Guest Post/Virtual Tour ~ Dog Trouble by Galia Oz

The capricious muse or Hermes, patron of thieves – who not to rely on when writing a book

Looking forward to reading another positive post about fleeting inspiration that spawned a book? Not on my watch. People think that inspiration is like a good fairy; they wait for it to suddenly appear and tap them with her spark-emitting wand like in the movies, and suddenly they’ll know how to write a book. For me, however, it doesn’t work that way. For the most part, I sit down in front of the screen, grumpy and reluctant, and tend to the text like a gardener a garden: cleaning and arranging and weeding, giving up and then pushing forward, all while constantly trying to woo the language, to persuade it to work with me.

My language, by the way, is Hebrew. I wrote the Dog Trouble series between 2007 and 2014, and all five books were bestsellers and some won awards in Israel. They have been translated and published in France, Spain and Brazil before they were published here, in the United States, recently.

 

Extract from Dog Trouble:

Last night Mon was in a pretty good mood for a change and she asked me what I would want to be if I wasn't a girl named Julie. I said I didn't know, and she put her arms around me and said I wasn't a girl named Julie, but a sweet cake made totally out of chocolate. And she gave me a hug and tickled my stomach, as if I was Max or Monty, and she said, "You see? All this is made out of chocolate!"

I'm not trying to say that this fairy with her wand never appears. She appears, capricious and unexpected, and in the most impossible of situations; like when I’m cooking one thing in a pot, frying something else in a pan and cutting vegetables at the same time. At that very moment, a funny situation or a crucial dialogue will pop into my head, and I’ll have to choose: do I run to write it down and let the food burn, or inversely, do I keep watching the pan and risk losing my inspiration?

And then I asked her what she'd like to be if she wasn't Mon, and she thought for a minute and said if she wasn't Mon who worked at the bank and had taken a long time off to stay home with the twins, she'd be an explorer or a sea captain. I tried to imagine her as a sea captain, holding Max in one hand, a pair of binoculars in the other, with a pacifier hanging around her neck, and I thought it was pretty funny.

"But I wouldn't do anything too serious", said Mon. "I'd let other people sail the ship. I'd just lie on the deck in the sun".

Mon looked really happy, as if the boat story was really happening. She kissed me in the place between my forehead and my nose, which was her favorite kissing spot, and said, "Now jump into bed. Did you brush your teeth?"

Not all writers are alike, each has a different mission. What’s mine? To refine that elusive moment when you can see the soul through words and deeds. So I have a little notebook and pencil next to the bed to write dreams, and pens and paper in every room, all to trick that wicked muse disguised as the good fairy.

But good fairies – if you have come this far you already understand – cannot be relied on. They represent an arbitrary form of creation, based on a stroke of genius of external origin.

I much prefer to count on Hermes, patron of writers, nomads and thieves. It is no coincidence that thieves and writers are depicted as like professions. Every writer is a thief, by definition, and I am not talking about literary theft. Writers steal completely legally; they draw ideas from those close to them and complete strangers, from politics and the weather, from their dreams at night and from a joke thrown their way in a cafe. Writers are active and sophisticated thieves. They dig deep within their memories and even import from those of their parents.

At bedtime I told her that only little kids could ever be happy. Then they got a bit older and went to school and that was when the trouble started. Later they turned into adults like her and Dad and suddenly they had little kids of their own and then they got annoyed all the time. Mon was rocking Max in her arms to help him fall asleep and then she said, "So what you're really saying is that only babies are happy people".

"Yes", I said angrily. "Only babies are happy people".

Mon didn't try to convince me that everything was going to be okay. She didn't say, "Of course grown-ups also know how to be happy." She just looked at me and didn't say a word. Then she hugged me real close and said I belonged to her and she belonged to me and that was the way it would always be, nothing would ever change that.

So, the next time this lazy fairy, this capricious muse, knocks on your window, let her in but beware. To rely on her is to go through life in passive anticipation. Better join forces with Hermes. You'll never burn your food again…

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (May 23, 2017)
Genre: Children's Book
ISBN-10: 0399550208
ISBN-13: 978-0399550201
ASIN: B01M98J2EY
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository

dog-trouble

Readers who have graduated from Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean will fall head over heels for feisty Julie and her troublesome new dog.

Julie has only had her dog for two weeks, but she is already causing all sorts of problems. For starters, she is missing! Julie suspects the school bully Danny must be behind it. But it will take some detective work, the help of Julie’s friends, and maybe even her munchkin twin brothers to bring her new pet home.

