I have a wonderful treat (did someone day treat!?) for my wonderful readers! I recently sat down with my dad and asked him some questions about what it was like to write Puppy Scents, The Kids’ Guide to Puppy Care. Here’s what he had to say!
Roc Weiler: Tell everyone a little bit about yourself!
Don Kaleta: Well, Roc, I’m just a regular guy who loves kids, animals, and helping people. I’m a little bit of a kid myself! I have an out-of-the-ordinary sense of humor and a quirky way of looking at life. I’m kind of like you in that way! I just want to do whatever I can to make a difference in the lives of others, and that’s why I wrote Puppy Scents!
RW: What inspired you to write Puppy Scents, The Kids’ Guide to Puppy Care?
DK: Well, I guess the inspiration came when your Mom was writing a puppy training manual for parents and asked me look it over and do some editing to see if there were any mistakes or misspellings. As I was going through it, it just became clear that parents need help from the kids in the house if they are going to be successful in helping their new pup adjust to his forever home. Then, just like a light bulb shining above my head, the idea occurred to me that I should write a kids’ guide based on the chapters in the parent’s guide! An easy to read book with plenty of color, beautifully illustrated, just for kids! And it was important that the story come from the pup himself. And that’s where you came in Roc.
RW: What was your favorite part about writing a book about the most awesome pup in the world?
DK: (with a hearty laugh) Dealing with your humility! Ha! Just kidding Roc! But I will say that you do have a “personality all your own”! And I guess my favorite parts about writing this book was that you are the most awesome pup in the world! And who better to help me tell your story than you! It was fun writing this with you and getting inside your little pup mind so we could share your thoughst, feelings, and suggestions on becoming a well-behaved member of the family!
RW: Have you ever written a book before?
DK: Not at all! This is my first one. But it was so much fun working with you on this book. We seem to be one mind. Sometimes I thought you were actually talking real English!! But I guess it was that we were getting to be such good friends that you knew what I was thinking and I knew what you were thinking. That’s what best pals do!
RW: Any plans for any future books?
DK: Well now, I’ve got my mind on a story of how your little sister Miley came to live with us. She has a quite a story to tell!! She is a little bit on the adventurous side! And some kids don’t have dogs and really love cats…well, that would be something for those cats lovers out there!
RW: Who would want to hear a story about Miley?? She is just a ….cat…puhhh…nothing big!
DK: Oh you be nice, Roc!
RW: How did you choose the illustrator, Helen Habel?
DK: Well, we didn’t know of any artists or illustrators, but we did have some friends who may know of some. So, we passed the word around to our local County Arts organization and asked for those interested to apply. About five people contacted us. We gave each one the same chapter and asked them to give us a sample of what they could do. We then interviewed them, and based on their sample illustration and interviews, we chose the best match for our little puppy book. They were all extremely talented, but Helen was the one who came closest to the type and style of illustrations that we were looking for. And you turned out so adorable!!
RW: What was your favorite chapter to write?
DK: I would have to say “My Trip to the Park”. It was full of fun, running, playing with new pup friends, seeing old friends and playing with whatever toys the people brought for their dogs! I think it was one of your favorites too, Roc. I know how much you like to go to the dog park near our house. Lots of room to run, beautiful fenced in areas…one for the big dogs and one for the smaller dogs. There’s also a water fountain so you can have fresh water when you get all hot from playing. It’s just a great time. And by the time we get home, you are ready for bed! Keeps you out of trouble for the evening!
RW: Do you have any advice for other people who are thinking about writing books of their own?
DK: Go for it! Start writing! As thoughts come to you, write them down. Writing a book is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It’s a reflection of you and your experience. It’s your gift to the world. Don’t worry about whether anyone will want to read it or not. You just write what you feel. The people who will love it will be attracted to it. It takes all kinds of books, because there are all kinds of readers out there. Just write what means the most to you! What you are passionate about. That’s what we did Roc. We wrote about what we love, and that’s helping kids and pets form forever friendships.
RW: One last question…can I have a treat?!
DK: So,we must be done, huh? Ok, I think we both deserve a treat! You were a great interviewer and I think I did well answering your questions! How about a treat we both like? I’ll race you to the truck! We’re headed for the dog park!! Whooohoo!! Let’s go!
I’d like to give a big ‘thank you’ to my dad for taking the time to answer these questions and (more importantly) for the treat and the trip to the dog park! I had a wonderful time!