One of the coolest things about being a writer is the ability to share things I love with the world. I recently came across a book titled Stay by Allie Larkin. It’s her debut novel about a single female who purchases a dog online to deal with a heartbreak. The book featured a cute German Shepherd puppy on the cover and I instantly knew I would enjoy it. I finished the first 50 pages on the train ride home. That same night, I reached out to Allie, telling her how much I was loving her book and that I wanted to interview her for NY Resident.
The next morning, I got her answer, and I was thrilled to be chatting with Allie and spreading the word about her book that I was thoroughly enjoying. Below is the interview, and I couldn’t recommend this book enough! Hope you get to read it too!
They say to never judge a book by its cover, but when I saw the adorable dog on the cover of Allie Larkin’s debut novel Stay, I instantly bought it. I am glad I did because the book was a delight and I didn’t want it to end. Stay is about Savannah “Van” Leone, a twenty something from upstate New York who impulsively purchases a German Shepherd puppy from Slovakia online to soothe her heartache when the man she loves marries her best friend.
When the puppy turns out to be a clumsy 100 pound beast of a dog that she names Joe, Van is in for an adventure, one that involves dealing with chewed up furniture, unhappy neighbors and midnight runs to the vet. While the new bond of Van with Joe is the central theme, what tugs more at your heart is the relationship between Van and her mother, her best friend and ultimately the one she has with herself. Stay is charming, funny, hopeful and a must read for those who believe that animals help us more than we help them. Recently, I got to chat with Larkin about her book, life with dogs, and her other passions.
NYR: This is your first novel, and you must be very excited. How did it all come about? Is any it based in reality?
AL: I am very excited. I started Stay in 2002 as a writing exercise in college, and it came out in hardcover in 2010 and paperback this summer. I graduated from college, had other jobs, bought a house and got married in that time period. Like Van, I’m from Westchester County and now live in Rochester. I used some locations and cultural quirks that are familiar to me. But with the exception of Van’s dog, Joe, the story and the characters are pure fiction.
NYR: How is Joe’s character based on your two German Shepherds Argo and Stella?
AL: Joe is something of an Argo/Stella conglomerate, although, neither of them are from Slovakia, and vodka was not involved. In the first few drafts of Stay, Joe was all Argo, but Argo is a very easygoing dog, and that didn’t make for much drama. When we adopted Stella, she gave me lots of material for Joe’s antics.
NYR: Savannah purchases her dog online, but in real life you do a lot of rescue related charity work. Can you share a bit about that?
AL: Van’s drunken acquisition of Joe in Stay is very obviously not something to be advocated, but the relationship between Joe and Van is a tribute to the way dogs change our lives for the better. I like to do what I can to encourage people to check with their local rescue organizations/shelters when they are ready for a pet. I partner with rescue organizations at my signings whenever possible, so readers can meet dogs face to face and talk with the heroes who work so hard to keep the animals safe and healthy and find them homes.
I’m also thrilled to be a contributor in the new dog anthology, I’m not the Biggest Bitch in this Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales About Man’s Best Friend from America’s Favorite Humorists, because a portion of the proceeds will be going to the Humane Society, and every contributor is donating their fee to their favorite charity. Argo is the subject of the essay in the book.
NYR: Can you tell us about your website Thegreenists.com?
AL: My friend Courtney and I started the site, and it’s a great community of our favorite bloggers who share simple tips for making life a little greener. We focus on what is attainable and practical. There are ways to implement simple changes that won’t make you feel like a martyr. For example, bring your own shopping bags, get a reusable water bottle, carpool with your neighbor, or eat a vegetarian meal once or twice a week. Being green can be as simple as passing old clothes on to a friend, or not buying something new when it isn’t necessary.
Allie Larkin lives in Rochester, NY with her husband, Jeremy and two dogs – Argo & Stella, and a three-legged cat. www.Allielarkin.com.