Wonderfully sassy and endlessly entertaining, the escapades of Julie and her dog are just beginning!

Julie’s adventures have sold across the globe and been translated into five languages. Popular filmmaker and children’s author Galia Oz effortlessly captures the love of a girl and her dog.

Galia Oz was born in Kibbutz Hulda, Israel, in 1964. She studied film and Television in Tel Aviv University 1984-87.

Her award winning series of 5 books titled DOG TROUBLE was published in France, Spain and Brazil – and recently in the US by CROWN BOOKS Random House. The series is a steady seller in Israel for over 10 years (selling over 150,000 copies).

Oz has directed several documentaries, all screened in international film festivals, and in Israeli leading television channels.

Over the years, Galia Oz has been meeting thousands of readers in Israeli elementary schools, and taught creative writing and classic children’s literature to kids in public libraries.

Galia Oz is married and has two kids, a dog and a cat, and they all live in Ramat Hasharon, just outside Tel-Aviv.

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Excerpt ~

My puppy, Shakshuka, disappeared. It happened when my dad was away on a business trip and my mom was in one of her worst moods ever because Max and Monty had both just had their vaccinations and they both had reactions and they didn’t sleep all night. Max and Monty—­I called them the Munchkins for short—­ were babies and twins and also my brothers, and every­ one knew that if there were two babies in the house, no one was going to pay any attention to a dog, even if she was only a baby herself.

At night, I lay awake in bed and I was cold, and I remembered that once on TV I saw pictures of a hun-gry dog that was really skinny whose family went on

a vacation and left him tied to a tree. And they said that the SPCA couldn’t take care of all the dogs that were abandoned by their families. And I thought about Shakshuka, who was gone and might be tied to a tree at that very minute, hungry and missing me.

The next morning in class, Brody told me there was no way that Shakshuka had been stolen. “No way, ­Julie!” he said. “Why would anyone bother? You could get five dogs like her, with spots and stripes, for less than ten dollars.” Or maybe he said you could get ten dogs like her for less than five dollars. Brody said things like that sometimes, but most of the time he was okay. When Max and Monty were born, he said that was it, no one at home would ever pay attention to me again, and when I cut my hair short, he said it was ugly.

I turned my back on Brody and pretended to listen to Adam. He sat at the desk next to mine and spent his whole life telling these crazy stories.

Adam said, “My father won f‑f-­fifty thousand, do you get it? In the lottery. He’s g‑going to buy me an i‑P‑P . . .” People didn’t always listen to Adam because he stuttered, and they didn’t always have the patience to

wait until he got the word out. This time Brody tried to help him finish his sentence.

“An iPod?”

“N‑not an i‑P-­Pod, you idiot. An i‑P-­Pad.”

Brody called Adam “Ad-­d-­d-­dam” because of his stutter, and because he liked to be annoying. But he was still my friend, and that was just how it was, and anyway, there were lots of kids worse than he was.

I cried about Shakshuka during morning recess and Danny laughed at me because that was Danny, that was just the way he was, and Duke also laughed, obvi-ously, because Duke was Danny’s number two. But at the time I didn’t know that they had anything to do with Shakshuka’s disappearance and kept telling my-self that maybe they were just being mean, as usual.

That Danny, everyone­ was afraid of him. And they’d have been nuts not to be. It was bad enough that he was the kind of kid who would smear your seat with glue and laugh at you when you sat down; that he and his friends would come up and offer you what looked like the tastiest muffin you’d ever seen, and when you opened your mouth to take a bite you discovered it was really a sponge. But none of that was important. The problem was, he remembered everything­ that anyone had ever done to him, and he made sure to get back at them. The day before Shakshuka disappeared, Mrs.

Brown asked us what a potter did, and Danny jumped up and said that a potter was a person who put plants in pots, but Mrs. Brown said that was not what a potter did. And then I raised my hand and said that a potter was a person who worked with clay and made pottery.

Danny, who sat right behind me, leaned forward and smacked my head, and I said, “Ow.” It wasn’t too bad, but the teacher saw him and she wrote a note he had to take home to his parents. That shouldn’t have been so bad either, but later, when school got out, he grabbed me in the yard and kicked me in the leg. I went flying and crashed into the seesaw, where I banged my other leg as well.

Danny said, “If you hadn’t said ‘Ow’ before in class, the teacher wouldn’t have given me a note. Now because of you I’m suspended. That was my third note.”

