Sunday 1 February 2015

Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway - Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog by Allen Paul

Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog
by Allen Paul

Book Description:
Bestselling and award-winning author Allen Paul has created an endearing character in Honey, a swamp dog who gets rescued at the moment she's about to get shot. Taken to live at Banbury Cross Farm with other rescued Dixie Dingos, her quick cuts and darting turns soon draw notice; she's then trained for agility championships, the most popular of all canine sports. From the start, Honey forms a deep bond with Miss Jane, who saved her in the nick of time. Her trainer is Ace, a worldly wise black man who manages the farm's kennel. Honey forms another deep bond with Miss Jane's partner, Mr. Billy, a skilled horseman who delights Honey by quoting famous rhymes.

The story is told by Honey in a charming southern voice. She's just turned one (equal to a 10-year-old girl or boy) when the story begins. At its center is a haunting mystery: Why are swamp critters turning up dead with a wild look in the eye? Many believe a big coyote named Geronimo scares them to death. When two dead dingo pups are found, Honey becomes convinced that her pack, which is still in the swamp, could be next. Somehow she has to get them out. The plot thickens when several small pets get killed in the nearby town. Rewards are posted and a group led by the trapper Topper Guy, who nearly shot Honey, head for the swamp. Twelve innocent dingos mistaken for coyotes get shot. Miss Jane confronts Topper Guy and demands that the killings stop. The upshot is a high stakes bet: Topper Guy wagers his guns against Miss Jane's favorite horse that Honey won't win at the Sportsman's Championship. How Honey fares in that contest, and how the mystery killer gets caught, make for a thrilling read that kids at heart of all ages will love.

In the end, Honey learns an unforgettable lesson that her pack, which now includes humans, comes first. Based on a true story, this book will appeal to middle grade readers and adults. On July 17, 2013 a front-page article in the New York Times cited new genetic evidence suggesting that the Dixie Dingo (registered as the Carolina Dog) is the oldest breed in North America, predating European settlement by many centuries. They were Native American camp dogs but are not related to the Australian dingos. Many Dixie Dingos still live in southern swamps. With their antenna-like ears and muscular build, their look is quite distinctive. Dixie Dingos are excellent pets who form deep bonds with humans.

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Author Interview

1. Who are your favorite authors of all time?
J. D. Salinger, Cormac McCarthy, Lawrence Durrell, Jane Austin, Gustav Flaubert, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

2. If you could travel in a time machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Back to the past, especially the years leading up to the Civil War when steam power, the intercontinental railroad and other technological advances were changing the world in such a fundamental way.

3. If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain because its narrative voice is one of the most distinctive in all of world literature..

4. If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ernest Hemingway, Babe Ruth.

5. Have any hidden talents you would like to share?
Home and landscape design as reflected in our new home on the Inter-Coastal Waterway.  It replaces a family home destroyed in 2011 by Hurricane Irene.

6. Do the words come easily most of the time? How do you unblock your writer’s block?
They come easily most of the time, though I’ve grappled throughout my life with the blank page syndrome.  I used to be deeply frustrated when words refused to come; I’ve since learned such time is productively spent because the inner self is simply processing the subject matter at hand and how to proceed.

7. Which character is your favorite and why?
Not sure if this refers to characters in my recent book, Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog, or to all book characters.  If the former, it would definitely be Honey, who combines innocence with a knack for being worldly wise, who adapts bravely to new challenges and surroundings.  If the latter, I would say the Bertram Wooster in P.G. Wodehouse’s books because of his vanity and propensity to get himself into hilarious scrapes.

8. When it comes to writing, what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
Strong: Writing grounded by careful and comprehensive research; the ability to catch and hold reader interest.

Weaknesses: Unwillingness to take risks, to veer outside conventional plot structure or to explore unconventional solutions in storytelling.

9. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Novels most of all, followed by narrative history.  A good novel can create an alternative reality that provides deeper insights into character and circumstances than any fact-based rendition can possibly achieve.

10. How long does it take you to write a book?
My most recent took about a year.  My first, a narrative history, took two years – one of research and one of writing.  I have a draft novel that I started working on seven years ago, and I’m still not satisfied that it’s ready for publication.

About the Author
Allen began his career as a reporter with the Associated Press in Raleigh, NC. Later, he wrote speeches in Washington for a congressional committee chairman, a member of the president’s cabinet and the chairman of one presidential campaign. He was in Poland gathering material for his first book when the Berlin Wall fell. That book – Katyn: Stalin’s Massacre and the Triumph of Truth – became a bestseller in Eastern Europe. It earned warm praised from the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York Review of Books and many other media outlets.

He was a Fulbright Fellow in Poland in 2010-11 and collected material there for a novel based on a daring mission of the Polish underground at the end of World War Two. It will be published in 2015.

His first book for younger readers (middle grade) was inspired by his own dog, Honey, whose breed – the Dixie Dingo – is probably the oldest in North America.

Allen holds a B.A. degree in English with a minor in History from Guilford College, and a Masters of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University. He and his wife, Betsy, live in Raleigh and have two grown children.

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1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Honey the Dixie Dingo Dog: Champion of the Strays by Allen Paul.
1 Winner will receive a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.
Giveaway is open to International. Must be 13+ to Enter.

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