Welcome! Today we chat with another exceptional author, Jennifer Uhlarik, who tells us about her faithful writing companion.
JU: I have four pets—two dogs and two cats, but one of my dogs is my special writer dog. Her name is Gracie—a beautiful black lab mix whom we adopted from the Humane Society in the summer of 2009. My hubby wanted me to have a special dog, and one Saturday, we went to four different shelters in four counties to search for that special animal. Of course we found her in the last shelter, a half-hour before they closed. But it was love at first sight. She was 8 months old at the time, and the cutest girl I’d ever seen. Black coat with white toes, chin, and chest, huge ears, and a tail that curled over her back.
QPQ: How precious! Since you’re an author and you come up with names all the time, how did you come up with Gracie?
JU: The same way I come up with any character’s name. I search my naming sourcebooks for the perfect name. I make lists of names I like, trying them out until I find that right fit.
QPQ: You definitely found it! How does Gracie help you in your writing?
JU: Gracie is my writing companion. She watches for me to head toward my writing room, and as soon as she sees me turn in that direction, she bounds down the hall and takes up residence in the corner. She keeps me company, listening when I read my writing aloud, and wagging her tail as if she approves. Writing can be a solitary profession, so it helps to have another warm body nearby to keep me company in those quiet hours.
QPQ: She sounds so sweet! Have you ever written Gracie into a story?
JU: I haven’t yet, but I’ve been planning to for some time. Just haven’t found the right story.
QPQ: Tell us three things you and Gracie have in common.
JU: Three things we have in common…hmm. Well, for one, we both like our environments to be quiet. We both find noise to be distracting, so she makes a great companion for me—quiet and sedate most of the time. Second, we’re both sweet and gentle, but can be fierce when someone messes with those we love. Unfortunately in the seven years I’ve had Gracie, we’ve been attacked by neighborhood dogs a few times when out walking. But Gracie and our other dogs have held their own, protecting me and my husband. The last thing—I’m not sure it’s a trait we have in common, but Gracie is uncommonly attuned to my moods, more than any animal I’ve ever met. She can be napping in my writing room while I’m across the house, and the moment she hears my voice elevate into any kind of a passionate tone (be it excitement, anger, fear, cheering for a baseball game, or whatever), she comes to check on me. She’ll approach me slowly and either rest her chin or her paw on my leg, letting me know she’s there if I need her. And she’ll typically stay there until I tell her I’m okay. Then she’ll trot back to her napping spot until she’s needed again.
QPQ: Calm, protective, and loyal. What a girl! Thank you for sharing Gracie with us, Jennifer! We hope you’ll join us again soon. Where can readers connect with you and your books?
JU: I can be found at: