My guest today is Josh Vogt, who’s newest book, The Maids of Wrath, comes out next week!:
From the back cover:
Having survived employee orientation, Dani is now a full-fledged Cleaner and is excited to launch straight into…full-time tool training. After all, what good are magical mops and squeegees if she doesn’t know how to wield them well on a job?
But when a maid goes berserk during a training session and tries to slaughter her coworkers with deadly feather dusters, the Cleaners realize something is horribly wrong within their own ranks. They must track down the source of the growing madness before it’s too late—or watch their entire operation get flushed down the drain.
(If you haven’t seen his first novel, Enter the Janitor, it’s also awesome!)
NOW! ON TO THE BEASTS!
1) Let’s start with the obvious: Tell us about your pets.
I currently don’t have any with me, but I’ve had many over the years. Those have included two cats, three dogs, two bearded dragons, and countless snakes, lizards, and turtles I gathered as a kid in Florida. My first cat, Muse, was diagnosed with feline leukemia and passed away after a year, but he was a lot of fun. The second, Munchkin, had to be given to friends during a move since, as a more outdoor cat, he wouldn’t have contended well with the new area’s hawks, cougars, bears, coyotes, and other wildlife.
Dogs have included a black lab, Snoopy, a shar pei/lab mix, China, and a beagle mix, Guinness. All have been fantastic, fun pups that I was honored to have in my life.
Oh, and the bearded dragons were Levi and Malachi, and were quite cuddly despite their scaly nature.
2) How do they help/hinder your writing?
Well, cats are infamous for lying or strolling across keyboards at the worst possible moment, or demanding attention when a writer is trying to focus, and mine certainly were no exception. You just have to learn to “write around” them when they’re curled up in your lap and using your leg as a scratching post.
Dogs, I feel, can remind us of how much the world is a full-sensory experience. They can be alert to every little thing, which can encourage us to pay attention to unexpected details in our environment and include them in a story. Plus, taking a dog for a walk is a great opportunity to brainstorm a troublesome scene (and they also make attentive audiences when you need someone to read a chapter out loud to).
3) Do they appear in any of your works?
I haven’t done dogs or cats in my works, no. However, in my urban fantasy series, The Cleaners, one main character does have a pet bearded dragon named Tetris. As a germaphobe, she got him to prove that she could deal with certain responsibilities in life, even if she had to wear extremely thick gloves when first learning to handle him. As time went on, he’s become quite special to her, and her wrath boils over for anyone who might ever threaten her lizard.
4) How does being a pet owner affect your writing (philosophically?)
It’s one of those little (or big) details I think you can add to a character’s life to make them feel more real—even if their pet isn’t magic, doesn’t talk, or other unique qualities. However, pets do often remind us of how little we understand our own world in the way they sense things we don’t, and how often we ascribe even mythical aspects to them. They can hold special places in our lives, seem to have a sixth sense for when things are wrong, and share in our joyful and happy times.
Author and editor Josh Vogt’s work covers fantasy, science fiction, horror, humor, pulp, and more. His debut fantasy novel is Pathfinder Tales: Forge of Ashes, published alongside his urban fantasy series, The Cleaners, with Enter the Janitor and The Maids of Wrath. He’s an editor at Paizo, a Scribe Award finalist, and a member of both SFWA and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. Find him at JRVogt.com or on Twitter @JRVogt.