Interview with Rowan Scarborough

Why a novel about a Dog Park?
The dog park has become an essential part of American life, like the town square or Main Street or even a church. It is a place where people can meet and discuss whats going on in town, or the latest on their family, their schools, the best place to buy a car––and of course––their dogs. In other words, gossip. What better setting for a funny story about the importance of dogs in our lives, and how they can bring us joy, and get us into trouble.
Why humor? Why not a serious story?
because what is funnier than a bunch of dogs and their obsessive owners all gathered in one place? Of course, I go to some extremes. I'm not sure there is a dog park in America that boasts a chapel. The lead character, Robert Benjamin, is so in love with dogs, his and others', his life begins to fall apart. But we all overdue it with our dogs, if we love them, as I do mine. What is better than that early morning walk with your mutt. Exercise. Greetings. Sunrises. But with Robert, it doesn't always go so well.
How did you get to the point you wanted to write "Dog Park"?
I'm a journalist by training. I served in the Navy and then went to the University of Maryland, where I majored in journalism and worked on the daily student newspaper, the diamondback. Then came a series of cub reporter jobs. The Maryland Eastern Shore. Wilmington, Delaware. Then back home to Maryland where I started covering the Pentagon. While at The Washington Times, I published a book on Donald Rumsfeld, a New York Times best-seller, then a second non-fiction book on the CIA. That was it for me. I did not foresee another. But then my lab, Jet, came into my life as a rescue. After six years, as I walked Jet, a story took hold about life in a small town revolving around its dog park and eccentric people.
What is your writing ritual?
The beauty of this book is, the research was done over the six years of owning Jet. With the Rumsfeld book, I interviewed 50 people and collected numerous documents. For Dog Park, it was a matter of sitting at my Mac and turning the plot lines into characters and dialogue. I have a job still with The Times, so I relegated my thinking to my walks with Jet and my writing to Saturday and Sunday mornings. A good way to spend the winter. I decided to make it a dialogue-heavy story. I wanted these lovable dog owners to express themselves, without a lot of narration in the way. I think dog owners who read the book will recognize some of these people.
What do you read for pleasure?
One of the reasons I wrote the Rumsfeld book, "Rumsfeld's War," is that I love the craft of biography. I just finished immersing myself in World War II by reading bios of major figures, such as Churchill, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Stalin.

"All the Kings Men" is one of my favorite fictions. Robert Penn Warren captured the flow of politics in Depression Louisiana and told it in a narrative that had you driving along those back roads. I've read it three times. Great characterizations. "There's always something," even with a retired judge whose life appears impeccable.

And Raymond Chandler. The greatest of the hardboiled detective writers. I've read the "Big Sleep" several times and still don't fully understand all the places it goes. Either did Hollywood script writers.
Spare time?
I'm a wine and food guy. My basement is festooned with Napa and Bordeaux. I like the race track just 30 minutes up the road in Laurel. The Washington Nationals are my sports passion. And at around 5 p.m. today, I will sign off, put a collar and leash on Jet, pick up his boxer girlfriend Moses, and hit the nature trail. A great happy hour.
Published 2015-05-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Dog Park
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 33,800. Language: English. Published: April 15, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
(5.00)
When it comes to dogs, Robert Benjamin is insanely good-hearted. His therapist wants fame and fortune. The Rexville dog catcher is hunting a nighttime scofflaw. His girlfriend accuses the wrong man. The mayor is up to no good. It all culminates in the annual Rexville Dog Show. Westminster, it is not. But the ending is so good it makes the nightly news.