Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ellen Cooney

Ellen Cooney is a fiction writer who lives in midcoast Maine. She is the author of nine novels; her stories have appeared in The New Yorker and many literary journals.

Cooney's new novel is The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances.

From her Q & A with Joan Silverman for the Portland Press Herald:

Q: What prompted you to write about the bond between canines and humans?

A: I have three dogs. My middle dog, Skip, was a rescue – very difficult, like a wild animal. I didn’t dare bring him to a class because I couldn’t trust him not to attack dogs or people. I became his teacher in a home-school way. Many times I almost gave up on him. But in working with him, something began to happen inside me and, gradually, he became very deeply attached to me – and I to him.

I realized what I was doing with him was really not very different from my experience as a really young mom, being the teacher of my little boy who was born with cerebral palsy. When he was 12 or 13 years old, my son made me make a vow that I would never write about him. So I wouldn’t have wanted to write about being my son’s teacher. But I wanted to write a novel about teaching.

Q: How different is it writing about one’s family versus these dogs, other than that you don’t need anyone’s permission to write about the dogs?

A: Exactly! This is my ninth novel. I have never drawn directly from my own life or my own family. But as a fiction writer, you’ve got the raw material of your real experience that goes through this dynamic thing that’s my imagination.

I wrote my first poem when I was incredibly young. I was always a writer. I never became one – I just always was one. And my whole childhood and adolescence was about writing. So when it came time to be a mom to my wonderful little baby, who was so handicapped and who I adored, it was natural to me to be...[read on]
Visit Ellen Cooney's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Ellen Cooney & Andy, Skip, and Maxine.

My Book, The Movie: The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances.

The Page 69 Test: The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances.

--Marshal Zeringue