A Pup Called Trouble, by Bobbie Pyron

In 2012, I visited New York City for the first time. I was going there to accept a rather prestigious award from The Dog Writers Association of American (yes, there really is such a thing) for my children’s novel, A DOG’S WAY HOME. The week before I left, I saw a story on national news about a young coyote being chased through the streets of downtown Manhattan by the police and animal control. What in the world, I wondered, was a coyote doing in New York City?

I live high in the mountains of Park City, Utah. Moose, deer, mountain lions, fox, and coyotes are not uncommon sights here. And like my wild neighbors, I am most comfortable in the woods, on a trail, away from people, cars, and the incessant noise of a city. Like, I imagined, that coyote in New York City.

During the four days I spent in Manhattan, I explored the city. I’d never seen buildings so tall. I was both amazed and distressed by the way they cut the endless sky into thin slivers. The sounds and smells of the city overwhelmed my senses, and yet, I was always curious about what was just around that next corner. As I explored the city, that young coyote was my shadow. I saw everything through its eyes: the stone canyons of skyscrapers, the people with their cell phones, the beauty of Central Park. By the time I got back on the plane to return to the mountains, I had the story that would become A PUP NAMED TROUBLE nestled in my heart.

I wrote two other children’s novels—THE DOGS OF WINTER and LUCKY STRIKE—over the next six years, but I never forgot about that coyote in New York City. In my other life, I’m a librarian. I love doing research. During those years, I read everything I could about urban coyotes. I learned that coyotes had made themselves quite at home in cities from Atlanta to Portland. I read with curiosity and deepening admiration the extent of their adaptability. When it came time to work on a new book, I knew exactly what I would write about.

In my new book, A PUP CALLED TROUBLE (Harpercollins/Katherine Tegen Books, Feb. 2018), a young coyote with an abundance of curiosity finds himself whisked away from his home in the wilds of New Jersey and, like Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ, plunked down in a world he could never imagine: downtown New York City.  Using my memories of how I felt in NYC and the research I’d done, I created this young coyote’s own Oz, populated by Makers (humans), Beasts (cars), an evil “witch” (an animal control officer) intent on catching him, and friends—a crow, an opossum, a poodle, and an equally curious young girl—who help him find his way home.

My great, good hope is that readers of A PUP CALLED TROUBLE will come to appreciate that no matter where they live, whether in the mountains or the city, they have wild neighbors. And sharing their community with these critters is a privilege, not a threat or nuisance. Whether it’s a red-tailed hawk soaring above skyscrapers, an opossum ambling through the garden, or a coyote trotting along a street on a winter night, they can fill us with awe and wonder. Something we could all use a little more of.

[Please visit Bobbie Pyron’s website to learn more about her: www.bobbiepyron.com]

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cindie
    Jan 20, 2018 @ 05:04:25

    This looks AMAZING! I can’t wait to buy and read! THANK YOU!!!

    Reply

  2. Dan De Vries
    Jan 20, 2018 @ 23:18:08

    A coyote pup as Dorothy. What a great idea for a metafiction. I’m a little old for YA fiction, but this one sounds pretty damned cool.

    Reply

  3. Bobbie Pyron
    Jan 29, 2018 @ 20:20:55

    Hi Cindie and Dan, I’m very excited my book sounds interesting to you! If you’d like a copy, you can go to my website and it’ll have ordering links. And Dan, don’t be shy about reading “kids” books: LOTS of adult with and without kids read my books :)

    Reply

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