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melissas
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Registered: ‎05-25-2009
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18


Garth-Stein wrote:

 


melissas wrote:

Hello Garth!

 

Like everyone else here wanting to chat with you, I absolutely adored The Art of Racing in the Rain. In my experience, it's been rare to find an adult book narrated by a dog. I've been lucky enough to find a few, starting many years ago with Paul Auster's Timbuktu, up to the fairly recent Dog On It by Spencer Quinn. What inspired you to write a novel with a dog narrator? As far as I'm concerned, dogs enhance every aspect of our lives, and I wish I could find more books like yours...tender, compelling, and unexpected.

 

By the way, are there any dog books that have influenced you?

 

Best of luck with your forthcoming book!

Melissa


Melissa,

I haven't been influenced by other dog books because I haven't read any of them.  Enzo, the narrator, came to me and that's the book I wrote.  It's funny.  I never even thought of him as a dog, honestly.  He was my character.

 

Sometimes I think people should holster their weapons when they criticize fiction on the basis of who's narrating or some device the author is using.  It's fiction.  It's make-believe.  The point isn't *how* we do it, but whether we do a good job doing it!

What we're supposed to do is stretch the boundaries and try new things.  I mean, if it doesn't jibe with you, that's okay.  But to invent rules like "you can't write an adult book narrated by a dog," is like saying, "you can't eat a hamburger with mayonnaise."  Well, you CAN.  Maybe it's not your taste, but people do it all the time.  What we shouldn't do is shut down creativity and differences because we don't feel comfortable trying different things.

 

Well said! I am glad that you didn't let the potential for criticism stop you...having Enzo as a narrator is part of what really drew me into the book. I thought it was quite clever and related to it on a very personal level, and like you said, it's fiction. I find that the best fiction I have read stretches boundaries, and book reviewers who don't appreciate that should try writing a book that readers (and other critics!) will applaud.

 

Thanks for your time,

Melissa

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brontyman
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

Hey G,

I know that Enzo came to you as a voice in your head that had a story to tell. Is that voice still there or did it go silent when the story was told?

B-man

Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
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Bethanne
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

HA, Garth, no your comments were not too harsh. 

 

Here's another question for me (although I know there are several in the queue!): What is the biggest lesson you learn from writing this book?

 

Bethanne

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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

[ Edited ]

Hi All,

 

If you haven't watched this trailer yet, you're in for a real treat. Enjoy!

 

Garth: did you have any influence on the direction of this? What do you think of the trailer?

 

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melissas
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

I love the trailer! It encompasses exactly what I love about Enzo, his ability to be more humane than many of us.

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3EandMe
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Registered: ‎09-15-2009
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

Hello from your "Uber Fans" in Katy, Texas.  We are still reflecting on your visit this summer and how to make ARR applicable in the junior high classroom.  Is there any news on the Reader's Digest version of ARR?  We are also curious as to when a podcast of your comparative discussion of The Call of the Wild and ARR will be available. 

 

Garth, we are looking forward to the movie version of ARR.  Don't forget, you said we are at the top of your second tier.

 

Manifestingly yours,

Carol, Melody, Amber, and Rebecca

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onespiffymom65
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Registered: ‎09-16-2009
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

Hi Garth! 

 

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed ARR. Since I grew up in the Puget Sound area, I loved the familiar references to people and places. Having Enzo as the narrator made the story take on a completely new perspective. I have to admit that I look at my dogs differently as a result (and yes, I know that it is a work of fiction). The ending, especially was incredible...I sobbed like a child while driving home from work. No questions, just thank you for writing such a great book! 

 

Renee 

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Garth-Stein
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

 


brontyman wrote:

Hey G,

I know that Enzo came to you as a voice in your head that had a story to tell. Is that voice still there or did it go silent when the story was told?

B-man


 

 

Interesting question.  I think I would have to say that I hear the voice and have great affection for the voice, but the voice has left my head.  I'm just a reader of Enzo now.  I'm a follower.  It was certainly different when I was his "creator" or "channeler."  I hope is something similar to a child going off on his or her own as a grown-up.  I'm still here and I'm happy to help with readings and interviews, but Enzo is out there making friends on his own.  I'm still his dad, and no one can take that away from me, but I understand that other people will fall in love with him, too, and that makes me happy.

