About Christine Smith
Christine M.B. Smith, most frequently referred to as “Moooommmyy!”, spends most of her day managing a very active household filled with her husband and children Joshua, Teresa, and Rachel, as well as their canine companions Max and Lucy.
From scholarship essays to government policy manuals, Christine has spent much of her life writing, but The Adventures of Lucy the Cow-Dog series represents her first foray into children’s literature.
Prior to becoming a mother and an author, Christine worked as an environmental manager trying to improve air quality by helping vehicle fleets use cleaner technologies. Her hobbies include researching her family history, hiking, attempting to garden, and studying theology”
Tell me about your book, The Adventures of Lucy the Cow-Dog.
The subtitle, “The Journey Begins” really embodies a lot of what this book is about. As Lucy is standing in a field pretending to be a cow, she is brought to reflect on how her journey had taken her to that place. As a puppy, she admired the calm, quiet temperament of the dog in her favorite book, “Tails of the Wise Old Beagle” because her own wiggles were always getting her into trouble. She sets off to find the Beagle, but quickly becomes frustrated and homesick along the way.
Encountering a new friend named Sam, there is a pivotal moment in the book where she must decide – does she continue looking for the Beagle or does she take the time to make a new friend? She chooses Sam, and in so doing she sets in motion an entirely different sort of journey. By the end of the book, she has learned something about herself and is looking forward with joy to the adventures still to come.
Can you tell me about your dog Lucy and what inspired this story?
Real-life Lucy is just as wiggly and into mischief as her character, and in that way she is very much like a child – you love her dearly, but sometimes she can drive you bonkers too! It was this dynamic of being so full of energy for life, but then struggling to control it, that inspired me to write about Lucy. I feel like kids can really relate to that struggle. The rest of the story is a mix of her real-life journey and my own imaginings of what her life might have been like before we adopted her (doesn’t every pet parent wish they could know that story?).
What we know of her life is that she came to an animal shelter in Oklahoma during the summer of 2015. A volunteer with the Utah Friends of Basset Hounds (UFBH) found her and arranged for her transport to Salt Lake City where she and her 8(!) puppies were fostered until they were adopted. I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t give a shout-out to the great work that her rescue group continues to do, and that for every book sold, a $1 donation will be made to the UFBH.
What would you like children to learn from your book?
The “soul” of the book, so to speak, is contained in the bonus story, “Of Hounds and Hamburgers”, which was Lucy’s favorite from the Tails of the Wise Old Beagle as a puppy. In it, the Wise Old Beagle teaches young pups that “To be a good hound is to love food, but to be a wise hound is to find joy in the journey between meals.” Food in this case, is a metaphor for that which satisfies our short-term cravings, while finding joy in the journey speaks to the lasting value that can only be found in more important things such as family.
I would love it if my story could help children begin internalizing this challenging concept. The structure and title of the story itself appeals to this by asking the reader to have patience – Lucy didn’t find the Wise Old Beagle yet, but there’s so much to enjoy along the way if readers choose to continue following Lucy’s adventures. The journey has only just begun!…
Is this book a series? If no, any plans for the next book?
Yes, this is the first in a series! The second book is already in the works and I plan to release the title for it soon (watch for it on my Facebook page)! Tentatively, the target for the second book’s release is this upcoming fall/winter. As in the first book, each subsequent book will also have it’s own wiggle-mastering trick woven into the story and its own bonus Beagle Tail.
In addition to writing for kids, I also want to mention that I’m writing with adults in mind as well. As parents, grandparents, etc., our children often ask us to read a book “Again, again!” 100 times over. I wanted my book to have enough humor and depth to it that adults could find something of value in it for themselves as well as for their children. I hope I have succeeded (and will continue to succeed) in creating a series that both kids and grown-ups can truly enjoy together.
Join Christine’s Facebook page and Instagram accounts @LucyCowDogAdventures Fans can post photos to #CowDogBookClub and book reviews to #CowDogCommentCard.
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