Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's Next for Shirley Jump?

My next book for Next is tentatively titled Common Grounds and hasn't been scheduled yet, but I think will be out in 2008. With 7 or so books out a year, heck, even I have trouble knowing what's coming out when :-).

This one doesn't star Harvey the Wonder Dog like The Other Wife did (sorry, folks :-) but it does have Reginald the pig and is a mother-daughter relationship book with some crazy RV people (who call themselves "road warriors") and a cross-country road trip that would make any daughter insane.

Every book I've done for Next has been a blast. I get to start writing another one in a couple of weeks, tentatively titled Goodnight Gracie, which has more of a romantic thread through it, and can't wait to do a third. Next has to be my all-time favorite line to read and a total thrill to write for.

I get so much mail about Harvey the Wonder Dog, too, with people wondering if he's real. Sadly, no, I don't own a real Harvey. I met a man who owned a dog much like Harvey and got a lot of my dog information from him. I own Max, the incorrigible pointer, who has been put on this earth to test my patience. And I also have Heidi, a Golden retriever who reminds me why dogs are actually good pets. She tempers Max and keeps me in the dog-lover category. Plus I have two cats, which means I technically have a small zoo around here.

In fact, I have had a small zoo at my house--twice, being a glutton for punishment, which is why animals star in my books so often. For each of my kids' birthdays, I have had a local lady who brings out a pony, llama and small petting zoo to the house for the kids and their friends.

And because my life is too funny to be believable, there is indeed, a very funny story behind this. For my son's birthday, the pony lady was late. I had two dozen five-year-old boys (and you can imagine how chaotic it was here) waiting for their pony rides. My eldest was making balloon animals to keep them busy. Pony lady calls and says she'll be detained a bit more because "The llama has climbed on top of the pony and won't get off."

As in...taken a romantic liking to the pony. In doing so, he knocked over the entire petting zoo, so pony lady had ferrets and chinchillas and rabbits everywhere. It took her about a half an hour to corral everyone, and for the llama to finish his business. She arrives, unloads the animals (including a Tennessee Fainting Goat, which appears in The Marine's Kiss and a kissing pig, which later became Reginald) and saddles the pony and llama up to give rides to the kids.

Except the llama won't cooperate. Apparently he's all tuckered out from his amorous afternoon. He, ah, can't perform.

So not only did the poor pony have to take care of him, but she also had to carry all the children for all the rides and do double duty that afternoon. Poor girl. I really felt for her and hoped she got extra carrots when she got back to the stable.



Pattie said...

OK, now that is too much! Only in real life...

Peg said...

Great story! I don't have a Reginald the Pig, but I do have a Reginald the Westhighland Terrier who absolutely rules at our house!

Shirley Jump said...

LOL, Peg! I had a dog that was a Westie mix once, so I know the type ;-)


Kate Austin said...

Shirley - love the pet stories. I'm working/have been working for a while on a book of stories called A Perfect Day for Pig Racing! I love those stories.


Shirley Jump said...

That sounds like it'll be a fun book, Kate! We have lots of pig racing here in Indiana--plus the annual world's largest hog contest. Trust me, that's not one you want to see ;-)


Ellyn Bache said...

Wonderful story, Shirley. I'm convinced that ALL pets are put here to try our patience. I have one perfectly gentle lab mix who somehow manages to get both of us in trouble all the time!