Frauke Scheunemann is the author of international bestseller Puppy Love, a romantic comedy about the misadventures of Hercules the dachshund. Frauke was kind of enough to answer a few questions for us — read on for more insight into the creation of this adorable book!
Anansi: You were a lawyer before becoming a full-time writer. Why did you decide to transition into a career in writing books?
Frauke: Actually, I’ve been writing for quite a while before that decision. Being a student at law school, I started working for different newspapers. I did reviews on theatre plays or art exhibitions, articles about the local dog breeder’s club and so on. Surprisingly, I liked it very much. So when I got my bar exam, I started a training at North German Broadcasting and worked as a full time journalist. One day my sister Wiebke, who had already been very successful as a writer, was asked for a novel written as the diary of two young girls. She asked me if I’d like to be her co-author, so we could write it out of two different perspectives. I think the book was a major flop, but it was so much fun, that we decided to go on with another book. So Anne Hertz was born, the pen name of my sister and I. Our first novel as Anne Hertz, Fortune Cookies, was a big success right from the start. I never thought of law again. :-)
A: Where did you find your inspiration for Puppy Love?
F: Puppy Love is sort of a fairytale. What if some creature came from outer space and watched how humans fall in love and why? What attracts men to women and vice versa? I had been thinking about this a lot when a close friend told me she broke up with a guy because he was too nice. Too nice? Doesn’t this sound crazy? At least if you’re from outer space? I decided to write a book about this and soon discovered that I didn’t like the idea of some alien watching us, but the idea of a little puppy, since I´m a biiig dog lover. So this is where Hercules stepped in.
A: Puppy Love is the first book in a series of Hercules books that are enormously successfully in Germany. Why do you think people have connected with the story so much?
F: Honestly, I don’t really know but I figure the books work like a mirror. You can see yourself in them and how ridiculous your own human behaviour is sometimes.
A: Do you ever use your dog, Elmo, as a model for dogs’ traits and characteristics in your books?
F: The way Elmo snuggles up with me on the sofa is definitely Hercules. These big brown eyes — it’s hard to say no. However, Elmo is a Havanese dog which means he is not as stubborn and naughty as Hercules can get as a dachshund. And tell you the truth: I’m very glad about that. I have four naughty children, at least my dog should behave . . .
F: The most interesting reaction is that a lot of pet owners tell me they wonder if their dog or cat has just the same thoughts as Hercules or Mr Beck. I got a lot of nice pictures of my readers’ cats and dogs — I like it very much!
A. So far in Canada, only the first book, Puppy Love, has been published. Can you give us a sneak peek into the rest of the series?
F: Yes, I would love to!
In part two, Caroline, Marc and his daughter Luisa move in together. But whereas Hercules is enthusiastic and expects a definite happy end of this fine love story, Mr. Beck tells him there’s no such thing as a happy end when it comes to humans. And he’s right — trouble is ahead, as Caroline’s mother-in-law is a nightmare, Luisa’s new classmates are mean and Marc’s ex-wife shows up. Thanks goodness, at least the dog and the cat keep cool . . . but when Hercules loses his heart to the beautiful, but three heads bigger Golden Retriever lady Cherie, things start to get rather turbulent.
In part three, Marc and Caroline are overjoyed: the child they have hoped for is on the way. Hercules and Luisa, who are now close friends, are not quite as excited as the parents-to-be. What changes are in store for them in the future?
Our thanks to Frauke for participating in this Q&A!
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