Allison's Book Bag

Catching up with Bobbie Pyron

Posted on: April 23, 2015

BobbiePyronAs part of a virtual tour for A Dog’s Way Home, I interviewed Bobbie Pyron. Now on her fourth book, Pyron’s life took many twists and turns before she become a published author.

Animals, books, and family stories have always been a huge part of Pyron’s life. Everyone in her family loved animals. They always had a dog. They also made frequent trips to the zoo. Pyron and her father used to read the newspaper comics together before she started kindergarten. As for family stories, they seemed to provide a continuity in her otherwise fragmented life.

Her childhood was pretty hard. Pyron’s father died suddenly when she was seven. As a result, all of her books seem to explore loss. Pryon grew up a shy and quiet child who worried about many things.

As an adult, Pyron attended college and obtained degrees in psychology and anthropology. For a time, she sang in a rock and roll band. Then she went back to college, earned credentials as a librarian, and has been in this field for over twenty-five years. Eventually, Pyron sat down to write her first novel and in October 2009 became a published author.

Pyron’s titles to date are: The Ring, A Dog’s Way Home, Dogs in Winter, and Lucky Strike. The last I’ll review tomorrow. Save the date: April 24!

ALLISON: Lucky Strike is about friendship. What is one of your memorable childhood friendships?

BOBBIE: I was a very shy child so most of my friends were either imaginary or dogs. My very best friend when I was young (from age 3 until I was about thirteen) was our beagle named Puck. He rarely ever left my side. I made mud pies for him, dressed him up in clothes, explored the back yard with him. Once he saved me from a rattlesnake. Once I got older—like seven and eight—I could go pretty much anywhere I wanted in our small Florida town as long as Puck was with me and I minded him!

ALLISON: Share a lucky moment of yours from growing up.

BOBBIE: I had a very difficult childhood after my father died when I was almost seven, so I don’t think I had many lucky moments. But I was sure lucky Puck saved me from that rattler!

ALLISON: In one interview, you noted that all of your books explore loss. Why? How do you feel that as a grown-up you’ve learned to deal with loss?

BOBBIE: When I was almost seven, my father was killed in a car accident. It was devastating for us! Losing a parent as a child to death is very different from losing a parent in divorce. And when it’s very sudden, it takes away your childhood. Nothing ever really feels safe again. I think, even as an adult, I still take loss of any kind very hard.

ALLISON: Lucky Strike has been described in places as magical realism, a departure from your other works. How has the process been different in writing realistic, historical, and now supernatural fiction?

BOBBIE: As a writer, I love to try new things, to challenge myself. So it was exciting fo me to play with magical realism in the book. It was a lot of fun! It really allowed me to not be so concrete and earthbound, yet at the same time, I had to keep my hand light—I didn’t want it to stray too far into real fantasy. I wanted the reader to wonder just a bit was it really the lightning strike that changed Nate or was it something more logical.

ALLISON: What inspired Lucky Strike?

BOBBIE: After my agent sold my 2012 book, The Dogs Of Winter, we talked about what I wanted to work on next. She mentioned that a lot of editors were looking for middle grade fiction with elements of magical realism. I’d just read a memoir by a woman who’d been struck by lightning several times and had lived. I started thinking about how surviving something like that could change a person and, of course, how something can happen in the blink of an eye that changes your life. I’d been eager to set a book in the area of Florida where I grew up. Seeing as how Florida is the number one lightning strike capitol of the United States, it was a natural fit!

ALLISON: Lucky Strike is your fourth book. How has life changed since the publication of your first book?

BOBBIE: Well, I signed with a wonderful agent just after my first book, The Ring, came out. That has made a huge difference on so many levels! She’s able to get my manuscripts in the hands of editors (like Arthur A. Levine) that wouldn’t look at my work otherwise. My books have also made it into some foreign markets too, especially A Dog’s Way Home. About a year and a half ago, I left the library system I’d worked in for twenty-five years so I could write full time. That’s had its pluses and minuses, but I still think of myself as a librarian who happens to write.

ALLISON: This is my second interview with you. Catch readers up on highlights from your life since we talked in 2011?

BOBBIE: Probably the two biggest “lights” was the publication of my book, The Dogs Of Winter (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books) and leaving my career as a librarian.

ALLISON: When not writing how do you spend your time?

BOBBIE: Outside, with my dogs, as much as I can! I love to hike, bike, and just wander around the woods. I also am quite involved in several animal rescue organizations in Utah.

ALLISON: What is a fun quirk about you?

BOBBIE: Like Gen in Lucky Strike, I’m a little bit OCD. When I’m at the gym and I’m doing repetitions of things (like sit-ups), I can’t end on an odd number unless it’s a multiple of five. I also can’t eat off certain colors of plates or bowls. I also have a music soundtrack constantly going in my head that I have no control over. It even plays when I’m asleep, sometimes so loud it wakes me up!

ALLISON: What’s the one question you have yet to be asked? What’s the answer?

BOBBIE: “If you weren’t an author, what would you be?” The answer: a mermaid.

1 Response to "Catching up with Bobbie Pyron"

Thanks for taking part in the tour and hosting Bobbie!

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