Every dog walk brings new drama into the lives of these dogs
and their people. A supermarket shelf-stacker, a stay-at-home dad, an elderly
widow and a freelance photographer sound an unlikely bunch of friends but they have
one thing in common: they all walk their dogs in Beauville Park at roughly the
same time each morning.
And that’s enough for Angela, bored organiser without a cause, to get them together to form the Dog-walking Club. For Jock, the Scottie, Benji the spaniel, Pixie the boxer, Mitzi the poodle and Bassett the … all sorts, walking each day with their friends is a dream come true. And it changes the lives of widowed Sybil who’s spent a lifetime hiding her secret sorrow, hopeless-with-women Jon who’s wandering almost unwittingly into an affair, freelance photographer Jemma who is at every wedding but her own, and Maggi who is frantically trying to save money to visit her family in Australia.
And for long-suffering Angela, a nasty shock turns into a new start in disguise for her and her husband – and their love life.
Author Interview – Liz Hinds – The Dog-walking Club
What inspired you to write a story about a dog walking club?
The idea came from my husband. At the time we were taking it in turns to walk George, our dog, and he’d always come back telling me gossip he’d heard from other dog-walkers. This was unusual because he isn’t a chatterer normally – and I go out of my way to avoid people. It’s not what we do! But telling me about various walkers he always saw together gave him the idea that it would make a theme for a book.
There are many different characters in your story, do you draw your characters from real life, your imagination, or are they a mix of both? How do you make your characters realistic?
A bit of both. I think they often start off as real-life characters but they develop their own personalities, especially as I tend to use people who have a particular look but whom I don’t know very well – if at all – so they’re blank canvasses.
I think dialogue is key to realism.
Although sometimes I suspect I write as I talk – including the ums and ers –
and get a bit waffly. (I hope I edit most of this out.) I ‘hear’ my characters
speaking and I try to capture that.
When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?
as definite as a plot but more of a vague idea. The idea for my first novel,
This Time Next Year, the diary of a middle-aged woman, came to me when I was
nearly fifty and struggling with life as a middle-aged woman, and I’ve
explained where The Dog-walking Club originated. Characters and the stories
within the novels come later but, honestly, I don’t really know where any of it
What made you decide to become a writer and why does this genre appeal to you?
took the science route in school and only started writing when I was in my
thirties and the church I was part of began its own newspaper. In a peculiar
twist, as a result of that, I ended up ghost-writing the autobiography of a
NYPD cop. I then started writing short stories, did a Master’s degree in
Creative Writing and eventually made my way into novel writing.
collection of short stories for my dissertation could have been entitled
Madness and Death because I do enjoy that sort of disturbed writing, but as my
tutor said, ‘You build up a wonderful tragic moment – and then you put in a
joke.’ I love the novels of Janet Evanovich for their humour and I think being
able to make people laugh is such a wonderful thing. The Dog-walking Club
doesn’t contain direct humour but I hope there is a lightness to it.
What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?
Many sorts. I usually read last thing at night so it has to be fairly easy to read. I read fiction especially, what might be termed quirky. I’m thinking of Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Sends Her Regrets and Apologises. That sort of thing. The Reader on the 6.27 and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. That said, I also loved Backman’s Beartown, which was very different. I love Simon Brett mysteries, Jacqueline Winspear; do you want me to go on?
What’s the best thing about being a writer and the worst?
The worst is easy: trying to find a
publisher/agent. I was going to say, ‘having hope’ is the worst but that sounds
too depressing! And the best thing is the dreaming, thinking, creating. The
actual writing’s quite hard as it’s never as good on screen as it sounded in my
What are you currently writing?
A sequel to This Time Next Year.
Several people said they wanted to know what the heroine did next. Looking back
I realise that I expected my book to sell with no marketing or promotion so I’m
trying to change things this time, hence the albeit belated blog tour for The
Dog-walking Club, and at the moment my plan is to make a serialised podcast of
the original This Time Next Year before the publication of the sequel.
So many great plans. So little
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Any book that features animal characters, always has my attention and this one is certainly worthy of my interest. The characters are varied and realistic, and the antics of the dog characters are amusing and relatable for anyone who shares their life with a dog.
‘The Dog- Walking Club’ is created by Angela, someone who likes to organise. She notices that a group of individuals walk their dogs at the same time each day, after a while, she suggests formalising their meeting and the after much discussion, and qualms the club is born.
There is plenty of variety and background information in this story, which is told from several points of view. The reasons people have their dog companions, and what is wrong, and right in their lives are all revealed in an easy, chatty writing style that draws you into the group.
There is a lovely balance of sad and happy, and of course, the dogs are the stars of the book.
A lovely, mostly lighthearted look at dog owners and their dogs.
I’m a golden-retriever-loving granny, who
enjoys walking by the sea or in the woods, who eats too much chocolate and gets
over-excited when the Welsh team plays rugby.
Writing-wise, I am an experienced freelance
writer – published in The Guardian, Christian Herald and various other
magazines and newspapers – with an MA in Creative Writing (Trinity College,
University of Wales). My short stories have been published in Cambrensis
(the now sadly-defunct short story magazine of Wales) as well as in several
anthologies including Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe (Parthian) and Catwomen
from Hell (Honno). I am also the author of several non-fiction books
published by Hodder & Stoughton, Scripture Union and Kevin Mayhew.
I have self-published two novels, This
Time Last Year, and The Dog-walking
I enjoy speaking about my writing to various gatherings and the media and I am an active blogger, facebooker and tweeter.
My everyday blog
My writing blog
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