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Author Pet Of The Month
Jo Dixon

This month’s author is Jo Dixon, a debut Australian author who I met at the Romance Writer’s Conference of Australia. Jo’s novel, The House of Now and Then, is a compelling mix of mystery, love, and intrigue with twists aplenty.  Since its early February release it has been met with glowing reviews and rocketing up the charts. Jo lives in Tasmania, where the book is set in what looks like a pets’ paradise.  It was hard for her to pick which members of her menagerie to highlight. Dogs, ducks, chickens or cats? You can find Jo at https://www.jo-dixon.com/ 

The Fast Five.
Q1. Serial pet monogamist? Or ménage a pet?

We live on 25acres in Southern Tasmania and have managed to acquire a hoard of creatures who depend on us – most of them rescues, the offspring of rescues (I really should not have let that stray, lost ram in with my sweet, innocent ewes!), or wild ducks that have recognized that the domestic ducks on our pond are very well-fed.
However, to stop this from turning into a rambling account of farmyard antics and dramas, I’ll focus on the dogs (2) and cats (5). Which is still too many. Let’s narrow it down to Frankie the dog (blue heeler crossed with a Jack Russell and Corgi) and Frodo (the youngest cat – black, sleek and tiny)


Q2. Set the scene. – where do you hang out with your pet/s?

The dogs stick with me wherever I am, and whatever I’m doing.  In the garden, with dogs. In my writing studio, with dogs. In the kitchen, with dogs. On the sofa watching White Lotus or Emily in Paris, with dogs.
The cats wander into my presence whenever they need something. Unless I’m totally in the writing zone, then Frodo will try and sit on my keyboard. 

Q. 3 Pet character profile

Frankie thinks he’s the king of everyone and everything, and self-designated sheriff of the farmyard. If the ducks are fighting, he separates them. If the ducks are being a wee bit amorous, he separates them.  He is loyal, smart, and funny, with a tendency to obsession with inanimate objects.
Frodo was a tiny stray kitten, who is utterly fearless. He thinks it’s fun to hurl himself on the other cats while they’re sleeping and challenge them to mortal combat.


Q 4. Muse, distraction, or disruptor?
Frankie – not quite a muse, something of a distraction
Frodo – a complete disruptor..


Q 5 Best pet in a book?

Wasabi the sausage dog in Kim Lock’s The Other Side of Beautiful. Utterly heart-warming and highlights the value of the human-animal connection.


Part 2. Now we’re talking, or panting, or purring…
Questions for both author and pet where they answer for each other in alternating Point of View

1.    Favourite treat.
Jo: Pizza crusts for Frankie and bbq chicken for Frodo
Frodo: Licorice all-sort… I mean, what the hell is that thing?
Frankie: She likes the other end of the pizza.. with those mushrooms and vegetables and things.


2.    Their Worst habit.
Jo: Frodo thinks everyone should get out of bed and play at three am. 

Frankie likes to tell me loudly when someone has arrived. Even when I’m standing next to the visitor and trying to have a conversation.
Frodo: The woman with the food always forgets to feed me first!
Frankie: Jo is perfect. I love her. I wish she’d let me go and chase wallabies. Jo: eating possum poo when we leave the house

3.    Their best quality
Jo: Frodo will sit on my lap just watching the world go by.
Frankie has a special excited whine/bark that he uses when someone he knows returns – and he remembers everyone who has ever given him a snack or attention (including tradies who haven’t been to the house for three years!)
Frodo: She’s soft and cosy and feeds me.
Frankie: She’s soft and cosy and feeds me. And she takes me for walks in the bush so I can smell the wallabies.

4.    Bedroom truths.   Eg. On the bed, under the bed, next to the bed, closed bedroom door. 3 in the bed. ????
Jo: What can I say… it’s a big bed. 

Thankyou Jo for the low down on your author-pet life and we look forward to the next book.


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