Monday, September 19, 2016

The Thing Is … I Don’t Know

I’m excited today to welcome author Kathleen Gerard to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her release, THE THING IS, a delightful romantic comedy.

Kathleen is joining us to talk about where ideas come from to write books and I’m sharing my thoughts on her release.

THE THING IS by Kathleen Gerard
◊ Paperback: 276 pages
◊ Genre: Romantic Comedy, Women’s Fiction
◊ Publisher: Red Adept Publishing; 1 edition (Dec. 16, 2015)
◊ Language: English
◊ ISBN-10: 1940215587
◊ ISBN-13: 978-1940215587

          Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.
Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week. Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living.
Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Kathleen as she joins us to talk about ‘Let "I Don't Know" Take the Lead.’ Welcome, Kathleen.

I'm often asked where my ideas for books and stories come from. The truth is, I don't know. I write. I write every day. And some days I think I know what I'm doing and where I'm going. But other days (most days, as a matter fact), not so much.

"So how did you come to write a story about a canine averse woman in grief and a therapy dog named Prozac on a mission to save her?" Well...uh...umm... (fervent scratch of the head) I don't know… I really don't know. Story ideas are constantly swirling inside my brain. Sometimes, the ideas intrigue me enough to investigate them—on the page. I write about them to see if there might be a thread I can follow that will lead to a bigger story.

With THE THING IS, I was at a breaking point in my work. I had just finished a long writing project and battling a sense of malaise that comes after completing something and not being sure what to do next, I decided that I would set out and write simply to "entertain" myself.

My first two books had already been published. The first, IN TRANSIT, is a woman-in-jeopardy story about a rookie NYPD Transit Cop who falls in love with the wrong man in uniform. My next, COLD COMFORT, is a more heartwarming romance about a workaholic, world-travelling photojournalist who returns to the States to share Thanksgiving with her last remaining relative...only to get stuck in a blizzard and confronted by an old flame.

Some of my closest friends and loyal readers were disappointed there wasn’t a dog, or even the mention of a dog, in either of those stories. They knew how much I love my dog(s), as I’ve been fortunate to share the past 30-plus years of my life with three Yorkshire terriers, one at a time. Therefore, I started to toy around with the idea that I'd make my next novel more dog-centric.

When I sat down to "entertain myself," I heeded the urging to add a dog to my next story and began to imagine the inner life of own faithful Yorkie. Thus, I decided to buoy my own spirits by combining the made-up story about a downtrodden, blocked romance writer with a smart, rather self-important little dog. The two characters and their emotional states seemed to balance each other. And that's how Prozac evolved…I created him as a "therapy dog," on a literal and figurative level, who serves as a transformative force in the life of a deeply traumatized person. The more I followed these threads--and the more free reign I gave to my imagination--the more I realized the dog could actually bring a sense of levity and humor to an otherwise sad story about a stagnant life. Through writing, suddenly Prozac began to lead a character facing an "I don't know" in her own life into a much bigger (and hopeful) story. So you see—sometimes fiction can be stranger than the truth!

Kathleen, thanks for stopping by and sharing this understanding into how the story of Prozac came to be. There is something touching about a dog (or cat) being in a story that we readers can’t resist.

The author had me roped in after just a few paragraphs in this charming story that will tug at your heart strings.

Told from the view point of the protagonist (Meredith Mancuso) and Prozac, a Yorkshire terrier (Meredith is talked into pet-sitting), the story is filled with laughter and touches of sadness. It deals with issues readers can relate to. The story flows smoothly from one viewpoint to the other in a steady rhythm.

The characters are quirky, likable and well-developed. The setting draws you in and holds you spellbound until the surprise ending.

The author does an excellent job blending humor, mystery and a touch of romance to balance heavy issues of loss. The story will have you smiling despite the circumstances.

Dog lover or not, THE THING IS will entertain and delight you.

The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard, Red Adept Publishing, @2015, ISBN: 978-1940215587, Paperback, 276 Pages

FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.

Author Kathleen Gerard Photo Credit-North Jersey Media Group - The Record
Kathleen Gerard writes across genres. Her work has been awarded many literary prizes and has been published in magazines, journals, widely anthologized and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR).

Kathleen writes for Shelf Awareness, a publication of the book industry. Kathleen is the author of COLD COMFORT, a heartwarming romance, and her woman-in-jeopardy novel, IN TRANSIT, won "Best Romantic Fiction" at the New York Book Festival.

To learn more about Kathleen and her writing, visit her website and her blog then connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and her Amazon Author Page.

Thanks for spending some time here today during Kathleen’s visit. Do you enjoy stories that include an animal or two? Do you prefer books that focus on humans and don’t make mention of pets?


  1. Thank you both. Redemption and finding a new path is always welcome, no matter what the trigger is. And my cats have certainly saved me from some dark places over the years.

  2. That was more than just adding a dog - sounds like Prozac is the star. Pets are good for people. They soothe the soul.

  3. This sounds like a wonderful book. Pets are such wonderful healers.

  4. What an uplifting story. Funny, I love animals (even to the point I don't eat them) and yet I've so rarely included one in my stories.

  5. Dogs really can be healers. And that's a really effective context for a romance, too. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Pets provide so much comfort...especially therapy animals. I like Kathleen's answer for 'where do your ideas come from.' :)

  7. Thanks so much for hosting me - and for your very kind review of THE THING IS...along with all these heartfelt comments. The book deals with serious issues, but "the story WILL have you smiling despite the circumstances." Well-put! My sincerest appreciation to all!

  8. Congratulations, Kathleen. I'm already teary just reading the blurb. Best of success!

  9. It's hard to grab someone it the first few paragraphs--harder and harder. I'm finding it takes me a chapter or two to get hooked. Kudos to Kathleen for hooking you so quickly.

  10. Who could resist that cute book cover?

  11. Just looking at that pup makes me feel 100% better than before I read your post.

    I think giving your time to relax and "play" after a long writing project was a great idea.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.