Why Monique McDonnell wrote about dogs!

Today I have a guest on my blog and I’m also appearing on her blog. My fabulous guest is the delightful Monique McDonnell who has just released MR RIGHT AND OTHER MONGRELS! I’ve downloaded this book to my Kindle and can’t wait to get to it. Not only is the title simple gorgeous, and the cover, but the dog on the front is an Old English Sheepdog, exactly like our dog Rodger. So I asked Monique to talk about that dog and why she wrote about them…

Welcome Monique!

Mr Right and Other Mongrels has a variety of key characters that I love the main ones being Allegra Johnson, who runs a second-hand bookshop near Manly Beach and her potential love interest Teddy Green, Australia’s favourite garden make-guru. They are brought together by a mischievous Old English sheepdog called Muffin who appears quite prominently on the book’s cover.

When I was writing this book I knew straight away that Allegra would be scared of dogs or more precisely have a full-blown dog-phobia. I myself suffer from this affliction and it a rather hard one to deal with in social situations. I wanted to use the characters, and a very likeable dog, to show how difficult this can be for someone who deals with this in day to day life.

Lots of people suffer from phobias. It’s pretty common. If you say you are scared of spiders or snakes or heights or even birds and people are pretty accepting of that. Usually they offer support and sympathy “Oh yes I don’t like spiders either!”

That’s not the case with dogs. People often take your dog phobia quite personally because they love their dog very much and honestly can’t understand why you don’t as well. Of course it’s not personal at all, it’s a phobia and you can’t help it, in fact you’d really rather not be scared of their dog at all but that’s a message that’s hard to get through.

So I wanted the dog in Mr Right and Other Mongrels to be a breed that people universally like, don’t find scary and respond to with a big “awww” when they see them.

Old English sheepdogs are beautiful and furry and they do have sweet faces but they are also big and can knock you down and for someone with a phobia the mere idea of that is enough to cause panic. However you don’t gain much sympathy from passers-by who see these dogs and loveable cuddly soft toys and that I guess is the point. (Having been chased home from the station after school many times by both an Old English sheepdog and a scary German shepherd respectively I can assure you the breed of dog does affect people’s reactions when you plead for assistance.)

Muffin is a lovely dog and maybe he can help Allegra deal with her dog phobia if given time, or maybe not. How Teddy deals with Allegra and her dog-issues is a big part of how their relationship develops.

(Despite my phobia my own daughter is absolutely dog crazy and I now live in a house with a dog called Skip. I still can’t walk Skip or be near other unleashed dogs but owning a dog at all – I consider that big progress!)

Thanks so much for sharing Monique, that was fascinating and I can assure you quite a few people are a little scared of our massive dog but really he’s a total teddy bear.

You can read the blurb for Monique’s new book below. MR RIGHT AND OTHER MONGRELS is available now on Amazon!

Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough?

When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically!

Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.

Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.

You can find Monique on Twitter, Facebook and her website.

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