 

G

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Garth-Stein
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

 


Bethanne wrote:

HA, Garth, no your comments were not too harsh. 

 

Here's another question for me (although I know there are several in the queue!): What is the biggest lesson you learn from writing this book?

 

Bethanne


 

 

There is a quote in the book attributed to Julian SabellaRosa, a racing champion:  "When I am racing, my mind and my body are working so quickly and so well together, I must be sure not to think, or else I will defiinitely make a mistake." 

 

I think that's a valuable lesson for writers, too.  Sometimes you have to trust your subconscious to do what it needs to do.  Sometimes thinking too much can get in the way of inspiration.

 

And, by the way, Julian SabellaRosa is my 7-year-old nephew, and he doesn't drive....

 

G

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Garth-Stein
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

 


PaulH wrote:

Hi All,

 

If you haven't watched this trailer yet, you're in for a real treat. Enjoy!

 

Garth: did you have any influence on the direction of this? What do you think of the trailer?

 



 

 

Yes!  I made it!  I wrote it, directed it, and shot the 16mm film portions of it.  That's my dog, Comet, running in the park down the street from my house.  That's Jenn Risko, a dear friend (and publisher of Shelf Awareness, a publishing trade newsletter), and her daughter. 

 

I have to thank Red Bull for allowing me to use that fantastic Formula One footage of their cars in Bahrain. 

 

And I have to credit my friend and film maker, David Jolosky, for his studio shoot and great editing and post production work. 

 

(Oh, and the Mongolia footage was provided by National Geographic, of course!)

 

G

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Garth-Stein
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

 


3EandMe wrote:

Hello from your "Uber Fans" in Katy, Texas.  We are still reflecting on your visit this summer and how to make ARR applicable in the junior high classroom.  Is there any news on the Reader's Digest version of ARR?  We are also curious as to when a podcast of your comparative discussion of The Call of the Wild and ARR will be available. 

 

Garth, we are looking forward to the movie version of ARR.  Don't forget, you said we are at the top of your second tier.

 

Manifestingly yours,

Carol, Melody, Amber, and Rebecca


 

 

Uh-oh, the crazies are out....

 

I haven't heard yet about the condensed version yet.  I know Reader's Digest is having some difficulty right now, but I'll post it on Facebook when I hear.  And yes, I do hope to refine the "Buck and Enzo" talk and do the podcast. Maybe this will spark me to finish it for you.  (Thanks for giving me more work to do!)  And don't worry, when things start cooking with the movie, I'll keep you all up to date.  Though my red carpet passes are very limited in number! 

 

Oh, and The Enzo Store is now up on my site, and we have shirts inspired by the Katy,Texas crew!  ("I *heart* Enzo")  Still waiting for delivery on the dancing zebra coffee mugs, but I'm told soon....

 

Great to hear from you!

 

The day after I was at your school, I was in Austin and went to the Salt Lick for lunch (of course!).  That was some good barbecue!

 

G

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Garth-Stein
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

 


onespiffymom65 wrote:

Hi Garth! 

 

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed ARR. Since I grew up in the Puget Sound area, I loved the familiar references to people and places. Having Enzo as the narrator made the story take on a completely new perspective. I have to admit that I look at my dogs differently as a result (and yes, I know that it is a work of fiction). The ending, especially was incredible...I sobbed like a child while driving home from work. No questions, just thank you for writing such a great book! 

 

Renee 


 

 

Thanks! 

 

Someone had threatened to start a discussion about the last chapter and the epilogue.  Are we going that direction?

 

G

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brontyman
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

B-man is ready to discuss!

Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
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Garth-Stein
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

 


brontyman wrote:

B-man is ready to discuss!


 

 

Looks like we're the only ones here, Brontyman....

 

Tap-tap-tap (hear the hollow echo of tapping in the hallway).

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brontyman
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

Hey G,

Never really alone. As some one told Mulder in the XFiles once, "There is always somebody watching..."

As I have now read all your novels I see a  recurrent treads. It has helped me understand Enzo by reading your previous work...

