Friday, April 6, 2012

Fido and Friend in Five: Augusta Scattergood and Rocky!

You just gotta love someone with the name Augusta Scattergood. And I have to love that person even more when  1) they're a fellow librarian and 2) a fellow Southerner. Add on top of that a someone with a wonderful debut novel called Glory Be, and I just had to have her on Fido and Friend in Five. Even if, technically, she doesn't have a dog. But that's okay because she has a "granddog" who spends a lot of time with her. That counts, in my book.

Like most Southerners, Augusta Scattergood loved words and stories from a very young age. She was a published poet by second grade! The following poem won a poetry contest in the "Memphis Commercial Appeal" newspaper:

                                    This is the story of the stolen loot.
                                 The man who stole it wore a dark dark suit.
                                 He stole it on a dark dark night.
                                It was a very scary sight.


From that point on, Augusta knew she wanted to be a writer. Oh, and a librarian. Like me, she also decided she loved working in libraries in elementary school. She went on to college at Mississippi University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then her Masters of Library Science from Simmons College. She's lived all over--Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, California, North Carolina, and lots of other places. Now she mostly lives in Florida. There she reviews books for a whole bucket-load of periodicals including The Christian Science Monitor. And she wrote her wonderful debut middle-grade novel, Glory Be, which took her about ten years to write. Let me tell you right now, it's well worth the wait. Glory Be takes place in the sleepy little town of Hanging Moss, Mississippi. It's 1964 and eleven-year-old Gloriana Hamphill reckons it's going to be the most boring summer in the history of her life. But she couldn't be more wrong because the summer of 1964 was also known as Freedom Summer.


Let's meet Augusta Scattergood and her granddog, Rocky in today's Fido and Friend in Five:


Ever-patient Barley
1. How did you and Rocky find each other?  I've never been without a dog. My first dog was aptly named Spot, a solid black cocker spaniel. Growing up, my family had more pets than I care to remember, including a particularly fierce Chihuahua named Peppy. Our last dog, a gorgeous yellow lab named Barley, was with me through long days of writing Glory Be. He sat by my side and listened to me pulling out my hair and hollering, "I'll never get this right!" I dreamed up more story lines while walking Barley than I've done since we lost him three years ago. That was probably the saddest I've ever felt about a pet. But our lives have been crazy and we weren't ready or able to add a dog to the mix--yet. 
Rocky!
Enter Rocky, the Rock Star, granddog supreme! My daughter rescued him from Basset Rescue. He lives in a house filled with laughter, singing and dancing, ball throwing, food dropping, and lots of hugs. But sometimes he just needs a break, and he escapes to our place for peace and quiet.


2. What makes Rocky's tail wag?  He likes it when I read aloud to him. And his tail really wags when we sing our favorite Elvis tunes together. Rock is quite the crooner.


3. What's your all-time favorite dog story?  I love dog stories with happy endings. How to Steal a Dog, by Barbara O'Conner (a Fido and Friend alum) is right at the top of my list. Because of Winn Dixie, which isn't exactly totally about a dog, is another novel I love. Oh, and I can't forget Sounder. I could go on and on!


"Seriously? More?"
And good editor!
4. If Rocky could change just one thing about you, what would it be?  I'm mostly very organized and have always kept up with my To Do list. Maybe it was the librarian in me! But lately, some things have fallen by the wayside. I think Rocky's telling me to get with the program and clean up my office so he can have more room to lounge. He's giving this stack of "to be read" books a very hairy eyeball, isn't he?


5. In five words, tell us what Rocky means to you:  Good listener, good singer. And that's Hound Dog True (another book I love a lot, even if it's not a dog book.)


Thanks so much to Augusta Scattergood (have I mentioned I LOVE that name?) and Rocky for stopping in a visiting for a while. Be sure to visit Augusta's website and check out her blog to keep up with all her goings on. And as we say in the South, "Be sweet!"

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