Friday, June 27, 2014

Interview With Terry Lynn Johnson

Meet Terry Lynn Johnson!
Every time I go to Terry Lynn Johnson's website I get a shiver down my spine. Not because it's a scary website, but because the atmosphere there is beautifully cold. The shiver is also there because I love stories about animals, and I think dog stories are my favorite. Terry's stories aren't ordinary stories about dogs and cold, but stories where you can learn about dogs, dog mushing, survival, and the bond between a dog and human. I loved receiving this interview if only for the pictures that Terry included. Many of the pictures are humourous but more importantly show how passionate Terry is about her work.


Terry's Latest Book

Dani: Tell us a bit about the beginning of your writing journey.

Terry: I thought I’d like to write a memoir about my adventures working for 12 years in a wilderness park as a ranger, and running my team of sled dogs. So I took an online writing course for 6 weeks. During that course, I had a very helpful tutor who read my stuff and suggested I might like to try writing fiction for young readers. I’m so glad because that is what set me on my path.

Dani: Do you have a favourite flavour of ice cream?

Terry: Brownie

Dani: Which of your sled dogs had the biggest impact on your life?

Terry: There were two dogs really. One was my leader, Apollo who I learned a great deal from and who probably saved my life a time or two getting me home in blizzards. But there was also a mild mannered, quiet dog who was not very smart, but for some reason, I had a deep connection to. I found Denali in a large kennel and he was painfully shy, but he took right to me. This may sound all mystical, but when I dreamt of the dogs, he would actually speak to me. He’s the only dog who ever did in my dreams. And over ten years later, I’m still dreaming about him. I can’t explain that kind of connection.

Dani: I'm sure you get asked many questions about dogs. What question do you get asked the most?
Terry and her Dogs

Terry: The question I got asked the most was the one that baffled me the most. People wanted to know how I could tell the difference between my dogs. I had quite a few white dogs and I guess they looked similar. But any musher knows each of their dogs inside and out. I could tell them apart in the dark by the way their shapes looked when they ran, the way one held their ears or their tail, if they were a pacer or a trotter. I could tell their voices apart when they howled at night. Their personalities shine through in their expressions too. Each dog was unique in their likes and dislikes and attitude and preferences.

Dani: How does “Ice Dogs” differ from “Dogsled Dreams”?

Terry: Dogsled Dreams was my first humble novel and it’s geared more for younger readers 7 – 10. It is the simple story of a girl wanting to run a race and how she prepares with her puppies who grow into team members. Ice Dogs is for 8 – 12 year old readers. It’s a survival story. Both novels show the relationship a musher has with their dogs and a reader will hopefully come away with some knowledge of mushing.

Dani: What do you hope that readers get from your book “Ice Dogs”?

Terry: I mostly wanted to write a book to show how important the dogs are, but also hopefully they’ll pick up some tips on winter survival and have some thoughts about friendship and living a fulfilling life.

Dani: Do you have plans for any books in the near future?

Terry: I’m working on a few right now. Any future books will be set in the outdoors, something I have experience with.


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