By Deana Luchia
A year ago, I never imagined my first non-fiction book (Happy as Harry) would be published. I had written a book I needed for myself – tips and advice on staying positive, being happy and fighting the blues, and it was narrated by one of my gorgeous rescue dogs, Harry. Somehow I had found an agent who liked my manuscript enough to call me about changes she thought I should make and that, in itself was the most exciting news: An agent liked my book! I didn’t dare hope or think that it would go any further because, like all writers, I know how hard it is, how so many things need to magically align, to even get a look-in with a publisher.
But my agent did find a publisher, Headline Home, and they were enthusiastic about my dog book and amazing when we met at their offices in London (with my dogs, Harry and Dottie, in tow). And so they published my book in November!
The whole thing has been a wonderful experience. And I use it to motivate myself when I’m struggling to sit still at my computer or unsure that I’m on the right track: Keep going! Keep writing! Keep writing about what you love!
My ‘co-author’ and narrator is a little Bichon Frise, Harry. Harry hasn’t had an easy life. He was kept in cruel conditions on a puppy farm for seven years before he was rescued by Many Tears Animal Rescue and then adopted by me two years ago. Harry loves adventures and having our book published means he’s been having the time of his life! He’s been on a photo-shoot (he’s on the cover), taken trains and cabs into central London for meetings and interviews (he loves trains, cabs, going to new places, seeing new people, having fun of any kind). He’s been the only dog ever allowed in the studio at audible (and was a complete pro, staring into the camera whilst I chatted nervously) and sat on my knee whilst I did a book signing at home. I love and laugh at how he’s just so at ease with being an author!
We’ve been featured in magazines and on websites and last week I walked into my favourite book shop (Waterstones on Piccadilly in London), and there was my book! In an actual bookshop. With the other dog books. I’ve been beaming ever since.
It has been lovely and fabulous and a dream come true as a writer. I’m so happy I chose to keep on writing about something I love. This whole long journey has inspired me to keep going with the two works of fiction I’ve been writing on and off for several years. And so I am determined to finish the first drafts of both of them by the year-end. (One is already done!) And I am going to write the characters and stories I like rather than what I used to think I should be writing. And I’m already thinking of my next dog book. Because I can’t not write about dogs for very long. And besides, my Jack Russell, Dottie, wants a book of her own.