Meet Robin Reynolds author of Life to the Max: Maxims for a Great Life by a Dog named Max
Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest, Robin Reynolds author of Life to the Max: Maxims for a Great Life by a Dog named Max.
Robin has been a professional writer for the past twenty-five years and her credentials include award-winning advertising copywriting for broadcast, print and Web media; writing a series of stories for a line of stuffed animals she created and writing comedy monologues for Yakov Smirnoff.
Robin has a deep affection for dogs and especially Airedale Terriers, which have been a part of her life since she was a child. Along with her friend and graphic design partner, Terry Rohrs, she created NICE Creative, a marketing and advertising creative services company which provides strategy, branding, graphic design, copywriting and Web development for a number of corporate, consumer, retail, B2B and public service clients.
Good day Robin and thanks for participating in our interview.
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
I had my first article, “What It’s Like to Be A Seventh Grader: It Only Hurts When I Laugh” published in the high school newspaper when I was twelve, but I liked to write from an early age and used to make up humorous stories to deal with sometimes painful, difficult or embarrassing situations.
When you wrote Life to the Max: Maxims for a Great Life by a Dog named Max did you work from an outline? Did you write from your own experiences?
When we put Max down, our son, Andrew, was 10 years old and had a hard time dealing with his emotions. I wrote Life to the Max in one night as way to help my family, particularly Andrew, deal with the grief of losing Max. Of course, it has gone through many edits before it became the book it is today, but the initial draft was based on my own memories.
Can you share a little of your book with us?
The book is written from Max’s point of view and it begins: “Some people say we are all sent to this earth to learn certain lessons and our teachers can come in some surprising forms. The smallest child. The most distant relative. Or even a rowdy, scraggly-haired quadruped like me.” Max goes on to tell a little about Airedale Terriers and then he relates 20 episodes from his life and the lessons that came from living life to the MAX!
What did you want your book to do? Amuse people? Provoke thinking? What are your hopes for this book?
First, I wanted to ease the broken heart of anyone who has lost a four-legged friend. Animals just don’t live as long as we do and I want people to know it’s okay to grieve. It isn’t “just a dog.” It’s the loss of a relationship which has brought unconditional love and joy and that is something to be acknowledged, appreciated and celebrated.
In addition, I want to teach children, in particular, about the responsibilities of pet care. The story follows Max and his family through all the joys, obligations, emergencies and decisions involved in the life of a pet. It is sometimes funny, sometimes inspiring and sometimes sad, but it is always joyful.
I also wanted to educate people about the benefits of rescue. Sometimes I think people are fearful that a rescue won’t bond to them, but as Max proves nothing could be further from the truth. Rescue animals have already been disappointed by a human, so if you show them love and affection, they will cling to you. Max was always in the middle of everything we did and he was happy no matter what happened.
I’m hoping his attitude will inspire, delight and provoke thoughtful conversations in families.
Do you have a specific writing style and what genre are you most comfortable writing?
I have always enjoyed writing in a conversational style. It’s not always perfectly punctuated or strictly grammatical, but it’s how most people talk. I also like relating real-life events or situations with a humorous twist. Maybe it comes from spending so many years of writing humorous TV and radio spots for my advertising clients, writing comedy for Yakov Smirnoff or maybe it’s just that I think life presents moments that are funnier than anything you can make up!
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I have learned so many things from this whole process that I’m not sure I could say there’s just “one thing.” However, if you hold my toes to the fire, I guess I’d say is “If you want to make money, don’t write a book.” Writing the book is really the easy part. Promoting the book really takes tremendous time and effort.
Has a review or profile ever changed your perspective on your work? As a follow up, do you have a favourite story to tell about being interviewed about your book? What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
What comes to mind is that there have been several reviewers/interviewers who have listed my book as nonfiction and this always makes me laugh. I mean, the story is based on true life, but do they really think a dog can write?
Based on this, the one question I’ve never been asked, but would like to be is: How did you teach your Airedale to type?
What is your typical workday like? Do you stick to a writing schedule?
I split my time between my advertising business and writing and promoting my book. My daily schedule is never the same, but I write something everyday.
Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?
I published independently through my business, NICE Creative. My reason for doing this is because I have spent years writing, designing and producing materials for my clients and I couldn’t see why I would turn that creative process over to someone else. In addition, I already knew the tremendous capabilities of my NICE Creative Main Squiggler (graphic designer), Terry Rohrs, and I knew together we could create something special. Finally, I also knew that ultimately I’m the one who is responsible for the marketing of my book.
Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)
As you may know, “Max” is the number one name for a male dog. Right now, I am soliciting stories and lessons learned from other dogs named Max for my sequel: Life to the Max: More Maxims for a Great Life by Dogs named Max. All breeds are welcome and I hope it will be sort of along the line of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, but with pictures and colourful graphics like our current Life to the Max.
Where can our readers find out more about you and your book and is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?
Your readers can get all the details about my book, look inside, read reviews, find out more about me, submit their Max stories and buy books at www.lifetomax.com. Also they can join in on the conversation with Max and me on our blog at http://lifetomax.com/blog. When your readers buy the book on our site, they can choose from five different animal rescue groups that will receive a 25% donation for every book purchased.
Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
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