Q & A with Terry Lynn Johnson: DOGSLED DREAMS


Dogsled Dreams cover shot copyToday, I’d like to welcome Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Dogsled Dreams.

AOB: What is the title of your book? Pub date and publisher?

Terry Lynn Johnson: Dogsled Dreams, December 2010, 4RV Publishing

AOB: Who is your key dog character? Tell us about him/her.

Terry Lynn Johnson: We follow Doppler, a black and white Alaskan husky, as he develops from a rambunctious puppy to an intelligent yearling sled dog with leader qualities.

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

Terry Lynn Johnson: Twelve-year-old Rebecca dreams of becoming a famous sled dog racer.

She’s an inventive but self-doubting musher who tackles blinding blizzards, wild animal attacks, puppy training, and flying poo missiles. All of her challenges though, seem easier than living up to the dogs’ trust in her abilities.

Starred reviews or blurbs you wish to share:

“Any teacher using Gary Paulsen’s Woodsong would want Terry Johnson’s ‘Dogsled Dreams’ as a part of their classroom library ” — Iditarod Education Director, Diane Johnson

“Dogsled Dreams is a captivating and exciting debut novel and introduction to dogsledding.” — Superior Outdoors Magazine

“It wasn’t hard for me to get sucked right into Rebecca’s world. It’s a mix of adventure, learning to trust yourself and being courageous. … I highly recommend picking up!” — Mundie Moms

“A warm, coming-of-age story about hopes and dreams, but most of all, finding the true meaning of family and friends, whether they have two legs or four!” — Darcy Johns, Youth Services Librarian, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia

“As a father to a young girl, I was thrilled to see Rebecca have such high hopes and dreams for herself and to see her father support and nurture her interests and efforts to achieve those dreams. This is a beautiful story both dads and their daughters can enjoy reading and discussing together!” — Chris Singer, Book Dads.com

AOB: What inspired you to write this story?

Terry Lynn Johnson: I wanted to show the special relationship between mushers and their dogs.

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

Terry Lynn Johnson: Perhaps because I’m so close to the subject, I had to keep reminding myself (also my editor reminded me quite a bit) that not everyone knows the terms of the sport. I would get little notes back saying, “what’s a snub?” and I would read it and realize I had failed to describe it well enough. It was a challenge to keep the story flowing, but also slow it enough for readers to learn.

sohoAOB: What other YA/MG books have you written? Do any of them feature a key dog character? If so, which ones? What are these stories about?

Terry Lynn Johnson: ICE DOGS is a YA survival story about a junior musher who loses her way with her dogteam in a blizzard after she rescues a mysterious boy. With their food gone and temperatures dropping, they have to learn to trust each other, and the dogs, if they are going to survive.

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

Terry Lynn Johnson: My latest story is a canoeing survival story which features a sled dog named Taiga.

AOB: What else would you like us to know about you or your story?

Terry Lynn Johnson: That all of the dogs in the story are real sled dogs. There are photos of some of them on my website if readers cared to meet the real life Doppler, Apollo, Soho, Ulu, Elsie, Denali, even Tarzan the smiling sled dog.

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

Terry Lynn Johnson: I loved horse books – Black Beauty, The Black Stallion. I was always so much into animals, and loved the characters of the animals, and their relationship with their owners. I read a few dog books, but I must admit I absolutely couldn’t take it when they died. I’m not going to say never, but I doubt I will write a book like that.

For a lesson plan to use in the classroom, please click here.

For more information about dog sledding and Terry Lynn Johnson, please click here.

Thanks for joining us Terry Lynn Johnson! We look forward to your next book, ICE ISLAND in February 2014. I hope to meet you one day on a dog sled in Alaska. It has always been my dream to experience the thrill of dog sledding.


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