Guest Author ANN GARVIN Talks Survival and Stolen Time + GIVEAWAY of THE DOG YEAR

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Today we welcome novelist Ann Garvin, an Easterner who lives in the Midwest and a fiction writer who makes a living as a scientist and educator. While working as a nurse, she completed her PhD in exercise psychology. Decades of teaching health and studying what makes people tick proved a perfect backdrop for her novels, On Maggie’s Watch (Berkley/Penguin 2010) and The Dog Year (June 2014/Berkley Penguin). Her teaching position as an adjunct in the Master of Fine Arts program at Southern New Hampshire University allows her to marry her love of people and story.

Her latest novel, The Dog Year (coming from Berkley Penguin in June 2014) is the story of a woman, a dog, and two secrets that both break her and save her. Lucy Peterman, a breast reconstructive surgeon, had everything, lost everything, and now wants to shoplift the rest, including the hope of life after the death of her husband.

Ann took our Deb interview, and has offered to send an advance copy of The Dog Year to one lucky commenter. Details at the end of this post. Welcome, Ann! Thanks for visiting today!

Share one quirk you have that most people don’t know about you.

I love stories of survival. I love to wonder how I would do in a life or death situation. The plane crash, desert island, lost in a car in the snow, on a raft in the ocean. It’s a total fascination of mine, that battle with few resources and your wits. Let me be clear, I’m fascinated from afar, I like to wonder about it while drinking coffee in my robe. I’m not that person who puts myself in those positions but I do wonder, If I was on a raft in the ocean with only a chip clip and a tube of chap stick, could I survive?

When I was younger and L.L.Bean was a real outfitter magazine, I would scan it’s pages. There were these tins of supplies you could buy—mini adventure survival kits—and they listed the ingredients within. A piece of foil, a needle, twine, a reflective blanket, a tiny compass, a razor blade. I had no idea what I would do if I had to survive with this tiny tin, and I had no interest in reading about how to use the kit. I wanted to riddle it in my own mind. I wanted to think, what could I do with the three wicks that were provided? Could I ration them appropriately or would I panic and burn them in fear? Would I save the day or pee my pants? That’s what I want to know.

What time of day do you love best?

This is easy. I Iove 5 AM. It’s dark, everyone who’s anyone is asleep. It feels like stolen time. Like it doesn’t count. I get a huge cup of coffee and write. It’s just the dogs and me and my computer. I actually get irritated if someone gets up and joins me.

Share something that’s always guaranteed to make you laugh.

IMG_20130801_152227_913Physical embarrassment no matter who or what it is. After someone has gone through whatever it was and there is a story involved, I think I empathize so much, and feel their embarrassment so acutely that I laugh an almost hysterical laugh. The kind of laughing that happens when you fear you might not be able to stop laughing; you’re in a public place, and people will only put up with so much of another person’s good time (see photo at right). Recently my good friend told me the story of eating too much fat-free ice cream. (It has maltose, an artificial sweetener that if consumed in large quantities really cleans you out—and not in a good way.) She told me about getting hit with the urge in a public place, how she had to get home and then literally crawl to the bathroom. The vision of this dignified friend, a friend who has more polish and old-world panache than I own in my pinky, done in by ice cream made me laugh so hard in such sympathetic pain that my kids took pictures.

Which talent do you wish you had.

This is going to sound silly considering the high brow talents available to me—painting, music, poetry. But, I wish I was a better runner. The kind of runner who wakes up and effortlessly pounds out five miles without the sort of self-talk and bargaining that goes into my runs. I’m an exercise physiologist by education and I teach exercise, nutrition and health every single day, yet running is as painful to me as public speaking is to most other people. Oh, to run like a gazelle, to not be embarrassed for my students to see me run, to feel like running was food and not medicine. Ah, a girl can dream.

What is making me happy right now.

Coffee. I don’t say this lightly. Every day the newspaper has more bad news about food. Plastic in Subway sandwiches bread, ecoli in the spinach, pink slime in our burgers. Thank goodness coffee is still considered good for you, filled with anti-oxidants and a little pick me up called caffeine. Thank goodness.

What makes you laugh? And what is it about other people’s embarrassment anyhow?

dogyearGIVEAWAY! Comment on this post by noon EST on Friday, March 14, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of The Dog Year. International entries welcome. Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!

Find Ann: Website * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest

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Susan Gloss is the author of the novel VINTAGE (William Morrow/HarperCollins, March 2014). When she's not writing, toddler wrangling, or working as an attorney, she blogs at Glossing Over It and curates an online vintage store, Cleverly Curated.

26 thoughts on “Guest Author ANN GARVIN Talks Survival and Stolen Time + GIVEAWAY of THE DOG YEAR

  1. Between your fascination with survival and your health nut occupation, you sound like my kind of friend! The food industry is rather scary, I agree. I feel blessed that in my little New England town there’s a co-op, farmer’s market, and loads of organic farms around. Thanks for sharing with us today, Ann. Much success with your upcoming launch!

    • Heather,
      I do sound a little crazy don’t I. I’m all health and survival, I wonder why that is.
      I split my teaching time between teaching in NH and WI. The summers are wonderful for food and the winters sparse. I love both places.
      Thanks so much for your kind words.
      Ann

  2. Unfortunately, I am too late for the giveaway, but I really enjoyed your interview and am really looking forward to reading your book. Dogs have kept me sane just about all my life and I love reading anything with a positive dog slant. In other words, I will be reading your book. As I am typing, my boxer and chihuahua puppy are playing, causing me to have an inane grin plastered on my face!

  3. Hi Ann, I’m a total dog person too, so I’m especially intrigued by your novel. In fact, I’m missing my pup right now because I’ve been a week away at a writers retreat/conference. Amazing rescue dogs — gotta love them!

    I wish I loved 5 A.M. Alas, never going to happen. 🙂

  4. My entire life is lived with a pug glued to my side. When I read books, I often think, “She should get a dog. She’ll feel better.” I can’t wait to read this book.

    • Ha! I think that too! She should get a dog and some antidepressants. That would fix all the Oprah book characters!!
      I’ve gotten really good at the dog-snuggle-type maneuver!

  5. I love books with dogs too. In my WIP, my main character steals a dog who isn’t being treated well with the intention of taking it to the dog pound for a chance at a better life. Suffice it to say, she never quite makes it there.

  6. This book sounds great! Combines two of my favorite topics-the practice of medicine and dogs.

  7. I love that so many friends of the Deb Ball are dog people! Dog people are great people, IMHO.

    So looking forward to reading your book, Ann! What a great picture of you laughing; you look like the kind of person I’d love to hang out with because you have great energy.

    As for what makes me laugh every day? My dogs, of course. The Adventures of Pita and Maggie are simply hilarious to me.

    • Hi Natalia!
      You found me on twitter, I’m so glad.
      My daughter said don’t post that photo you look awful. How can you look bad when laughing? I beg to differ.
      Ann

  8. I can totally picture myself done in by ice cream. ha!! Many congratulations on your new novel, Ann. It’s definitely going on my TBR list. =)

  9. What an uplifting and delightful post. Dogs are my salvation. they provide me with love, are philosophers, sages, know more than they should and are always there for you. Bogie is sensitive and aware. Best wishes Ann and much happiness.

    • Bogie…that’s a great name. I love my dogs (obviously) even now when my little one is barking like there is a fire and intruder.
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Ann

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