Friday, March 20, 2009

Interview with Judi McCoy

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Judi McCoy. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called Hounding the Pavement. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The books report the adventures of Ellie Engleman, a New York City dog walker, and her best 4-legged pal, Rudy. The book opens with Ellie standing in the ASPCA shelter looking for a pet. That’s when she and Rudy meet.

Hounding the Pavement is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

I actually had a dozen titles for this first book, but my sister gave me that one. She’s very clever, my sis.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

My agent. Really, she called me one day and said she thought I should write something different, something that screamed Judi McCoy, but had the potential to go long. I’d always wanted to write a dog walker story (it had been cooking in my brain for a couple of years) and when I revisited the idea I realized this was the perfect time for that book.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

Ah, the old plotter vs. pantser debate. I started out being a pantser, but so many times found myself written into a corner that I knew I had to change my ways of never get a good product. I’m not exactly a ‘big’ plotter. I do what’s called Post-it Note plotting. I sit with a group of writer friends and talk about the next book, what needs to happen, where it needs to go, how it will end. We go over things chapter by chapter, and each chaper gets written on a Post-it Note. Then, when I’m ready to start that book, I pull out my stack of paper and begin.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I had to do more research for this series than anything else I’ve written. First of all, even though I’d lived in New Jersey for 17 years, I knew almost nothing about New York. And I’d been writing light-hearted stories. No one got killed, no one died, and animals didn’t have much to do with the plot.

I spent a day at Madison Square Garden, where I attended the big dog show given by the Westminster Kennel Club. I went to Manhattan three separate times, talked to detectives in the Central Park Precinct, doormen on Fifth Avenue, dog walker on the street. I even cornered a museum guard and asked him questions. I met a lot of nice people, and I’m comfortable going back to the Big Apple if I need to.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

That’s a tough question. I guess Rudy is my favorite character. He can get away with some much more than Ellie and Sam can (the heroine and hero) He sees things in a quirky way, always tells the truth, and doesn’t pull any punches, unlike the way a writer has to form some of their characters.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I do none of the above. instead I put myself in the head of each particular character and ask myself :what would I do about this particular problem?” or “how would I get out of this predicament?” “How would I answer that idiot when they asked their stupid question?” That sort of thing. Once I start ‘being’ the character, the actions come pretty easily.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

So many, it’s hard to remember them all. I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips for her beautifully drawn characters; Elizabeth Beverly for her humor; Nina Bangs for her plots. I also have to mention the mystery writers: Laurie Berenson, Cleo Coyle, Tamara Myers, and Lois Greiman. Each of them inspired me in a different way.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

There’s promotion, then there’s PROMOTION. I’ve gone to the mat for Hounding the Pavement. Every penny of royalties I receive for the book are going to Best Friends, the larges no-kill shelter in the US. Best Friends took 22 of Michael Vicks pit bulls for rehab and adoption. The vets, trainers, administrators and workers at their shelter, Dogtown, are 100% for the amimals. They need help to do all they do, and I decided to give them whatever I earned to say ‘thank you.’

What do we have to look forward next?

Book two in the series, Heir of the Dog, will be out in October 2009. This book was more fun to write than Hounding the Pavement because I knew my characters so well the words just flowed on the paper. I just hope readers will love Ellie and Rudy as much as I do and read book two for the joy of it.

Thanks, Judi!

To celebrate her book release, Judi McCoy is offering a free ebook of Making Over Mr. Right to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be driving to a conference today but will check in later in the evening. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Bio: Judi McCoy has published fifteen romances. She teaches the Aspiring Author course each year at Romantic Times, and gives writing workshops across the country. Hounding the Pavement, released in March 2009 is the first book in her new romantic mystery series. All royalties from the book will be donated to Best Friends, the largest no-kill animal shelter in the U.S. Judi currently resides on Virginia's peaceful eastern shore. A retired women’s gymnastic judge, she raises orchids and continues to write the next book in her unique series.

Check out author’s website at and Buy at Amazon or any local chain bookstore


RachieG said...

Judi, you book sounds fabulous!

Why do you think people enjoy dog books so much?

Every time I see one...fiction, romance, mystery, nonfiction...I jump on it!

Anonymous said...

Good morning Judi. Thanks for sharing your new book with us. Safe travels and let us know when you get to your destination safely.

Catharine said...

Love the concept .. sounds like a great book. As a woman 'new' to dogs, I am now completely sold out. My 'buds' - both rescue - have changed just about everything in my life.

Tina LaVon said...

I can't wait to read the book!
I also can't wait to read more of your blog posts written in the dog's POV.

Looking forward to seeing you at the next Chocolate Affair.

Carol Webb said...

Hi, Judi. You're book sounds wonderful. I do love dog books, and I'm looking forward to Rudy's next blog post.

Drive safely!

Jan said...

Aloha, Judi,

I'm still posting to everyone to go out and buy this funny book. It's a great book and for a wonderful cause.

Thanks for donating to Best Friends and helping us do the same!

Mahalo for your wonderful stories too!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Rachie G. You're the winner of Judi's e-book. Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) to claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by.