagerie of animals. Big Sky Heaven Blue is a private venture now, with charity status before the year is out we hope.                                      

Kim: That pretty much says it. We've been friends for about 14 years.

4. What inspired you to write this book? 
Devon: This book had been rattling around my cage for a long time. I was spiritually healed and brought to God on paws-feet-in-low places. When God could get me to understand His unconditional love, he sent one animal at a time till I got His message. This book if for all those people like me who have harbored deep hurts and who have found comfort and healing among God's creatures. I really wanted it to be Scripturally sound, so that's why I would not do this book without my best friend and Bible scholar.

Kim: I was thrilled when Devon invited me to write this project with her. For one, I love devotional books, and I saw it as a chance to help both people and animals. The Bible is such a profound testimony of the God-human relationship, but if you look a little closer, you find plenty about God's love for His creation and ALL creatures.

5. Why did you write for dog or animal lovers?
Devon: In writing, the adage is 'write what you know'. This is what I know. Animals speak to me and move my heart. I have always wanted to tell their stories. Animal lovers are called by God to do what they do. We are no different than those called to house the homeless or feed the children. Animals are just our job.

Kim: People who love dogs, or animals, are my favorite kind of people. It tells you a lot about a person, the way they treat animals. People who don't respect animals, don't really respect people either, you know? We wanted to inspire, encourage, and appreciate animal lovers who also love God. It's a celebration, with a few insights along the way. I hope our book gets people talking about the special gift God has given us in our pets.

6. Have you done any work with animals? Do you have any education in the animal field? (such as veterinary education/veterinary technician, etc.)? 
Devon: I spent all my formative years hanging on my grandparent's farm. Dogs, cats, pigs, cows, goats, and every conceivable wild animal were part of my young life. I loved the medical care and the getting dirty of all that. I began college wanting to be a vet, but chemistry got the best of me. Not getting that degree in veterinary medicine is my greatest regret. However, I have studied animal care as a layman extensively and have worked in rescue groups since I was in high school. I learned to groom dogs so that they would be more adoptable. I studied dog training with the canine division of the police department. I spent hours helping one of my favorite vets get his practice set up, in exchange for his teaching of lay-skills. So, giving shots, administering meds, and wound care are all in my skill set. My approach to animal care is very practical. It's not about how much money you spend that heals and gives longevity to animals. It's all in the love you spend on them.

Kim: I have a nick-name for Devon. It's Devondoolittle. She's gifted at pet care and could be a vet if she were not busy writing books with me! I have little experience in the area of animal care in a profession way, but I am VERY prompt with heart-worm meds and such. I did get pretty good at training hamsters for a while there, but my daughter Danielle was especially gifted at it! Anyway, I know who the good vets are and I'm not afraid to call them any time day or night. Love your pet? Love your vet!

7. How did the idea to write this book come about? 
Devon: There are devotion books for everyone about everything. There was nothing for 'my' people. Animal lovers have sometimes been looked at askance because in some church circles, animals are only soul-less creatures for our use. I do not believe this at all. In fact, in the revelation of Scripture as I read was that animals are divine creations just as human-kind. They are not for our use, but our responsibility. It's stepping out into some new territory so I knew I needed my well-studied co-hort (an amazing writer in her own right) to filter and test each Biblical insight for Truth. Animals teach us, and God definitely whispers to us through purrs and barks and hummingbird flutters.

Kim: Honestly, I have always wanted to write devotional books. It's a great way to get people thinking about God's love and to give them something positive to think about for the day. I believe the more we love God, who IS love, the more we will love each other and our animals. Of course, the idea for this book in particular came from Devon!

8. Do you think this book will reach out and help others? 
Devon: This book is right from the heart of animal lovers to other animal lovers. We need to hear the Word of God in our language. This is what Paws To Reflect is all about. Tough subjects like abusive relationships, hoarding, anger, and resentment are dealt with through real life stories and real life Scripture. 

Kim: Yes.

9. What is your favorite story? 
Devon: For me, this one is easy. When our best laying hen was lacerated by a dog trying to get her back in the coop, we called vets far and wide getting only laughter and stew pot references in return. So I stitched her up, while Kim helped. She not only healed but maintained top egg-laying honors in the hen house. We didn't give up on God never gives up on us. I wrap that thought around me all the time. 

Kim: So many! I really like our book. I think today my favorite story is the one about my daughter's Sheltie, Abby, who had a very strong conscience. She learned a very important fruit of the spirit, self-control, when she "accidentally" ate a newborn bunny she'd found in the yard, in a nest, with other newborn bunnies. Abby understood our shock and disappointment (though she was only acting like a proper dog!) and, though she licked her chops a little, she did not touch bunny ever again. We had a pet rabbit after that, and Abby and that rabbit actually played together. It was amazing! Of course, that bunny grew to be almost as big as Abby, so trying to eat it would have been a little like trying to eat a Volkswagen.

10. And, finally, just in time for Christmas and the New Year, where can your book be purchased?

Devon: Purchase is easy with Amazon, where they run sales often and with prime status often shipping is free. Barnes and NobleCokesbury Online Lifeway, and wonderful indie booksellers all over the country will house or be able to order this book. We also try to schedule BookSINGings (our signings with music and stories presentations) along our tour routes. We also do fundraising events for rescues around the country, encouraging rescues to use this book as a fund-raising item. Buy the book wholesale, and retail it to supporters of the organization as a unique new item that yields more interest than a t-shirt.

Kim: Think my marketing genius partner covered that one.

11. Anything that you would like to leave with my readers?
Devon: Animals are our connection with God. That's a big statement, I know - but it's how it is for me. I know I'm not alone in that insight. This book is for those people. 

Kim: I'd like to leave our book with your readers! Ya'll get your paws on it!

Thank you Devon and Kim!!  Great meeting you both.  I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you today. I think one of the reasons your book got my humans attention is it's ability to relate animal stories with Scripture as a devotion.  Hits his interest right on the head.

A special giveaway:
My human has an extra copy of this excellent book, "Paws to Reflect" written by these two wonderful ladies. If you would like to have it, be the first to email me, Noah, with all of your snail mail information, and I'll send it to you! Winner agrees to allow their name, city and state published on my blog. Winner will be determined by time and date stamp on email and notified by reply email. Competition closes at midnight, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012.


Talking-Dogs said...

Great interview! Sounds like a great holiday gift idea!

Allen Pearson said...

Thank you!! I had pawtacular time with these two ladies. You're right!! The book would make a great gift.