Q & A with Kate Klimo: DOG DIARIES – BUDDY

author of Dog Diaries #2: Buddy

buddyWho is your key dog character? Tell us about him/her.

KATE: This is the true story of Buddy, (born Kiss), a German shepherd who was the first ever guide dog.

In 70 words or less, provide a succinct plot description of your story. 

KATE: Buddy is born into the Swiss kennels of Dorothy Eustace, an American heiress and visionary who bred and trained German shepherds to serve as guide dogs to the blind. Buddy is paired with Morris Frank, a brash young blind American volunteer. Together, dog and man prove to a skeptical world that with the aid of a properly trained guide dog, the blind can live active, dignified, and independent lives. Morris and Buddy helped Dorothy and her trainer establish The Seeing Eye, the first school to train guide dogs and their human partners.

What inspired you to write this story?

KATE: When I was a little girl, my aunt Lockie lived in Morristown, New Jersey, home of the Seeing Eye, the first school in America for training guide dogs. She took me to see a demonstration. The dogs were so intense and focused and impossible to distract. I will never forget the tour guide saying that what separated guide dogs from your average whip-smart trained dog was that these dogs were trained to disobey if it was a matter of their master’s safety. If a dog could make that kind of independent judgment, I thought, what couldn’t a dog do?

What was the biggest challenge you had writing your story? How did you overcome it?

KATE: I’m not a dog and I’m not blind so a great deal of imagination and empathy was required. Like Morris, I enlisted my senses. Like Buddy, I was steadfast and stuck to my story.

KateKlimoWhat kind of story can we expect next from you? Is it about a dog? If so, what is it about?

KATE: I’m currently doing research on the 6th of the Dog Diaries series, about Sergeant Stubby. Sergeant Stubby was the most decorated dog of World War I. He served 18 months “over there” and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants. Back home his exploits were front page news of every major newspaper. He was a terrier/bull mix and just about the cutest, noblest beast I’ve ever seen. My editor, Alice Jonaitis, has pictures of dogs hanging on her office door, her own and others. I just sent her a pin-up of Sergeant Stubby. What a guy!

Can you remember the first book that made an impact on you? And why?

KATE: Anna Elizabeth Bennet’s Little Witch was the first novel I read independently and I loved it. Mynx, the daughter of a witch, is a misfit. She doesn’t want to be a witch. As a second-grade misfit who did not want to be seen in pubic with my eccentric family, I identified big time with this little girl who longed for normalcy.

Thank you, Kate Klimo and good luck with this series! We look forward to featuring and reading more of these books on Dog Reads.


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