Author Spotlight: Lori Feldberg
By Lori Feldberg
Lori Feldberg has always been a writer. Although her first school stories were about dogs and horses, it wasn’t until many years later that she got back to that, with The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo. The difference between then and now is that her creative process has switched from writing stories about dogs to ones told by dogs—in this case, a dog from the diminutive Dachshund breed. To excuse a pun, she’s all for the underdog!
Lori has published numerous short stories and favours humour. Mostly she’s published non-fiction, such as in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Mob Hit on My Grandmother’s Dog. She has also written for big distribution publications, like western Canada’s weekly Western Producer, along with local papers and magazines. For several years, she edited a monthly newsletter on dairy goats in conjunction with the Alberta Department of Agriculture.
She has written in a diverse assortment of fiction genres, including romance, western, and mystery. Lori has won prizes in rhyming and free verse competitions. She gamely plunges into any writing challenge.
Impromptu writing doesn’t present a problem to Lori—she just puts pen to paper and writes nonstop until the time is up, creating a mini story in five to ten minutes. This is quite a bit like impromptu speechmaking, where you receive a word or topic and have less than a minute to think about it before you have to convince your audience that you know exactly what you’re talking about.
As chairperson or member of local writing groups, she pushes other writers to enter contests, collaborate on anthologies, and press on with their individual projects with the aim of publishing. She’s always on the lookout for workshop topics and presenters for them.
Lori has self-published a trilogy of farm humour books, drawing on true events that happened to her and others. She tackled this project twice, the second time publishing through Page Master Publication Services to present a more professional look and even transform the story into large print.
WAP: The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo is an unusual book in that the story is told by the dog. Why did you decide to go this route?
LF: The idea came to me as something of a challenge. After all, it’s common to find storylines represented by animal characters. This one includes several dog characters, but the story is entirely told from the viewpoint of a dog.
WAP: Why a Dachshund? That breed isn’t exactly the stuff of dog heroship.
LF: Possibly it is more common to see a larger breed play the role of dog hero—we all remember old-time favourites like The Littlest Hobo and Rin Tin Tin, even Lassie. If a big dog can do heroic things, there is no reason to think a little dog wouldn’t be hero material, too. They just need to be given a chance—which is exactly what I did. Long Dog’s personality came out of a brother/sister duo I dealt with in my travels, while Long Dog’s son Fellow (in the sequel, The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo and Son) got his unique hang-dog looks and pretend innocence from a close friend’s Dachshund.
WAP: Haven’t you given this dog some unusual and not-altogether-realistic qualities?
LF: Endowing him with unusual qualities is part of the make-believe, and by middle grade, the reader will recognize this. Besides, Long Dog’s ear qualities might well be in the realm of possibility—he has superior hearing, and his long ears are maneuverable and can be raised upright; by bobbing his head, they swing about his head in a strange and scary manner. While Dachshunds can swim, Long Dog can move his strong legs quickly to churn the water, and he can handle his long ears like pontoons for greater stability. I don’t think these are too unrealistic.
WAP: How does Long Dog go about teaching Christian values?
LF: Each story subtly contains an important life lesson. Long Dog’s sense of fairness, his good manners, and his awareness of right and wrong all come out repeatedly in the book.
WAP: Have you tried the idea of an animal telling a story before?
LF: Before I wrote the sequel to this book, which is at press now, I worked on an entirely different dog-narrated story. It is aimed at a more mature audience and for dog lovers of all ages. It’s about an abandoned Chihuahua/Terrier who teams up with a female private detective simply by being in the right place at the right time. He goes on to prove he’s worthy of being both a friend and a working partner as they solve a mystery.
WAP: The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo is categorized as being for middle grade readers, children aged 9–12. Have other fan groups expressed interest in reading a story told by a dog?
LF: Oh, yes. Seniors are young at heart and find both the idea and the actual stories quite appealing—I’m just worried that they won’t be able to read them as so many seniors rely on large print. Dog lovers of all ages, men and women, are anxious to read the book
WAP: Have any organizations shown interest in your book?
LF: Members of Alberta Dachshund Rescue are awaiting the book’s availability. The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo has prompted other dog owners to wonder if I’ll be writing a book featuring their breed. I guess that’s why I created the Chihuahua/Terrier in my detective novel (my cousin’s feisty pooch prompted that idea).
Helpful Hints for Writing from an Animal’s Perspective
Regarding this and other books where we write through the eyes of various animals, think of the animals as regular human characters. I use quotation marks for dialogue, but not inner thoughts; put in plenty of animal action, including how they interact with each other; and remember to use “dog” sounds in dialogue tags. You have to think like the animal, and see what they do, because it is different than being inside a human character’s head.
The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo and The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo and Son will be coming off the press later this year! Pre-order your copies today!
Pre-Order The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo
Pre-Order The Adventures of Long Dog D’Silvo and Son
About this Contributor:
Lori Feldberg is a prolific writer who has many projects on the go, “To keep life interesting.” She’s adamant about her swimming and exercise schedules but not so much about her writing schedule, instead squeezing that into every spare minute she can, whatever time of the day. She seeks to entertain with her writing, as much as possible with humour, whether in a non-fiction or fiction setting, drawing on her life’s experiences and, of course, her vivid imagination.