Sunday, April 17, 2011

Diversion Press Welcomes Bill Rosencrans, Author of Dakota: A Work in Progress

Diversion Press talked with Bill Rosencrans about his book, Dakota: A Work in Progress and of course, about Dakota.  Below is what we learned.

How old is Dakota now?

Dakota is now five years old. It’s hard to believe. Like the old saying goes “Time flies when you’re having fun.” He still seems like a pup to me. I see to it that he squeezes as much fun as he can out of each and every day, and in turn, I have as much fun as he does. We’re inseparable.

Has he calmed now or is he still active?
No, he hasn’t really calmed down much at all. Aside from the fact that he no longer runs along the top of the couch coming dangerously close to knocking a large painting with a heavy frame off the wall and on to the heads of our guests sitting there, he is still very active. All of the other dogs in the neighborhood, which are mostly golden retrievers, gravitate toward him because he is so much fun to be around. Friends of mine told me that they can’t mention Dakota’s name in their house without their two goldens going bonkers. So, they refer to Dakota as “D” in their conversations. Dog owners have told me how their dogs pull them on their leash, wanting to come to the house to see if Dakota is home and wants to come out and play (including a Jack Russell and a twelve-inch hound). I’ve found Harper, my next door neighbor’s golden retriever, at my front door numerous times. I open the front door and in he comes, and out the back door the two of them go. Dakota then begins running laps around the yard. It’s the excitement of having a friend stopping by to see him that sets him off. It’s kind of like seeing a space shuttle taking off from Cape Canaveral.

Is he still getting into trouble?
Dakota is always in trouble. During the winter he’ll steal the gloves off your hand if you stop to pet him. He almost strangled Penny (a girl in her twenties who is a friend of the family) when he grabbed hold of the scarf she had tied around her neck and began pulling on it like he was in a tug-of-war. She was turning purple, and I couldn’t get the scarf out of his mouth. I actually began thinking “How in the world am I going to explain Penny’s death to Brett (her husband).

Where is Dakota’s favorite place to go?
That’s a toss-up. He loves going to Pet Smart, naturally. The girl at the counter loves Dakota, and consequently allows him to devour the entire supply of treats she keeps in a bowl on the counter alongside the register. But, Dakota also loves going to the bank. His head is next to mine, with his eyes locked on the teller at the drive-thru window, who sends a biscuit his way along with our transaction. He makes sure that she sees him - all the while panting in my ear, and drooling on my pant leg.

Who are his favorite people to be around?
Dakota loves children, being a child at heart himself. When he sees a gang of little kids laughing and playing he wants desperately to go to them. I have to keep telling him ‘Turn around. Pay attention to where you’re going.” He has walked into parked cars with his head turned around while walking forward, watching children at play.

Does he have any dog friends?
Dakota has more friends than I do. Six golden retrievers – Harper, Jackson, Rosie (whom Dakota is currently in love with) Cinnamon (who lives around the corner), and Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Harry likes boxing with Dakota while Ted watches. Ted’s a little up in the years.

Which story do people seem to like the most when you give talks?
Children like “Thief !” That was the short story where Dakota devoured the roast beef sandwich I left sitting on the counter-top while I was outside cooking a portabella mushroom on the grill. The adults seemed to enjoy the book in its entirety. Below is an e-mail from a woman who bought numerous copies of the book to give as a gift during the holiday season.

I have to tell you about some good friends of ours who received "Dakota" from us for Christmas.

Kathy, the wife, started reading the book before Jon, the husband. They have always had "Dakota" kinds of dogs during their 30+ year marriage. All of their children are now out of the house working or at college. Recently they adopted a very young, frisky, and "not so bright" female named Quinna. Well, when Jon returned from work one night Kathy read a chapter out loud to him. He laughed out loud and asked Kathy to read another chapter. And that's how they read the whole book. Kathy read it aloud to Jon while he had Quinna on his lap - a couple chapters each night. We got the funniest thank you card describing the entire process. They described every detail - including getting Quiinna into her "coat" to go outside for a "potty break" during one of the chapters.

Another couple we gave the book to have a 13 year old special needs daughter (their youngest) and after reading the book themselves, they read the book to her aloud. Now she has been trying to read it aloud to them, because Dakota is "just like" their dog, Sasha. Nathalie's interest level has been so high, her ability to read the book has been remarkable.

So do thank your husband for me...Everyone has truly enjoyed their experience with the book! Not to mention that I have been given great accolades for being the best gift giver ever!! It will certainly be hard to maintain that reputation, unless of course book 2 comes out for the next holiday season.

