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Made with ❤ in Australia
March Author+Pet of the Month. You guessed it, a debut crime writer, the very versatile and talented Ashley Kalagian-Blunt.
Like many crime writers Ashley Kalagian-Blunt left her country- of- origin (Canada) for Down-Under, which naturally turned her to a life of writing crime. But before we totally drove her to exploring the dark side she also published two works of non-fiction, How to Be Australian – a warm funny insightful memoir on adopting the ways of life Downunder and My Name is Revenge, a novella and collected essays with the common theme of the Armenian genocide (not quite so cheery, and very much swept under the rug of history). Her debut crime novel Dark Mode released on March 1. It’s a psychological thriller set in the murky world of the Dark Web. I loved it and it woud make for a great bookclub discussion as there is plenty of food for thought. If that’s not enough versatility, Ashley also co-hosts a podcast, James and Ashley Stay at Home which focuses on both writing and living with a chronic illness. Also, highly recommend for writers, readers, and anyone struggling with a body or mind that does not want to play nice.
Author Questions. The Fast Five.
Q1. Serial pet monogamist? Or ménage a pet?
While I wish I had at least five dogs and a dozen chinchillas, as an adult I’ve only been able to have one pet, my dear Hachi, AKA Patchy, AKA Little Beast, who my husband and I pet-sat during covid. We agreed to look after him for three months starting June 2020. Three months stretched into two years, and we the three of us formed our own dog pack – Small Dog (Patches), Medium Dog (me), and Large Dog (my husband). Little Beast was there all through the writing of Dark Mode.
Q2. Set the scene. – where do you hang out with your pet/s?
Patch-patch loved snuggling into office chair wheels. This was the only time he would voluntarily put himself in patting proximity. Otherwise, he wanted to be in the same room as the pack, but just out of patting distance.
Q3 Pet character profile
Attitude: In charge. In no way a lap dog. Will accept pats in exchange for chicken treaties. Will NOT fetch. Prefers a slow motion chase. Loves to sleep in as late as possible.
Goal: As many chicken treaties as one little beast can devour.
Obstacle: Limited access to the chicken treatie cupboard despite repeatedly pawing at the door and looking pointedly at other members of the dog pack.
Subgoals: Watermelon, superball, all the dog pack going to bed together.
Passionately detests: German shepherds, Samoyeds, chow chows, huskies, bikes, skateboards, wheelchairs, people in hats.
Q 4. Muse, distraction, or disruptor?
Major distraction – the cuteness is unbearable, the snuffling sighs, the tiny snores, the way he’ll roll on his back and turn his little front paws up in the air, or curl up like a croissant, and then stretch stretch stretch before flopping back to sleep.
Q 5 Best pet in a book?
I’ve always been partial to Clifford the Big Red Dog, mainly because I want a pet I can both snuggle with and ride on.
Part 2. Now we’re talking, or panting, or purring…
Ashley: A special treat is watermelon (his favourite cafe serves him a bowl of it).
Little Beast: Often she eats chicken and doesn’t even give me any!
Their worst habit
Ashley: No contest – rolling in dead fish and bird excrement.
Little Beast: SHE’S OBSESSED WITH PATTING! OBSESSED!!
Their best quality
Ashley: THE UNBEARABLE CUTENESS! I JUST WANT TO SQUEEZE HIM!
Little Beast: The rare moment she’s not attempting to pat me.
Ashley: Our bed is too high for Patch to jump on and off of, so he sleeps beside us, but secretly I wish he was snuggled in under the covers.
Little Beast: I stomp off to bed with my tail down after eight, but none of the pack comes with me, especially the Largest Dog, whom I love the most and without whom I am distraught. So I stomp back to the room where my pack is and wait. For a time I slept on the floor beside the Medium Dog, but as I have been cruelly stepped on in the darkened bedroom, I now only sleep beside the Largest Dog, who would never ever ever step on a small dog.
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