The first read of ARR I was a little perplexed by the epilogue because I felt the last chapter was closure enough for me. However, the line from Evan you quoted earlier in this discussion, about two souls knowing each other, seemed to make the epilogue essential to ARR in that Denny and Enzo have never really parted. Was this your intention, and the thread of souls knowing each other before a tread in your universe?

When I first read that line in Evan, a wonderful line by the way, I thought that you were referencing the way you met and feel about your wife. When I saw in the context of the epilogue of ARR, I see it as a central theme in your work as in also appears in Raven.

B- man

Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
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Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

 

Wow! Very nice work, Garth.


Garth-Stein wrote:

 

 



Yes!  I made it!  I wrote it, directed it, and shot the 16mm film portions of it.  That's my dog, Comet, running in the park down the street from my house.  That's Jenn Risko, a dear friend (and publisher of Shelf Awareness, a publishing trade newsletter), and her daughter. 

 

I have to thank Red Bull for allowing me to use that fantastic Formula One footage of their cars in Bahrain. 

 

And I have to credit my friend and film maker, David Jolosky, for his studio shoot and great editing and post production work. 

 

(Oh, and the Mongolia footage was provided by National Geographic, of course!)

 

G


 

 

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brontyman
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Registered: ‎07-02-2008
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

Hey G!

You've been discussing every aspect of ARR over the past year. I really doubt that there is a question we can ask that has not been put forth before. Can you offer an insight into the story, characters,plot that you feel has missed examination? For me it would be the epilogue, but I differ to the author.

B-man

Michael

"I don't need to fight to prove I'm right. I don't need to be forgiven..."
Baba O'Reilly-The Who
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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

You aren't alone.  :smileywink:  Some of us are at work, checking in at break or lunch times. I loved the way you ended the book. Yes, I cried a lot, but then found the hope and joy you really wanted to leave us with. At least, that is my take on your ending. <grin>


Garth-Stein wrote:

 


brontyman wrote:

B-man is ready to discuss!


 

 

Looks like we're the only ones here, Brontyman....

 

Tap-tap-tap (hear the hollow echo of tapping in the hallway).


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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3EandMe
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

The "crazies" are always up for more ARR discussion. We would love to hear more about how/when you decided to write the epilogue. 

 

We LOVE the new Enzo Store, especially the "I *heart* Enzo" shirts. Don't you think the domino necklaces would be popular, too?  Still waiting for greeting cards...let us know if you need with that too. :smileyhappy:

 

 

Your biggest fans,

The crazies from Katy, TX

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Garth-Stein
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Re: Garth Stein, September 14-18

Okay, here's the background on the epilogue...

 

When I wrote the first draft, the book eneded with Enzo and the golden fields.  There was no Imola, Italy chapter.  I sent it to my agent, who promptly rejected the book.  So I looked around for a new agent, and had a flirtation with a big agent who really, really liked it, but ultimately turned it down because it "wasn't doggie enough."  

 

So I thought, maybe it's because people won't buy the idea that Enzo can think.  He's too smart.  So people don't like it.  I thought, maybe if Enzo had already passed-on to the Great Fields in the Sky, maybe if he were narrating from Doggie Heaven, people would get it.  I mean, if he's a Dog Angel waiting to return to earth as a Man, surely, he could think complicated thoughts, right?

 

Perfect, I thought.  And if he is a Doggie Angel, that means the end of the book is him coming back to earth as a person!  Aha!  So I dashed off the Imola Ending.  That's pretty good, I thought! 

 

I went back to the beginning and started rewriting the book from Doggie Heaven.  I got two chapters in, read it over, and realized it totally sucked.  It was awful.  The worst!  I said then: I will not compromise!  Enzo is a thinking philosopher dog, and that's what I'm going with, and I'm either going to win this race or run out of gas on the last lap, but I'm not going to mess with what I think works!

 

But, I thought, I kind of like the epilogue.....  So I kept it.

 

Now, some people have criticized the epilogue as being too "Hollywood" or commercial, of wrapping things up too neatly.  I understand their complaint.  There is something poignant about Enzo running off into the fields and us not knowing if there's a new world out there for him or if we really live in an Existential black hole. 

 

Still, I think in this day and age, with the social and economic climate that we're in, we would all like a little hope.  More people have liked the epilogue than have not liked it, to be sure.  But I definitely see how it could go either way, and I'm curious what you think.

 

Garth