Posts Tagged ‘reader questions’

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November 21st, 2020 Posted 7:42 am

Last Saturday we invited reader questions and so many great ones came in! We’ve been answering at a pace that must seem glacial to you but the plan is to get to at least most of them – some are very similar. Anyway, Andrea Boughton writes:

“Why did you start out clearly describing Arizona but not naming it until several books in?”

Love this question! It has two answers. First, Chet may hear things from time to time without putting them together as we would. But then something might happen and it all clicks. So in the first 5 books (and remember the series can be read in any order!) the name Arizona is not mentioned. Then in The Sound and the Furry, where Chet and Bernie take a case in Louisiana, someone hearing Bernie speak asks where he’s from and Bernie says, “Arizona.”
And now we come to answer number two. There on page 93 of the 6th book I got to write: “Ha! We were from Arizona? I’d wondered about that.” You can’t imagine how much fun I had doing that! So – first, it’s about staying true to Chet’s point of view. And second it’s self-indulgence on my part. Please forgive.

 

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November 19th, 2020 Posted 7:38 am

And now back to reader questions from Saturday. Carole Merrille writes: ‘How, when, & where (if you remember) did you come up with the phrase “The Nation Within”? I absolutely love that phrase & think it should be common, so common that everyone in every language uses it & all know what it means.’

Answer: The nation within the nation is how Bernie (the human detective in the canine-narrated Chet and Bernie series) describes the dog population of our country. The idea first comes up in Dog On It (first in the series, although they can be read in any order) in chapter 12: “That was one of Bernie’s ideas – we were a nation inside of a nation.” The phrase “the nation within” first appears in chapter 5 of book 2, Thereby Hangs A Tail. And now, Carole, for the disappointing part – it just popped into my head as I was typing away. But I suppose the knowledge that the US dog population was between 70 and 80 million was in the background somewhere.

 

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November 17th, 2020 Posted 8:26 am

On Saturday over on the FB page, we invited reader questions and this week we’re going through them. Cheri Hamlett wrote:

“Oh, I think Bernie should unload the Hawaiian pants for a song and the person who buys them makes a fortune selling them to hipsters after they see one of their idols wearing them. Typical Bernie luck.”

Answer: For those unfamiliar with the Chet and Bernie series, the finances of the Little Detective Agency are on shaky ground, partly because of Bernie’s investment in Hawaiian pants, which have failed to catch on. Cheri – your idea is brilliant! Not only because it’s so on point and fun, but it could probably become a plot element that advances the story, always a good thing, in my opinion.

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November 16th, 2020 Posted 8:01 am

Over on the FB page on Saturday we invited reader questions and this week we’ll get to them. How about we start with Beth Grotton Werner, who writes: “I would just like Bernie to be safe, happy, and comfortably wealthy.”

Answer: And so would I, and not just for Bernie. But also for you and you and you, and even me! Two things: First, my mother, who taught me most of what I know about writing, believed in making things hard for the protagonist (the agon Greek root is all about contest.) Second, is it possible that there is at least one thing more important to Bernie than the three Beth mentioned? I believe there is, even if he couldn’t articulate it. I won’t spell it out because that’s an aversion of mine, but it’s a 7 letter word beginning with J.

More answers tomorrow – unless this is too boring.

 

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