Spencer Quinn, novelist, "Chet the Dog" series 2010 INTERVIEW



so much media so little time who keeps track of it all that would be me this is Bob Andelman and this is a mr. media interview brought to you today by audible.com where you can get a free audio book at www.pedestrians to choose from for your ipod or mp3 player including titles from today's mr. media radio guests by the way mr. media is recorded live from the new new media capital of the world and home of two pretty great dogs scout and chase say Peters dogs that can express themselves in a language we can all understand are nothing new remember the movie cats and dogs one dog had the voice of Tobey Maguire another the sonorous tones of Alec Baldwin but how many dogs have written books about their adventures point there for Chet the dog sidekick of Burnie little and so employee of the little detective agency and do you smell that hint to bacon ground black pepper sizzling burgers on the grill oh where was I uh oh right the chat and burning mystery series book one dog gone it was a big hit quickly followed by the just published thereby hangs a tail both books are narrated by Chet the dog who is a pretty adept storyteller except for when he gets distracted by the smell of food another dog's butt fresh pastries frisbees baseballs now Chet also has some problems remembering details a short time after an event occurs but once he catches the scent the second time the large incisors are known around the desert to take a big bite out of crime and criminals check the dog welcome to mr. media thank you thanks for having me not closer uh Chet where did you first develop your writing chops my writing chops my writing shops I think came to me at birth I had I came from a writing type family it's called a writing type litter okay I've never heard of that before is that an AKC group or not yet not yet we're fighting together to prove and do you type I I somehow imagine dictating would be easier with those paws of yours um well personal yes I have everything is dictated in a in a kind of mental telepathy way through Spencer Quinn whose name also appears on the books you know I keep seeing that name and I don't understand it I I'm a little confused by the jacket of your books I mean they say quite clearly a Chet and Bernie mystery and you have a most distinctive voice as the narrator but some guy named Quinn who you just mentioned has his name on the cover – who is this guy this guy is I would call him my muse really and collaborator so he tells he is the one he sort of the interface with the publishing business but the stories are mine but I'm not the kind of gob who you know needs to elbow his way into into taking all the credit I got it I got it and I you know I admire how ambitious you must be I mean what was writing the books and maintaining a blog – I saw that you even posted that you'd be doing this interview where do you get the time well you know I sleep while I'm always well-rested so you know when you get your sleep I think you can find it you can squeeze a lot of work into the waking hours oh well you know and dogs have this reputation for doing nothing more than eating sleeping pooping eating and sleeping is that is that you know mistake or my thinking your be doggone it and thereby hangs a tale you see that there's a lot more going on we're actually quite busy you do seem to take a lot of naps those naps happen there's no sometimes if you know I'm sure this has happened to you – bubs sometimes your eyelids just get heavy it does yeah that's true you know I didn't when that happens you know there's you can only fight it for so long so I guess that's just kind of a stereotype of dogs it's not necessarily true well you know I think there's nothing wrong with a little bit of rest I think it's good for us you know I have dreams too it's good to be in touch with 3-month yeah do you ever take license with the facts in your cases you know to make them more interesting I mean for example is Bernie really that much of a ladies man well look he Bernie doesn't think of himself as a ladies man so I don't but I think women are sort of attracted to them what happens after that he tends to you know nothing against Bernie he tends to to fumble the ball a little bit with women but there's an initial attraction toward him but know the facts of all the cases are absolutely 100% guaranteed as well as I can remember them well that was I wanted to ask you about that because you know there's there's some times where it seems like you're right on the verge of something and then you'll be distracted by something and you'll lose track of certain things but it all seems to come together in the end we've been lucky that way well you see it's a partnership I think in your intro you said that I was really the employee the sole employee of the little detective agency and by the way if you want a little detective agency actual business card you can get one just go to chat the dog calm and there and you can find out how to get our actual business card but where was I uh I don't know but I guess you're the first dog I've interviewed who was able to to you know market his own stuff so go for it that's good I like that huh it's mm and well we both got distracted I know the internet creates all those opportunities well let me ask you this you seem partial to a particular brand of treats and snacks and I wondered if success the success of the books has created any endorsement opportunities for you none have come in the door yet but you know we're not going to say no so you literally delet but we'll listen to opportunities you know I'm an American dog and and you know the America is a capitalistic country I'm you know I'm not the kind who's going to you know oppose that well speaking speaking of which do you prefer you