Author Interview: Walkin’ the Dog by Chris Lynch

Crushed on by Kelly BookCrushin, on March 11, 2024, in Author Interview, New Releases / 0 Comments

Author Interview: Walkin’ the Dog by Chris Lynch

Today we are sharing some Middle Grade Monday inspiration for y’all, with an interview from Chris Lynch about his newest book Walkin’ the Dog! Walkin’ the Dog is about a homeschooled boy who starts a dog walking business which leads him to finding his pack -aka- his place in his community! Walkin’ the Dog releases tomorrow so check out the author interview below and add this one to your personal library!

You can even catch Chris on book tour this week (see details below)!

Author Interview: Walkin’ the Dog by Chris Lynch

Walkin' the Dog

by Chris Lynch
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade

"Lynch is back and better, smarter, and funnier than ever." --Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award Winner

A boy learns how to be a friend from man's best friend in this funny and moving middle grade novel about humans being able to change and dogs changing us from acclaimed author Chris Lynch.

In a family of strong personalities with very strong points of view, Louis is what his mother lovingly calls "the inactivist," someone who'd rather kick back than stand out. He only hopes he can stay under the radar when he starts high school in the fall, his first experience with public school after years of homeschooling.

But when a favor for a neighbor and his stinky canine companion unexpectedly turns into a bustling dog-walking business, Louis finds himself meeting an unprecedented number of new friends--both human and canine. Agatha, a quippy and cagey girl his age always seems to be telling two truths and a lie. Cyrus, a few years his senior, promises he's going to show Louis how to be a better person, whether Louis wants him to or not. And then there are the dogs: misbehaving border terriers, the four (possible stolen) sausage dogs, the rest of Louis's charges, and a mysterious white beast who appears at a certain spot at the edge of the woods.

Dogs and human alike all seem to have something they want to teach Louis, including his menacing older brother who keeps turning up everywhere. But is Louis ready to learn the lesson he needs most: how to stop being a lone wolf and be part of a pack?

Author Interview

1. How was your process different when writing Walkin’ the Dog, compared to your extensive backlist of novels?

The process for Walkin’ The Dog could not have been more different than it was, from all my other books. It took roughly nine years from signing to publication, getting derailed repeatedly due to mishaps on my side (car crashes, family tragedies, heart failure) and on the publisher’s (editor illness, retirement, general drift, etc). The book was originally intended to be about police brutality. But the world, and publishing, moved on a lot in the ensuing years. After being editorially orphaned for a while, I was matched up with Kendra Levin, who liked much of what I was doing with characters and the overall theme. But she kept coming back to, so what’s the vehicle for delivering this story (about a kid who was a bystander, a non-participant in life)? How do we deliver the Pilgrim’s Progress story arc of a guy who goes from homeschooled homebody to engaged citizen of the world, without boring the pants off readers?

For a long time I had a backburner idea to write about a dog walker, based on my theory that dog walkers make the world go round. There would be hardly any news stories if dog walkers didn’t come across dead bodies, burning vehicles, folks thrashing helplessly in swiftly flowing rivers, etc.

So, bingo. I conspired a scenario in which circumstances forced Louis into becoming a dog walker professionally. Hence, Louis was forced out into the world, and the world was forced onto Louis. He dealt with people, he dealt with canines, he dealt with his community, he had no choice. As storytelling structures go, it was a natural. But I would not have put it all together if Kendra hadn’t browbeaten me into it. Thank you, KL, ya brute.

2. What is one thing you hope readers will take away from the poignant story of community and companionship?

This one is easy. It is in the book, and I lifted it almost directly from the motto of the magnificent Rosie’s Place women’s shelter in Boston, and the founder, Kip Tiernan: “The journey (to justice) must be made in the company of others.” Louis believed otherwise at the beginning of the book, thinking he had no need to be part of any community. I hope readers make the same journey of discovery he makes.

3. I know you are a teacher of writing, what would be your short elevator pitch (advice) to aspiring writers?

Not unlike item 2 above, my fellow travellers in this writing malarkey, you should know that it is hard to do this without a reading/writing group of your own. Most of the writing gig needs to be done alone, at your desk (NOT in Starbucks). But once that hard graft is done, you need your compadres to show your stuff to, and whose stuff you will be reading in return. We learn at least as much from workshopping our peers as we learn from their workshopping us. It is the best thing we can do in a writing program.

Chris Lynch with dogs Dexter & Selkie

About Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is the award–winning author of several highly acclaimed young adult novels, including Printz Honor Book FreewillIcemanGypsy Davey, and Shadow Boxer—all ALA Best Books for Young Adults—as well as Killing Time in Crystal CityLittle Blue LiesPiecesKill SwitchAngry Young Man, and Inexcusable, which was a National Book Award finalist and the recipient of six starred reviews. Chris is the author of middle grade novel Walkin’ the Dog. He holds an MA from the writing program at Emerson College. He teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Lesley University. He lives in Boston and in Scotland.


Tags: , , , , , ,