Can you share a story about Dakota that isn’t in the book?
Dakota nudged me with his nose waking me out of a sound sleep. I had no idea what time it was. All I knew was that I was dead tired and hoping that I wouldn’t have to pet his head, then hold his paw, pet his head again, then hold his other paw, for hours and hours. I wanted to get back to sleep. He then stood with his front paws on the frame of the bed looking down at me. It was then that he did the strangest thing. He did the Martian Mind Meld - a mind reading tactic that My Favorite Martian employed. My Favorite Martian was a TV show I used to watch when I was a kid – it obviously left a lasting impression upon me. I use the Martian Mind Meld on Dakota all the time, and now in the middle of the night he was doing the same thing to me. He put his forehead to mine and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I glanced at the clock on the VCR and saw that it was a quarter to four in the morning. Dakota got down off the bed, curled up on the floor, and went to sleep. Dakota didn’t need to read my mind to know how much I love him. I tell him so every five minutes, but sometimes the words alone are not enough, which is why we have The Martian Mind Meld.

What are the best and worst parts of being a published author?
The best part of being a published author is going to book signings and seeing for yourself the joy that you were able to bring into someone else’s life with your words. The worst part? There isn’t any.

What would you like potential readers to know?
I would like for my readers to know that this not a book about pet-care or how to train your dog. Far from it. Dakota will leave you laughing out loud – and there is no sad ending like Marley. It is appropriate for all ages, and it makes a great gift book.

Is there a question that you would like to leave up for comments or responses?
Yes. Did you get your copy of Dakota: A Work in Progress yet? Buy it. I promise you, you won’t regret it.


  1. I definitely need to get a copy of this book! My dog Yoda passed away in September. Liza Jane passed away in 2006. I miss them so much and this is the first time in several years that I've been without a dog. One of my favorite Liza Jane stories is about the time when she shut herself up in the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. I kept hearing her barking and I thought it was coming from the kitchen. I'd go look and never see her. Finally, I found her sitting there next to her bag of dogfood.

  2. It truly amzing the joy that a good dog like Liza Jane, and Yoda, can bring into your life. I hope you enjoy reading Dakota: A Work in Progress. Be sure to write again.

    All my Best,

    Bill Rosencrans

  3. Hi Bill,
    It is great to read about the love between man and his dog! Your Dakota stories remind everyone to give their own dog or dogs a big hug and pat on the head. You don't realize how much a part of your life they are until they go to the groomer for the afternoon or are at the kennel when you first return from vacation. It is at those times, when they are not waiting to greet you, that you realize what an impact they make! While my dogs can cause a lot of grief, they also bring continuous job and are a big part of our family! Thank you for the great stories! Give Dakota a hug for me.

  4. Hi Bill,

    How is upstate New York treating you? I was thinking about you today when my 5 year old Black Lab was running like crazy through the back yard. He was making huge circles and chasing absolutely nothing. When we leave the house both dogs howl, not bark, but howl, the entire time. If we come back really quietly they don't even know we are home and they don't stop.

    This may indeed become my staple question: What was your most interesting experience during a book signing?

  5. I grew up in a cat household as a little girl. It wasn't until I got married that we got our first puppy, a black lab named Lucky. I've learned dogs are a lot more work but, it's the work that builds such a strong bond. She is the protector of our home and our children. I tell my husband we should have named her Angel she is so sweet.

    I will definitely read this one to my girls.

    P.S. Does Dakota ever go to book signings with you? I'm sure that would be an interesting tale.

  6. I'm so happy to hear that it doesn't have a sad ending!!! I love dog stories but why do they always have to be so sad? From "Old Yeller" to "Marley & Me" and, sure, Lassie came home and Benji made out okay but not until he saved those kidnapped kids and watched his girlfriend get severely kicked by the bad guy. i just want a dog story that will make me laugh and want to go adopt a dog! "Dakota" sounds like that kind of story!

    I miss Liza & Yoda too, Katie!

    Best of luck with the book, Bill!

  7. This sounds like a delightful story and reminds me of my first dog when I was young, a black cocker spaniel named Trixie. She was very lovable. Years later, a yellow dog showed up on our porch in the rain, stayed with us for a few years, then took off as mysteriously as he had arrived.

  8. I don't have my copy yet, but I sure plan on getting one. We recently lost our Boxer/Black Lab Sammy who was a wonderful, perfect dog. But her sibling, Hannah, a beagle doberman mix was always a work in progress. We loved her too despite her challenging behavior. Dogs sure have a way of working their way into your heart. Congratulations on your book!