Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview with humor writer Hy Conrad

Today's interview is with multigenre writer Hy Conrad. We're focused on humor today as he tells us about his book, “Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know,” which he co-authored with Jeff Johnson.

The authors are giving away 5 signed copies of the book - you can enter through the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of the interview. And if you want to increase your chances of winning, follow the tour and enter at other stops!

Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy Conrad was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk, working on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer. In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old. His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.
Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages. Hy’s first mystery novel series, Abel Adventures, will debut in 2012 with the publication of Rally ‘Round the Corpse. And his first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in May 2012. He lives in Key West with his partner and two miniature schnauzers. (

About the book:
Why do dogs eat furniture when there are endless chew toys nearby?  Why do they always dash to a rug when they have to throw up?  And why are they always absolutely starving?
Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know answers the questions that dog owners have asked for centuries. The book is a collection of 115 humorous essays that reveal the truth behind some of the most baffling canine behavior, their hopes and dreams, their grudges and pleasures, and what they really think about us humans.  Peppered with lively, clever stories and visually appealing photographs, Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is a verbal and visual delight that is laugh-out-loud funny.  If you have dogs, love dogs, or have ever been baffled by a dog, this book is a must-have.
Topics include:
·         My Life in Your Purse by Tinkerbell, the Chihuahua
·         Waiting by the Table (for food scraps, of course!) by Orson, the bulldog
·         The Bed Rules (Rule #1—It’s my bed) by Dimples, the boxer
·         The Reason I Ate the Sofa (leather tastes a lot like rawhide) by Axelrod, the yellow lab
·         I Can Poop the Second I Start My Walk (but choose not to) by Sophie, the cocker spaniel
Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Target, on e-books and at independent bookstores everywhere.  For more information, go to where you can also ask questions about your own dog’s behavior and learn the secrets they have been keeping from you!
“A whimsical delight for dog lovers everywhere, this book will charm and remind readers why they fell in love with Rover to begin with.” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
“I laughed, my dog howled.” (Steve Martin)
This is the perfect book for anyone who owns a dog, has ever owned one, or knows what a dog is. These guys made me laugh out loud—and captured my heart at the same time. The book is simply irresistible.” (Tony Shalhoub, star of the TV series Monk)

Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Hy. What inspired you to write this book?
The title came first and was, in fact, our inspiration.
One evening, my co-author Jeff and I were watching TV and there was a series of infomercials advertising books like “Things The Government Doesn’t Want You to Know” and “Things the Banks Don’t Want You to Know.”  A seemingly endless number of things we weren’t supposed to know.
At that point, one of us turned to the other and said, “Sure, what about something really useful like ‘Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know.’”  And that’s how the book got started.
Like many humor books these days, this one began as a blog.  We started posting on the most obvious topics: “What We Do When You’re Gone” or “Sticking My Head Out The Car Window.”
The initial idea was to keep them generic, in a sort of Everydog persona.  But we soon realized that the humor was in the specifics.  It was funnier if the dog had a real personality, and even funnier if we invented a variety of “blogging dogs”, each with a radically different personality.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Jeff and I had always wanted to work on a project together and this was it.
Since then Jeff has been kept busy with running an advertising agency in New York.
As for myself, I’ve always been a writer and recently published my first mystery novel called “Rally ‘Round the Corpse.” This is the first book in a new series (“Abel Adventures”) about a travel agent, Amy Abel, who specializes in adventure travel and subsequently has a few murder-related adventures of her own. “Rally ‘Round the Corpse” will have its own virtual book tour in January 2013.
In addition, I has just signed on to write two “Monk” novels, based on the hit USA Network TV show and published by Obsidian Press.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess this happened in two phases. I thought I could be a writer when I received my first check and it cleared. I knew I was a writer when it became my sole source of income. A writer, in my mind, makes his living from writing.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your workday like?  If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I usually sit down around eight a.m. I start with the hardest thing on my schedule, usually a new chapter. Later, when the creative energy sags, I switch over to re-writing or blogging or other necessities. (The current time, FYI, is 4:31 p.m.).
For decades I’ve treated writing as my job, so keeping a disciplined schedule is no longer a problem.  It also helps that I have no hobbies and no real life.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I write, I need to be alone, but not totally isolated.  If I could, I would hire someone just to sit in the next room and not say anything. That would be perfect.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, my first goal was to fly and rule the world. My second was to go to the Academy Awards and win in every category, including animated short subject and best sound editing. I think my biggest disappointment came when I realized I was too old to be the youngest “anything” anymore.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Jeff and I had a blast writing this together. Our goal was to make it full of humor but with a little edge. Sweet without being sentimental. For four months, we got up every day and talked about dogs and swapped paragraphs and laughed a lot. It was a great experience and we hope that readers can appreciate all the fun and energy we put into it.
Thanks for being here today, Hy. I love starting off the week with a laugh or two. Best of luck with your tour!


Nightly Cafe said...

Thank you for hosting Jeff and Hy today :)

Unknown said...

Love it! I loved the book and now the interview :)

Rebecca - Pit Crew