know dog food like dry or wet or do you prefer human food you know I'm I'm I'm accepting really of almost all foods I don't really draw a big line between dog food and human food I know I think that's something that humans do humans seem to draw a big line between dog food and human food because you hardly ever see them eating dog food but from our side in the nation within the nation as bernie calls it you know we accept all foods we're pretty accepting in many ways now before we talked about we touched on this Quinn guy and but I also notice that whenever I try to look up Spencer Quinn on Google to figure out the connection the name Peter Abrams comes up some I'm further confused I guess I'm not very bright no no it's not it's confusing it's confusing it's you know there okay there's there are all it's possible that all these names that you're introducing now we're really part of one whole I think we can take it that far hmm now is is this is Glenn someone who's there with you Quinn is here would you like me to put Quinn on well my assistant gave me some some human questions in case Quinn was there to be right hang on one night be polite all right can you hang on one second in fact I have to go I have to go out anyway okay Thank You Chet hi Spence here hey Spence ba Adelman mister hi narrator Bob I had a nice nice chat going there with Chet Oh careful there with the mailman okay we're all right we're all right you know it's been amazing how day-to-day they just they don't remember the mailman where they don't get adjusted to the mailman he likes this particular mailman our mailman is Louie and Louie smokes a pipe and so chat can smell Louie coming you know from blocks away mmm you like we had that we had that here with Chase he could our mailman was a heavy smoker and you could smell that humans could smell that coming a block away even humans okay yeah you know I was I was just asking shed about endorsements and I wondered I asked I asked Chad if he'd had any endorsement opportunities I was kind of wondering the same thing as the success of the book the books created any snack-food endorsements for opportunities for you if they've come along the publishers haven't told me about so no nothing has come up like that so far there is a in the books there is a there's a dog food company called Rover and company that makes very high-end snacks and cat actually gets to tour their kitchens one day but if that that's actually have made up a made up dog food maybe I know so you know maybe I should just market it myself rover and come on I'm thinking you know I'm actually you know I asked Chet if he ever you know kind of fudges on any details and he said absolutely not but so that's a made-up company so there you go so I'm ok I got a question the whole the whole now okay you've got him in a quarter but that never really works with Chet he's very adaptive getting out of corners so I wouldn't I wouldn't even press it any further nobody puts Chet in a corner I noticed that very tough very tough to do he's quick he's a hundred pounder 400 plus pounders reversed himself but he's also extremely agile and Spencer how do you fit into the picture here with Chet I mean you know I know a lot of people when they first start reading the books probably think okay wait a minute the voice I'm hearing here the voice I'm reading is a dog I don't know I mean can the dog type does the dog speak when where do you fit in your name is on the cover – yes my name is on the cover I think these I think this is a some version of channeling that goes on you know that I'm channeling this voice and it comes so readily to me that I am convinced that you know there's some kind of doglike thing deep inside me some dog DNA because I haven't had to really this voice came right out of the blue chat voice just for time yeah job the news auditing dog I want to caution everybody on that he's a narrating dog but he can't he doesn't do anything the dog can't do he's not the Hugh he's not there are other of course dogs in literature who narrate at times but they are all really kind of human in dog clothing chat isn't he has for example there's no irony going on a lot of both these human things like a sense of irony he just doesn't have those I noticed that it is a very straightforward kind of storyteller except losing with Fred at times and in that way there's a postmodern thing that goes on a meta fiction but we don't need to get into that no that's probably over my head anyway okay it seems it seems like at times he he picks up on details though that I would have missed if I was telling a story it's one of the things I think it's so endearing about it well I you know they they're their window into the world well there you go it isn't really that much of a visual window you know all our you know our expression so many of the revisional oriented as human beings but you know as he's Chet says the sense of sight the visual sense is really about his third go-to sense you know he smell comes first and hearing comes second so the visual is a backup and so the things that we would miss because we just don't have the antenna he's got it how does he choose I mean chantin Bernie had a lot of a lot of cases I've heard people who don't know haven't read the book when they really should order the audiobook but they have a lot of wish this guy did a great job by the way Jim Franchione is the reader of the dog honor than thereby hangs a tale sorry to interrupt you but he did a terrific job on those absolutely that those are the audible.com that I've just said the right thing yeah no absolutely I would say I'll insert commercial here remind people they can go to audiblepodcast.com/tekzilla Bowl audible podcast.com slash mr media and of course you can always order the physical books at amazon.com or mr. media