Last night I had the pleasure of attending a book discussion and signing event with authors Ken Foster and Alison Pace at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut. Ken and Alison both shared some wonderful insights into their books and answered audience questions before signing copies for everyone. I recently reviewed Alison's latest, You Tell Your Dog First, which is a heartwarming collection of essays about her life with dogs - most notably her West Highland white terrier, Carlie.
Ken's new book, I'm a Good Dog, is a tribute through both photography and essays to perhaps one of the most misunderstood breeds: the pit bull. Because of the nature of their books, and out of the kindness of the authors' hearts, 10% of the proceeds from their books purchased at the event were donated to the New Haven Animal Shelter. Ken and Alison talked about their first meeting with each other, years ago while part of a discussion panel called "Dog Lit". It was great to hear from writers who are also dog lovers and who've managed to combine their passions in such a fulfilling way. Ken's journey with I'm a Good Dog was a whirlwind from conception to publication and he discussed the many hurdles he faced with the project, most notably how the misconception of the pit bull breed led to a difficulty in getting publishers to take a chance on them.
Ken is on a mission to help educate and enlighten audiences on the true nature and spirit of the breed, through not only his writing, but other ventures as well. He's the founder of The Sula Foundation, which is devoted to the continued support of smart, dedicated pit bull owners and, as such, devoted to the future of the breed. Having known a mixed breed dog whose very sweet disposition was often overshadowed by the fierceness of her pit bull genes reflected in her appearance, I was enthusiastic about hearing from Ken and I'm grateful for the work he's done. I also met Jeffery, who, as you can see, is an incredibly gorgeous pit bull with a very sweet and calm disposition; he's a certified therapy dog who stopped by for the event to show his breed some support.
It was a delight to finally meet Alison after years of enjoying her wonderful books, from the must-love-dogs novels like Pug Hill and City Dog to the nonfiction departure with You Tell Your Dog First. She was incredibly kind and grateful for the support of her readers; her discussion about her new essay collection was delightful, very much in keeping with the experience of reading her work. She talked about one particular thing she mentions in the book, which was shortly after she adopted her Westie, Carlie, when her father said, "It's wonderful, isn't it, the way dogs connect you to the world?". She was moved to infuse that sentiment in her work and it has a way of connecting the reader as well. She does a wonderful job of translating the feeling of those words into stories, both fictitious and reality-based. I'm very excited that Alison will be talking more about You Tell Your Dog First in an upcoming guest post here at Literary Inklings!
Last but certainly not least, Alison has kindly offered a copy of You Tell Your Dog First to one lucky reader of Literary Inklings!
A winner will be chosen on November 21 The giveaway is open to US residents only
You can connect with both Ken and Alison on their Facebook pages: Ken Foster/I'm a Good Dog and Alison Pace as well as Twitter: @KenFosterWrites and @alisonpace. Many thanks to the beautiful RJ Julia Booksellers for hosting the event - visit them online, on Facebook, on Twitter and, if you're ever in Madison, Connecticut, do visit them in person! I'm a Good Dog and You Tell Your Dog First are both available now from Penguin.