Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Joanne Anderton & Gully

Who is in the photo at right?

Well, the human person there is me -- Joanne Anderton. I'm an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and horror. I've had short stories published all over the place, and my debut novel Debris was published by Angry Robot Books in 2011, followed by Suited in 2012.

And this is Gully! He's a mutt -- he's got some cattle dog in there, and definitely staffy, and we reckon labrador, and the vet even said greyhound. His body is six years old, but his mind lives in perpetual puppyhood.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It's time for our Saturday morning coffee. I go to personal training every Saturday morning, and stop by the local café for a takeaway coffee on my way home. Then I sit out on the patio with Gully, and he tries to convince me with his eyes that he can, in fact, drink coffee and I should definitely give him some. Lucky for him, it never works.

What's brewing?

Large flat white. A nice strong one.

Any treats for you or Gully on this occasion?

I have a slice of rather delicious banana bread. Gully has at least three bones on the go at one time -- in various stages of disgusting.

How were you and Gully united?

Gully was actually a gift for my husband. Hubby's always wanted a dog, so one year, just before his birthday, I travelled out to the RSPCA and found Gully. I knew as soon as I saw him that he was the dog for us. When we collected him, he spent the whole car ride home in my husband's lap, happy and calm. Definitely love at first sight (or maybe smell) for all of us.

How did he get his name? Any aliases?

He's named after Gully Foyle from The Stars My Destination which is kind of ridiculous, because Foyle is a horrible character, and Gully's the sweetest, sookiest creature ever. He's "Gulliver" if he's done something naughty. But mostly he's just "Gully". Or "doglet".

What role has Gully played in your writing?

I think he helps keep me sane. He's always up for a run, or a walk, or a cuddle -- all of which are necessary for a healthy writing brain. Or I'll talk to him about plot points that are bugging me, because he's always happy to listen.

Does Gully have a favorite place to go for an outing?

His favourite place is definitely the golf course at the back of our house. He gets to play with other dogs there, and chase rabbits, or run in sprinklers, or swim in ponds. Best place ever.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Pinecone. Because they're crunchy and we can play puppy soccer with them. Gully's a great goalie.

What is Gully's best quality?

He's such a loving dog. He looks tough to people who don't know him (particularly when he's running a million miles an hour right at them) but he's the biggest sook. He'd rather have a cuddle than eat his breakfast. He'll let little kids and young puppies crawl all over him without protest, even the ones who insist on grabbing his ears.

On his first holiday away from home he was too scared to sleep outside, and stayed at my husband's side the whole night, periodically licking his elbow just to make sure he was there. He's a giant sweetheart, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

If Gully could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I'd spend less time inside on the computer, and more time outside with him.

What is Gully's proudest moment?

I think that depends on who you ask. I'm sure Gully would say something like finding the dead thing (it might have been a fox) on the golf course and rolling in it until he stank. He's always very proud of himself when he reeks.

I'd say it was when his beagle friend Hunter went missing. Gully and Hunter used to love to play together, but sadly Hunter's family have moved away. Hunter's owner was a young girl and she lost him late one evening on the golf course. We met her on our walk and she was distraught -- but she couldn't stay out in the dark to look for him. So we put Gully on the case: "Where's Hunter? Find Hunter!" And he did! In the middle of the scrub. We were happy to reunite them, although I think Gully wanted Hunter to stay over for longer -- they were having a great time wrestling in the backyard.

If Gully could speak in the movie about your life, who should do his voice?

You know that dog in Up? The one with the goofy mechanised voice box? That's Gully all over. Including the random "Point!" at nothing.

Writers Read: Jo Anderton.

Visit Joanne Anderton's website, Twitter perch, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

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