but when I was when I was what was coming around to in my round about the commercial way how how does it have the boys Chetan and Bernie choose which cases to turn turn into a book because there's so many there are many cases and Kent alludes to them often you know he'll something that they're doing will remind him of a certain case or a certain purpose he grabbed by the pad leg and that's always the way the case is in when Chet grabs the perp by the path like it's case case closed well so far we've got two cases you know that are in book form well actually there's three I just finished the third one but the chat and Bernie the little detective agency specializes in missing persons cases especially missing children but because of their finances are shaky they often have to take divorce work which they hate but doggonit case one is a missing-persons case book two thereby hangs a tale is a different case that actually they resisted taking in the first place it was guarding a show dog named princess this little fluffball and they don't like to do bodyguard work but in this case they accepted it and it turned to an extremely complicated and dangerous situation how we decide how the decision is made which of these cases to cover they're really the ones that Chet remembers from A to Z or at least close to it some of those allusions to cases are really all that exists now in Chet's mine from those gazes mmm so it really has to be case that he can remember its entirety yes because I mean I think a reader likes to have a beginning middle and end in in some order I think that's probably true yeah I'm just thinking about it yeah beginning middle and end that that works for me you know so yeah the first case is missing child very good story I mean I wasn't really sure what was go going on there until the very end I don't wanna give anything away but so we don't because these are mysteries you know yeah exactly these are this is the territory here is classic private I type mysteries it's it's just like you know in that way a very familiar classic piece of music but here in these books it's played on a different instrument that's the well and then yeah and in the second book chat it's almost like it almost becomes kind of a buddy comedy at times with with with with Chet and the show dog princess because it you know they're mismatched they're they're you know they have an odd sense of each other yeah they are my high school and they get and they but they form under pressure they these to chat and princess these two jobs who were very different and come for very different worlds form a kind of bond and get end up being quite impressed with the resources of the other and that's even give us a sense of this time because I'm a little confused by this Chet seems to only communicate with other dogs in that he smells them he ruff houses with them you know he'll he'll bump them with his with his with his nose is there some other level of communication going on there that we're not getting or that he's not sharing with us I think at times there is and and there are up he has other interactions we just don't get to see the whole story for example in doggonit there is that she Barker that the Chet here is across the canyon and he at the very end of the book he leaps over the backyard fence and and heads that way we just closed the curtain at that moment and in book three which I've just finished I guess it'll be out you know within the year there's a scene in Mexico with also with a female dog again where we draw the curtains but he it shows that he has a you know a wide ranging I think emotional interaction with with his fellow dogs well and you know the I'm glad you mentioned that he has this interaction with the female dog again I'm kind of wondering I mean you know if if Chet were to father a litter of pups if he hasn't already where could someone buy one of these dogs because they seem like very special dogs well that's a very interesting I mean you fit Bob you think commercially beautifully I got cutting-edge stuff also you could be you know helping me plot the series because you know the idea that maybe there are already little chats out there you know is something that has occurred to me interesting interesting so when I clear yet but it could happen we're not clear yet and I guess with dogs we never know I mean heimo eight days out that happens all those days out in the desert who knows what's gone who knows exactly and you know let me ask you this Spence I mean and I'm not entirely clear on your relationship to Jett and and and Bernie but I mean since reading these books myself I have to tell you that I've become a lot more sensitive about what I say and do in front of my dogs chasing scalp I mean it's it's kind of creepy you know after all these years to realize from reading these books that they're they're not just watching that they're paying attention I think they are paying attention but one of the great things about them is if you treat them it just half decently no matter what your failings are they're going to love you and that's one of the great things about you know just get up to the level of half-decent treatment of them they don't ask for much now Bernie has Chet Chet has Bernie I understand that you have Audrey what kind of dog is Audrey Audrey is a she's a mix she's she's half Bernie's and half golden but you would never looking at her you would never see the gold inside she would look like a fairly small unicolor she's a black Bernie's she doesn't have the dose aisle nature that a lot of Golden's have we've had plenty of gold that's before she's actually extremely vigorous and ver by far the strongest and most physical dog we've ever had a wonderful dog but you know when she runs around I mean she care and she does a lot of changing – she runs