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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Welcome, Nancy Castaldo

I love it when author friends stop by. Nancy and I met last fall when we go-assisted at a Highlights Historical Fiction Whole Novel retreat. (Here's our fun group.)

Now she has a book coming- in a few days!- about a subject near to my heart: DOGS!

But not just any dog. 
These are special creatures, working dogs. Shelter dogs, Sniffers extraordinaire!

So sit with us and pour an iced tea. Feel free to jump in with questions for Nancy in the comments section.

You can also pop over to her website:

Augusta: How did you find these amazing dog subjects? Did you actually get to meet them all?

Nancy: That was the best part of the research, Augusta. These dogs were amazing and I felt so lucky to spend time with them.  It took a lot of research to connect with some, but I had serendipitous meetings with a few. Like, Rocky, for example. I met him while he was working in my local shopping mall. I felt like I was witnessing something incredible every time I went off with one of them. And to think most of them had been abandoned in shelters before their sniffer dog careers!

Augusta: I love the genre of non-fiction picture books. Any advice for an aspiring writer?

Nancy: Write about something you are passionate about and let that passion shine through in your writing.  Enjoy your research and make it count. Research is the main ingredient in writing nonfiction.  It can be easy to get lost in it. 

Augusta: Ah, research. Yes, easy to get lost.
I know you take a lot of your own photographs. Can you tell us your own background, how you came into this type of writing and illustrating?

Nancy: In my senior year of college I interned at Audubon Magazine. It was the perfect internship for me. I was finishing a double major in biology and chemistry, was co-editor of our literary magazine and was a photography student.  The internship combined everything I loved.  I stayed for the full year and realized I wanted to ultimately combine writing and photography. This is the first book that I have been able to do that and it’s been a fantastic experience.

Augusta: The story of the medical sniffers and Zack’s dog Alan was one of my favorites. Is there anything you left out of these dogs’ stories that you wish you could have kept? Anything your readers might like to know?

Nancy: Sniffer dogs are all wonderful, hard working dogs. I only wish I could have included more of them in this book. My intent was to have the reader meet each type of sniffer dog and really get to know them. I hope I accomplished that.

Augusta: You did that so well. Tell us, what are you working on now?

Nancy: I’m working on another book for Houghton Mifflin about seeds that has taken me as far as Russia for research. It will be out next year!

Augusta: Seeds! Wow. Intriguing topic. So Nancy, we'd like to know- what do you read for fun?

Nancy: Just about everything! I love all genres of kid lit, but I do have a leaning towards historical fiction.  I’m a reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and have the opportunity to dive into many great books. I also love to read nonfiction – both adult and kids.

Augusta: Why am I not surprised you like historical fiction?

Where’s your favorite place to write? Are you a coffeeshop kind of gal?

Nancy: I love working in my home office. I live in a rural area and can see everything from birds and deer out my window to rows of corn.  And I have two great office buddies, my 90 pound golden doodle, Gatsby, and my cat, Zuzu, to keep me company. They also happen to be the best first listeners! :)

Augusta: You are blessed! Have you always loved dogs and had pets?

Nancy: Yes!  I had everything when I was a kid – rabbits, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, frogs, salamanders, birds, as well as a dogs and cats. In fact, I volunteered in our local animals shelter for years. I thought I’d end up being a vet, but found I enjoyed working with animals in the wild a lot more!

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today, Augusta. This has been fun!  

 Thank you for stopping by, Nancy. 

Leave us a comment about your dog, Nancy's book, the amazing service dogs and all the special animals in your lives.
And don't forget to check out SNIFFER DOGS, ready to order right now!

A link to the excellent KIRKUS review, with ordering info is RIGHT HERE.


Kathy Wiechman said...

I can't wait to read Nancy's book and I loved reading your interview.

Rosi said...

This is a wonderful book. All kids will surely enjoy it, but a lot of adults will as well. Thanks for an interesting interview.

Augusta Scattergood said...

Thanks, Kathy. I know you'll like the book!