Our school had this system that every time a kid hit another kid, he got a note he had to take home to his parents, and if it happened three times his par-ents had to come to school and the kid got sent home. My mother said it was mainly a punishment for the parents, who had to miss a day of work and come to school.

I could have told on him for kicking me in the yard as well. My bag flew off my shoulder and landed right

in the middle of a puddle, and Mom was really angry at me when I got home because we had to take out all the books and leave them out to dry and we had to wash the bag. I really could have told on him, but there wouldn’t have been any point. It would just have meant another note for him, another kick for me.

Thanks but no thanks.

In the evening, when the Munchkins went to sleep, Mom took one look at me and burst out laughing and said she wished that you could buy a doll that looked just like me, with scratches on her right knee, black dirt under her fingernails, and a mosquito bite on her cheek.

“It’s not a bite, it’s a bruise,” I told her. “And any-way, who would buy a doll like that?”

“I would,” said Mom. “But what happened to you? Take a look at your legs—­how on earth . . .”

“Ow! Don’t touch.”

“You look as if you were in a fight with a tiger.” That was so close to the truth that I blurted out the whole story about what happened with Danny. And I was really sorry I did that because that was the reason Shakshuka disappeared. Mom spoke to Mrs. Brown and she must have told her I was black-­and-­blue after Danny pushed me because the next day at school Mrs. Brown took me aside and told me that I had to let her know whenever something like that happened because otherwise Danny would just keep on hitting me, and other kids too, and we had to put a stop to it. Mrs. Brown meant well, but I knew that when it came to Danny, I was on my own.

Later, at the end of the day, Danny caught me again, this time when I was right by the gate. Maybe someone saw me talking to the teacher and told him. Suddenly I was lying on the ground with my face in the dirt. I must have shouted because Danny told me to keep quiet.

Then he said, “Tell me what you told Mrs. Brown!” “Let me get up!” I yelled.

“First tell me what you told her.”

“Let me get up!” My neck was all twisted, but somehow I managed to turn to the side and I saw two first graders walking out of the building toward the gate.

Danny must have seen them too because he let me go, and when I stood up he looked at me and started

laughing, probably because of the dirt on my face, and I decided I’d had enough of this jerk. I saw red, no matter where I looked I saw red, and without think-ing about what grown-­ups always taught us—­that we shouldn’t hit back because whoever hit back would be punished just like the one who started it—­I threw a plant at him.

At the entrance to our school there was this huge plant. The nature teacher once told us that it grew so big because it always got water from this pipe that dripped down into it, and also because it was in a pro-tected corner.

It was a shame about the plant, it really was. And it didn’t even hit him. It crashed to the ground halfway between us. Then Mrs. Brown came. And without even thinking I told her that Danny knocked me down and then threw the plant at me.

“But it didn’t hit me,” I said, and I looked Danny straight in the eye to see what he’d say.

Danny said I was a liar, but Mrs. Brown took one look at my dirty clothes and she believed me. And be-cause of me he got into serious trouble. They didn’t only make his parents come to school and suspend him for a day—­after the incident with the plant they also told him he’d have to start seeing this really horrible counselor every Wednesday. The kids who knew him said his office stunk of cigarettes and he was a real bore.

That was why Danny found a way to get back at me. He said, “Just you wait.” That was exactly what he said: “Just you wait.” And I did wait because I knew him. But Shakshuka didn’t wait and she couldn’t have known how to wait for what ended up happening to her.

Tour Schedule

Monday, October 2

Interview at YouTube

Tuesday, October 3

Interview at Over the Rainbow Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 4

Guest Blogging at Dear Reader, Love Author

Thursday, October 5

Guest Blogging at What Is That Book About

Friday, October 6

Guest Blogging at Mom Loves 2 Read

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Monday, October 9

Guest Blogging at K&A’s Children’s Book Blog

Tuesday, October 10

Interview at The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

Wednesday, October 11

Guest Blogging at An Imperfect Christian Mom

Thursday, October 12

Interview at The Writer’s Life

Friday, October 13

Guest Blogging at Amanda’s Books and More

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Monday, October 16

Guest Blogging at A Holland Reads

Wednesday, October 18

Interview at Bookworm for Kids

Thursday, October 19

Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

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Monday, October 23

Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Tuesday, October 24

Guest Blogging at Blogging Authors

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Monday, October 30

Guest Blogging at That’s What She’s Reading

Tuesday, October 31

Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

 

 

 

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