Guest Post: The Inspiration for Doggo by Mark B. Mills

Monday 1 December 2014
Today I'm excited to be kicking off the Waiting for Doggo blog tour with a short guest post from author Mark B. Mills about the inspiration for Doggo. Hope you enjoy and if you haven't read my review yet of this fantastic book you can do so here

One man. One dog. One big love. The perfect novel for anyone who loves MARLEY AND ME, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE or ONE DAY.

No-one ever called Dan a pushover. But then no-one ever called him fast-track either. He likes driving slowly, playing Sudoku on his iPhone, swapping one scruffy jumper for another. He's been with Clara for four years and he's been perfectly happy; but now she's left him, leaving nothing but a long letter filled with incriminations and a small, white, almost hairless dog, named Doggo. So now Dan is single, a man without any kind of partner whether working or in love. He's just one reluctant dog owner. Find a new home for him, that's the plan. Come on...everyone knows the old adage about the best laid plans and besides, Doggo is one special kind of a four legged friend...and an inspiration.

Where did you find the inspiration for Doggo?

I know exactly when and where Doggo came into being because I’ve just checked my old diary. It was almost exactly two years ago, on November 27th 2012, during a day-trip to London. I was having lunch with my old friend Jamie and mentioned that I’d recently read Frances Hodgson Burnett’s ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ for the first time. I’d been expecting a story about some privileged and objectionable little boy, but it was in fact a rather touching tale about the slow, building relationship between a cantankerous old gentleman, traumatised by grief, and his half-American grandson.

It reminded me in some ways of ‘Polyanna’ by Eleanor H. Porter, which shares a theme of a child’s transforming power over the curmudgeonly ways of adults. I joked to Jamie that someone should try the same thing with an animal: “Polyanna with a dog”. And that was that; we talked no more about it. But on the train back to Oxford I found I couldn’t shake the thought. Doggo was born on that train, and I began writing as soon as I got home, tentatively at first, testing it out (I was already writing another book). Once I’d started, however, I just kept going until I’d finished.

Those two novels may have triggered the idea, but it was P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster novels I kept in mind during the writing, especially the character of Jeeves: the silent partner, the man behind the scenes pulling the strings in ways you don’t fully understand at first. For me, Doggo has always been Jeeves to Dan’s Bertie.

Thanks to Mark B. Mills for the guest post!

Waiting for Doggo is out now, published by Headline. 

1 comment:

  1. I can relate to Doggo as if he were by my side. In fact he almost is... because my son rescued a funny little cross Chihuahua Min Pin who has been growing on me for two years although I was yearning for a glamorous saluki 'pre-grandchild.' But the affect this little dog-bundle has on people, on me and even on my cats is truly surprising. He loves everyone and nearly everyone responds to him - he has a weakness for blondes and the other day he charmed three blonde matrons in a row by climbing on their laps as one by one they sat beside us on the Number 10 from midtown to Kensington. Even so he's very ecumenical and the other night he dragged me along Stratford Road frantically to the Church: a
    congregation of Black families were enjoying the fine night outside. I stopped him from going into the church, so he greeted the women and girls with such delight and doggy entertainment that they invited us to come again. And he's the same with nearly everyone: workmen in hard hats, elderly disabled people, toddlers - dancing round and making people grin. He has occasional regal moments when he poses like the dogs in Egyptian tomb murals; sometimes he gazes into your eyes questioningly or with a reassuring Humphrey Bogart look. I could go on but don't want to bore you - I still want a saluki but the wealthy owner of one we often meet in Holland Park is full of praise for little Laz and says he'd have him in a minute. So you've nailed it: in dogs at least, beauty isn't everything. Thank you for writing Doggo: you've captured the essence of something very real and wonderful so I'm Waiting for a Sequel which I rarely do.


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