katherine-lockeKatherine Locke talks about her approach to making the story collection Dog Days, reading for the Bridport Prize and inspiring children to read for pleasure.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind Dog Days?

A: I love dogs! Writing is often a way in which we explore our relationship with others and our relationship with animals, dogs in particular, is constantly fascinating. Dogs are our companions, child substitutes, protectors, work mates, burglar alarms, excuse to get out of the house and a unique expression of our human need to communicate. Any of these ideas would make an interesting start for a short story. However, I was also interested in the duality of the phrase ‘Dog Days’. It can be interpreted literally (as above), or used to explore ideas around high summer. I think the introduction to the book goes into this in a bit more detail.

When we are looking for starting points for writing it helps to have something that can be interpreted in as many ways as possible and have differing meanings depending on context. I certainly wasn’t looking for a collection of stories about dogs, and in fact the stories that were about heat and the end of the summer were generally far more interesting. It is very hard to write about animals without becoming mawkish. What we have ended up with is, I hope, a balance between animal based stories and those exploring other themes.

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