Savannah “Van” Leone has loved Peter since the day they met. The problem is, Peter has loved Van’s best friend, Janie, since the moment they met. And now they’re walking down the aisle, with Van standing nearby in a Halloween orange bridesmaid dress, her smile as hollow as a jack-o-lantern. After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin-Tin-Tin, and does what any woman in her situation would do: She buys a German Shepherd over the internet.
The pocket-sized puppy Van is expecting turns out to be a clumsy, hundred-pound beast that only responds to Slovakian. Van is at the end of her rope—until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only living being who will always be loyal to her, no matter what. And thus begins a friendship that will alter Van’s life in ways she never imagined.
Joe leads Van to Dr. Alex Brandt, a rugged vet with floppy blond hair and winning smile. But just as things are starting to heat up, the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, forcing Van to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to have everything she ever wanted.
1. Lisa Steinke: What is your favorite thing about your novel?
Allie Larkin: Van. I know she’s not real, but I love her fiercely. She’s a character who almost wrote herself. I love the way she wears her feelings so close to the surface, and I love how earnest she is in her struggles. I also had a blast writing Diane. She always surprised me.
2. LS: What was your highest point while writing your book? Your lowest point?
AL: High: Working with my writing group. It’s an amazing thing to get to share work with other writers and watch their characters and stories grow.
Argo is a happy, healthy dog, these days. He’s also the cover model for the hardcover version of STAY.
3. LS: How did you come up with the title for your book?
AL: The original title for the book was SAVANNAH LEONE AND HER TRUSTY DOG JOE, which, for whatever reason, I thought was totally the most brilliant title ever. Luckily, it was made known to me that I’d need to choose a better title and I snapped out of my delusion. I was in Wegmans looking at book covers and noticing that a lot of them had one or two word titles. All of a sudden STAY popped into my head, and I knew it was the title.
4. LS: If you could see one celebrity reading your book, who would it be?
The correct answer is Oprah, right?
I have to admit that I’m obsessed with Amy Poehler, and would probably pass out if I ever found that out she read STAY.
5. LS: What is the last book you read? What is the next book you want to read?
AL: I just finished The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagán, which is a beautiful look at the complexities of love and friendship. I’m reading Two Years, No Rain by Shawn Klomparens right now. Shawn is one of my favorite writers. His characters feel like people I know.
6. LS: What is the best compliment you've received about your book?
AL: When I get an e-mail from a reader saying that they stayed up way too late because they couldn’t put STAY down, I always tear up a little bit. I love it so much when a book grabs me that way, so it’s surreal and wonderful to have written something other readers feel that way about.
8. LS: What is the oldest piece of clothing in your closet? AL: Oh, this is embarrassing. I have a pair of Converse from high school. I graduated in 1995, and I think I had them as a freshman. I wore them when I went shopping with my friend Jules last year and my socks were sticking to the rubber on the insoles because the lining had worn away. She made me buy a new pair of Converse right then and there. I don’t wear the old ones anymore, but I still love them. I can’t bring myself to throw them away yet.
AL: I have an essay about our other dog, Stella, in I'M Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious Heartwarming Tales about Man's Best Friend from America's Favorite Humorists, out in September. And I am working on a couple of projects right now with brand new characters, but someday I’d really like to check in and see what Van is up to. I have ideas for her.