Today we're excited to chat with W Bruce Cameron author of
Read on for more about W. Bruce and his book!
Meet W. Bruce Cameron!
I’ve always loved dogs, which puts me in a unique category along with what, maybe two or three billion people?
What’s not to love about an animal who will sit in your living room all day long, waiting for you to get home, and even if you need to work late and then stop for a stress-relieving beverage on your way home, when you unlock that front door, is absolutely overjoyed to see you? How could you not adore an animal who senses when your day is not going well and tries to cheer you up by dumping a sodden tennis ball in your lap?
I was probably 8 years old, playing in the back yard of our house in Prairie Village, KS, when my dad opened the gate and in rushed a 9-week-old Labrador puppy. I fell to my knees and spread my arms and that dog leaped into them as if we had loved each other our whole lives. It’s a scene that shows up in A Dog’s Purpose—a puppy and a boy meeting each other the very first time, both of them full of unrestrained joy.
We named the dog Cammie. She arrived in my life when I was just beginning to connect some of the dots in my memory to make a picture of who I was, forming my identity as a child. I remember every skinned knee and bicycle ride in the context of Cammie, who was always there for me. And I lost her just as I was starting to leave childhood behind, passing on after I’d spent a year in college. That’s Cammie, the dog of my childhood.
Years later I was riding my bicycle in the mountains outside of Pine, CO. A chance decision to bounce down a dirt road led me past a few scattered ranches and one small house near a creek, set back from the road at least 50 yards. A single “woof” from a dog caught my attention, and I braked and stood in the dry, clear air, regarding the dog who had called out to me.
She was on a chain by the house, and a fence stood between us, so I remained on the road even though I could see that the dog, a black lab mix with a crazily active tail, was clearly friendly. I gazed at her and the dog sat, attentive, staring into my eyes exactly the way my first dog, Cammie, used to look at me, really seeing into me.
And that’s when the thought hit me. What if this wonderful dog was Cammie? What if dogs live over and over again, and always remember us?
I dismissed the thought, waved at the dog, and rode away, but days later the idea came back to me. What if?
I’ve been a writer my whole life, but never have I ever written anything as important as A Dog’s Purpose.
I can’t promise you that A Dog’s Purpose will make you love your dog more—how could it do that? But I’ll tell you what a lot of people have told me: after reading A Dog’s Purpose, you’ll never look at your dog the same way again.
Meet Bella's Story!
Inspired by the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel A Dog’s Way Home by W. Bruce Cameron, now a major motion picture!
Even though Bella has to hide from the neighbors and learn boring games like No Barks and Go Home, she loves her boy Lucas. Then one day Bella is picked up by Animal Control and Lucas is forced to send her to a foster home far away. Bella waits and waits for Lucas to come and get her, but days go by and he does not come. Finally Bella realizes what she needs to do—she needs to Go Home to Lucas—and even four hundred miles of dangerous Colorado wilderness won’t get in her way.
Bella's Story includes charming illustrations by Richard Cowdrey as well as a reading and activity guide at the end of the book.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I have always been thrilled and mystified by stories of dogs finding their way back home to their people after being separated for many days and many miles. I wanted to get into the mind of Bella, her motivations, her reactions to danger, and her ultimate drive to survive the Rocky Mountain wilderness.
My own dog, Tucker, won't even get off the couch when I call, so it was fun to explore the world of a dog who is covering hundreds of miles on foot in order to get back to her boy.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
The easy answer would be Bella, the first person narrator. But I am going to go with Big Kitten, who goes from being a mountain lion cub to an adult and changes in so many ways as she matures. She is a top-of-the-food-chain predator, yet her best friend in the world is a domesticated dog.
Now, if I met them each in person I might change my answer. I doubt Big Kitten would like me as much as she likes Bella.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I get to have puppies on the covers of my books! I love that. Look into Bella’s eyes. Don’t you want to just kiss that little nose?
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2020?
This October will see the release of A Dog's Perfect Christmas. It's the story of a family struggling with normal family issues. Heading into Christmas, however, the mom of the family comes down with an illness that puts her into the hospital. She has always been the glue holding the family together. Now it is up to an eighth-grade girl and her grandfather to try to run the household, though initially they cannot stand one another. Then, bounding into the mix comes a lost puppy and everything changes. It’s a book for grownups, of course, but I think anyone who reads YA fiction would love A Dog’s Perfect Christmas.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Bella's Story is one of a series of "Puppy Tales" that I have written for younger readers. My so-called "grown-up books" often have mature themes and situations. I don't mean excessive violence or mature content, I just mean that I deal with adult situations seen through the eyes of my dog narrators. Now, I have often said that most of my books could be read by a grandchild or a grandmother. I still believe that, but for a younger reader looking for a character to identify with, what could be better than a puppy dog? So, I love putting Bella's Story on my bookshelf next to the other seven Puppy Tales published to date.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There is a scene where Bella is sent away to temporarily reside with some kind people. She does not understand that it is temporary, of course, and concludes that a horrible mistake has been made, a mistake that can only be rectified if she jumps the fence and tries to go home to her boy. Writing from a dog's perspective, it is easy for me to become emotional over the fact that there is so little about the world's complications the dogs don't understand. They trust us to always take care of them, and that is a heavy responsibility.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
I would have to say the character of my dog Tucker. He's not in the book, but he gives me the most trouble because he does not understand my schedule. I get up and I need to take him for his morning walk and he doesn't want to go. Not only would he not make his way through hundreds of miles of Rocky Mountain wilderness to find his way home to me, he doesn't even want to go lift his leg on a bush next to our front door. I have asked him repeatedly what kind of dog doesn't want to go for a walk but he seems to think my fixation on exercise is unhealthy.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I am not sure that "enjoy" is the correct term to use for the teeth-gnashing, hair-pulling, stomach-churning process of reading my own work. I am my own least favorite author. Every time I pick up something I have done I see things I want to go back and fix. This is even true of novels that have been published years ago. I am often shocked when people profess to love my writing. I just didn't realize so many people had such poor taste.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I am Failure Man. I wrote nine unpublished novels before I sold my cans book back in 2001. I have the ability to withstand demoralizing responses from agents and publishers the world over.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I would say that almost any organization dedicated to animal rescue holds a special place in my heart. Most domesticated animals have lost their way through no fault of their own. They need human beings to guide them safely through life. The Best Friends Animal Society is a wonderful organization that enables small animal rescue organizations all over the country to continue to do their good work. They are true angels.
By: W. Bruce Cameron
Release Date: May 12th, 2020