About the Book
SANTA’S DOG would be a great addition to any library or classroom reading program! To accompany this book, we have developed full teacher resources, including a Teacher Lesson Plans packet as well as an Activity Packet, both of which are available for FREE download from the Dogs & Books website. JoAnn also offers FREE virtual author visits to schools. Additional information about all of these resources can be found here.
About the AuthorJoAnn Sky has written for years as part of her job (business and marketing plans and the like). One day she tried her hand at writing for fun—and liked it. Now she authors adult contemporary romance and young adult romance with a magical twist as well as children’s books. She is a two-time Golden Heart® finalist and a member of Romance Writers of America. Originally from the Midwest, JoAnn currently lives in northern Nevada with her husband a.k.a. love of her life, three teenage children, and three crazy rescue dogs.
Author Interview1. How did you decide that you wanted to write a children’s book?
I didn’t start out wanting to or trying to write a children’s book. I started out writing a short story that I thought I’d use on my author website to encourage readers to sign up for my newsletter. The story came out rhyming (it just seemed natural that way), and I loved it so much I decided it needed illustrations. One thing led to another…. Dogs & Books (my publishing company) was born… and now I’m planning an entire series of “Santa’s Dog” books!
2. What is your favorite part about the Christmas holiday?
That’s easy: decorating the tree with my kids! Growing up, we didn’t decorate our tree with matching ornaments. Our tree was filled with eclectic ornaments my mom had collected over the years—and then as my sister and I grew up, the collection of ornaments grew to include those we’d receive as gifts. When I grew up and left home, my mom packed up all of “my” ornaments and gave them to me, so that I’d have a start for my own tree. Once married, I continued decorating the tree with these ornaments (and expanding the collection every year). And now that we have kids, each have their own box of ornaments that grows every year. We’ve got too many ornaments for our tree now, but certain ornaments always “make the cut” and get on the tree—like my Chip & Dale chipmunks from 1976. Plus, these two friends must always hang next to each other!
3. What inspired the idea for Santa’s Dog? Is the dog in the story based off a dog you know or completely from your imagination?
Santa’s Dog was initially inspired by our first rescue dog, a husky-mix named Sampson. When my husband was deployed to Iraq, I had a hard time sleeping in the two-story house we had just moved into prior to hubby’s deployment. So, I decided to adopt a dog to keep me company! The kill-shelter I went to told me Sampson was three years old, though I suspect he might have been a bit older because he was so laid back. He was the absolute Best. Dog. Ever.
It was after my husband returned home that I realized that Sampson always took a while to come to me when I called him. I decided there must be something wrong with his hearing and took Sampson to the vet (I mean, what other reason could there possibly be for a dog not to listen, right?) The vet very kindly explained that Sampson was a “northern breed” dog, and that his behavior was typical of a northern breed—that they like to do things on their own time (including, apparently, coming when called). I shared this information with my husband when I got home, and he replied, “Northern dog? Maybe he’s Santa’s dog and got lost from the North Pole!”
That evening over a glass of wine, my husband and I plotted out the storyline of a dog who got lost from Santa, ended up with a military family, and then had to decide whether to stay with the family or return with Santa to the North Pole. For the next decade, I kept telling myself that I would someday write out that story. Well, I finally did!
4. Do you have any other projects currently in the works? What can you tell us about it?
I have another small-town contemporary romance coming out by the end of the year with Entangled Bliss publishing. It is the 2nd in the A BIGGEST-LITTLE LOVE STORY series and takes place in Reno. The first, NO COWBOY REQUIRED, was released this past May. I love this story because I was able to weave in Reno’s wild horses, which are so beautiful and majestic. Unfortunately, all of the new housing developments are taking away their land.
Another project of course, is a second “Santa’s Dog” book next year. Soon there will be an entire series of Santa’s Dog books!
Behind the Scenes Facts About the Book1. Lance in the story is a combination of two rescues we’ve been lucky to have as part of our family over the years: Sampson and Lance. Sampson was our first rescue, and I adopted him from a kill-shelter while my husband was deployed to Iraq about 15 years ago. Lance was a wonderful older dog who spent about five years with us. Lance crossed the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year.
2. This story didn’t start out intending to be a children’s book. I began writing this as a short story that I thought I’d give to readers to encourage them to sign up for my author newsletter. As I wrote it out, it would only come out in rhyme—it just didn’t seem to work any other way. Then once I was done, I had a huge desire to add illustrations. The whole thing just snowballed after that!
3. The illustration of Santa going to pick up Lance and finding the shelter closed initially didn’t have the cardinal or the cat. I thought it needed “a little something,” so Ed Koehler (the most awesome illustrator in the world) added the cardinal. But it still seemed to need something! I asked Ed if he would add an animal peeking through the window. He wasn’t convinced it was necessary but added a cat. We both loved it, so that cat got to stay!
4. For the illustration of when Lance packs his things and waits for Santa, I had this vision with his dish on his head. I’m pretty sure Ed thought I was nuts when I first described it. But then he added the photo of the kids, and it was absolutely perfect!
5. SANTA’S DOG would not exist in its final form as a beautiful hardcover with dust jacket if I had not purchased Bobbie Hinman’s book, “How to Create a Successful Children’s Picture Book.” Bobbie is a successful author and editor. Her book is the bible for writing and publishing a children’s book. Seriously.
Blog Hop Schedule
October 9-Emily Yager | My Book a Day | Cafinated Reads
October 10-Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen | Remembrancy
October 11-Why Not? Because I Said So!
October 12-Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic
October 13-Maiden of the Pages | Paulette’s Papers | Blooming with Book