QPQ: Introduce us to the dog you’re sharing with us today.
Erin: That’s probably best done with the first two lines of my new book.
“Henry is a once-in-a-lifetime dog. Mostly because if you had two of him you’d probably shoot yourself.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love him. He can’t help it if he’s a disaster-prone canine catastrophe with megalomaniac tendencies.
His hobbies include distressing wood floors, threatening the mail truck, two-legged hopping about the yard (because he will one day fly into the tree and catch those mangy squirrels), and half-baked suicide attempts (vet ER clinic knows us by name).
Henry’s scar count: 17. And rising.
QPQ: Since you’re an author and you come up with names all the time, how did you come up with the name Henry?
Erin: Actually my hubby and I let the kids name him. They picked Henry Thomas Young for reasons we don’t know. The middle name, I’m guessing, came about because they wanted to have something formal to yell when Henry was in trouble. I’m not sure if that turned out to be coincidence, foresight, or causal. : )
QPQ: How does Henry help you in your writing?
Erin: It’s a fine line between helping and hurting. Most of Henry’s life, he’s had the hyperactive energy of half a dozen toddlers hooked on Mountain Dew, so his antics keep us in constant chaos. Sort of like living in a tornado. But that also contributes to the comedy I call my life. Not a bad thing for a humor writer.
On the other hand, to write said humor stories, I’ve had to resort to writing while I’m sitting on the living room floor with my dog literally pinned under my legs. In some warped way, he enjoys this, which makes me wonder if a doggie straightjacket would be a good purchase for us.
QPQ: Have you ever written one of your pets into a story?
Erin: Henry IS the story. At least for both my nonfiction humor books. : ) But in my fiction, I do like to include dogs. They’re always far more normal (probably an outlet for my wishful thinking), but I do give them a fun personality quirk.
QPQ: Tell us three things you and Henry have in common.
Erin: If I’m going to be honest, I’m just as messed up as my dog. I’m fine admitting that because anyone who reads my books will figure it out by page 2.
Let’s see, what else…we both like food way too much. Chocolate, in my case. And coffee. Chocolate coffee—even better. Henry, however, has a far less discriminating palate so that makes me feel superior.
Last issue (I mean, there are many, but we have limited space here), we both tend to take on anxieties over things we shouldn’t. In Henry’s case, it’s the daily reappearance of the mail truck, which Henry believes is out to kill us all. He has yet to realize that no amount of maniacal barking affects its course.
In my case, well, the economy, job security, fibromyalgia, chronic insomnia, launching my college-aged kids…I want to stress over them all, but no amount of militant worry or bald fear can affect them. They’re all in God’s hands, not mine. Which admittedly is a better plan—I don’t have the credentials to run the universe. Henry and I both agree on that.
A little more about today’s guest: Erin Taylor Young is an acquisitions editor and author liaison for Serenade Books, a publishing company she helped to found. Passionate about helping others embrace deep places with God, she teaches workshops about writing and publishing, produces podcasts, and is the co-creator of Write from the Deep and Live from the Deep with Karen Ball. She’s also an award-winning humor writer. Her book, Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe, has been repeatedly accused of making readers laugh until they cry. Learn more about Erin at erintayloryoung.com where she blogs about writing, God, and her aversion to spiders.
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