Today we're excited to chat with Philippa Stasiuk, author of The Wonderful Whippet of Winifred Weatherwax. Read on for more about Philippa and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Philippa Stasiuk!
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
A whippet named Bohem C’est La Vie who escaped from her crate on the runway of JFK Airport after competing at the Westminster Dog Show. I lived in New York at the time and the city was electrified by Vivi’s escape - and she was never caught. There was a romance about it, but also heartbreak. As coevolving species, humans and dogs are very close and when Vivi disappeared, someone lost a beloved companion.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
The villain. But saying any more would make it a spoiler.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel for sure. But the day I realized the obvious: that my main character and the dog breed both began with the letter W was pretty sweet.
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The Westminster Dog Show is where the story’s climax happens and to be able to write about its atmosphere, and how the show worked technically was hard-won knowledge. I went to the show three times and worked really hard at figuring out how to capture its mood.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
That there is no finite number of drafts you can produce. I could have continued to edit versions of this story forever and have been quite happy. But at some point, you have to take what you’ve learned and move on. You owe it to your creative self.
6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
Somehow, I managed to convince Sukanto Debnath to do the cover and he is a creative giant. I love his details like Freddy’s yellow high tops and the perfect rosebud ears he drew on the dog.
7. What was your favorite book in 2018?
Weirdly, this year I loved two YA books about twins: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, (who is also from Nebraska), and Jacob Have I Loved, the classic 1980 novel by Katherine Paterson. Two totally different books exploring the complicated relationships of twins. Fangirl even has a reference to Jacob Have I Loved in it. I know it’s cliché and all, but that is pretty meta.
8. Which character gave you the most trouble?
Eli, Freddy’s investigating partner and potential love interest. I wanted him to be awkward, but likable and also even confident in his own weirdness.
9. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
The Humane Society. Kindness to animals is one of the highest proofs that humans are an evolved species.
10. What’s up next for you?
I’m researching another world for a mystery where, like dogs, breeding the perfect specimen is the path to glory. But it’s early days.
The Wonderful Whippet of Winifred Weatherwax
By: Philippa Stasiuk
Release Date: May 2018
Five winners will receive signed copies of The Wonderful Whippet of Winifred Weatherwax (US only).