kind of I don't know like an NFL running back and it just tears up the lawn and clods of you know that they've clods fly every time she runs around and I say Oh Harve don't do that and of course she does it for you know it's typically difficult a typical healthy man dog relationships now does she have any special talents of like check does is there something particularly excellent on the guard dog aspect um yes you know the way you know sometimes chat you know in the books at night if he can't sleep he thinks he's hearing things outside or he smells something and he's very much you know the century of the house well Audrey's the same way you know she's at night if she hears a sound I mean she alerts us yeah I should have asked Chet maybe maybe you know I wondered if Chet had like I you know having been been proud and paper-trained I wondered if Jed had like favourite a cartoon or comic strip dog I was thinking perhaps a satchel from get fuzzy but I didn't know if you had any insight to that I have no insight to that um he what tends to get he and Bernie tend to watch a lot of shows on like Animal Planet and Discovery Channel animal type shows but they get into certain movies they they had a period of watching westerns and Chad refers to those sometimes and there was another period of watching horror movies but it got too scary for both of them okay well we all have that issue and you know I'm sorry I you know I was asking I was telling you before about how I've been I think more sensitive about Jason Scott being around me and maybe seeing and thinking things differently than I had perceived if the experience you've had with Chet now if she's had to alter any of your habits or if you feel any differently about Audrey yes I do absolutely the same thing has happened to me which is crazy because you know I sort of made it up right but that's the funny thing about being a writer you in a way you kind of learn things in your own writing that you didn't know you knew and I now do just the same as you said Bob I sometimes look at her after I've been doing something whatever you know and I wondered to you you know what she what's she thinking about that you know just something like raking the lawn for example okay we she enjoys tremendously you know kind of DeeDee rakes you know while I read and but I wonder if she you know what's her take on the whole like what is it that she thinks I'm doing and and why is she undoing it you know I I think it she thinks that I'm just it's possible that I'm doing the whole thing is just a game that I'm playing with her you know that there's no other end purpose to it she may be right she may be right there you go yeah well do you have a title for the new book yes the title for the new Brooke book is to bark perchance to bite I like it thank you I like yeah I like that a lot yeah in this book this book has something to do with the circus actually an elephant named peanut disappears from a circus possibly kidnapped and shed and burry are hired rather reluctantly to you know to go and see if they can find peanut and and the animal trainer is also missing states in Mexico and and a whole dangerous world having to do with you know the huge business of exotic animal smuggling now I'm sure shed fans would would be upset with me if I did not ask this question for it I'll let you guys go but two years ago Marley was very big in books and Marley became a big star of film is there anything in the works to bring Chet Chet and burn a story to the big screen yes there is something in the works I don't know where we are on it but Universal Pictures has it and Geoff Lowell the writer for Hotel for Dogs the movie Hotel for Dogs is doing the screenplay so they're somewhere at the screenplay stage but there are many you know potential areas of slip up from that stage to you know finally getting on the screen but at least something is something's happening yes well that's great that's very exciting for right everybody I'm sure um well folks listen you can find Chet the dogs new book under the byline Spencer Quinn for some reason I still not really clear on that book is there yeah thereby hangs a tale and that is the second story in the Chet and Bernie mystery series after dog on it you can find out and you can find that not who dad you can find that in great bookstores everywhere or as I've mentioned you can order the audiobook for free you can go to audible podcast.com slash mr media mr. media to get a free audiobook download of your choice when you sign up today again it's audible podcast.com slash mr. media for your free audiobook and check out check the dogs blog which is quite interesting at WWE check the dog calm you can also follow Chet on Twitter or Facebook and check I mean a Spencer I know chips out in the yard thanks so much for joining us I'm mr. media today it was very very entertaining and delightful to get to know you our pleasure all right take care thank you Bob all right buh-bye bye and folks for more interviews with your favorite novelists you can surf over to our main website www.marykay.co.uk/awilliam visit after Richard Deutsch Monty shields Peter Gollum Bach John darton suan Jafar Ian James Sheehan and many more subscribe to mr. media on iTunes and you'll never miss a show to search mr. media interviews from within iTunes and subscribe for free you can also listen with a piece of string and a tin can in many locations if you've got an idea for a guest email me directly at Bob at andleman calm you can also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter ww twitter.com slash Andelman or facebook.com slash Handelman thanks so much for joining us today always appreciate when you give up a little piece of your day to spend it with mr. media specialist you

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