It is my pleasure to host Mavis Duke Hinton, a fellow OakTara author, and lover of dogs. This makes her one of my favorite people already! Mavis is a precious Godly woman and I know you will enjoy this interview and her books!
Mavis, tell us a little about you and what makes you tick?
In my 21-year career as an English teacher, I have taught AP British literature, creative writing, speech, journalism, and English for grades 7 – 12. Currently, I teach English online with Sycamore Online Academy in California to students across the USA and several foreign countries, but I live in North Carolina—such is technology!
Although born in North Carolina, I grew up in a military family and lived abroad in Europe during my childhood. I’ve also called several U.S. states home, but my favorite was Alaska.
I have had several careers, most of which had something to do with teaching and/or writing and editing: I have been an editor for Christian and secular organizations, including the North Carolina State Budget and Liberty University—but in my twenties, I spent a year as a police officer, since at that time, my husband and brother-in-law were in law enforcement. Over the years, I’ve jokingly told students that my stint in law enforcement gave me additional training for the classroom (laughs).
I enjoy traveling, reading, writing, cooking, spending time with my family, and laughing. Oh yes—I love to laugh and share it with others—it makes life enjoyable!
My hubby Clark and I have been married for forty-one years and we have two wonderful married daughters and sons-in-law. We are also blessed with three grandchildren, one granddawg Shadow (upon whom the Sarge in my books is based), four grandkitties, and our own dachshund, Duke. Clark is also a teacher—of middle school science–at a local school.
You are truly a well-rounded woman, Mavis! Tell us about your books.
I have two published novels now: I AM SARGE, Book 1, and I AM DACHSHUND, Book 2. DACHSHUNDS FOREVER is currently a work in progress—the operative word here is “progress,” since I am about half way through the story at this time.
Why do you write from the dachshund’s viewpoint?
Oh, I’ve been asked that question countless times . . . and I always give the same answer, basically something like this:
It is a running joke in our family that we just know what a dachshund is thinking by its facial expression and body language. My late father used to tell us what our dachshunds were thinking, and I believe I have inherited that “gene” for doing so. All of this is tongue in cheek, of course—and it makes for many a laugh around our house. When I decided to walk away from full-time teaching and write my books, my family encouraged me to use the dog’s viewpoint in the books. Voila—Sarge the author!
My other reasons (besides the “gene” thing) for writing from the dog’s viewpoint are:
1) I enjoy imagining how day-to-day happenings must appear to the family dog;
2) I can shift reality to share with readers what dogs think about life situations;
3) I have a zany sense of humor (my family can attest to that), and can use such humor when incorporating it into the dog’s viewpoint;
4) I love and appreciate dogs as man’s best friend. They show us unconditional love, like God has for us. One of the characters in THE DACHSHUND ESCAPADES series, Papa Duke, so aptly states my feelings about dogs:
“A dawg loves you no matter what. You can be ugly, old, even dumb–but a dawg don’t care. All he wants is your love and some food now and then. I think dawgs represent the unconditional love God has for us–maybe that’s why He created them, to show that to us.”
I have a Chihuahua that stays right by my side all day long! I can read her facial expressions and know what’s on her mind. We laugh at her all day long–her patterns and silly behavior. So I can completely relate to what you said. Now tell us what Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
With my Southern roots, one can never go wrong with GONE WITH THE WIND. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read it or seen the movie—and a rarity, the movie is true to the book. Love it.
I feel the same way about Pride and Prejudice. I have a feeling you will be able to answer this next question quite easily. What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
Oh my. At present, I suppose my shenanigans in playing Barbies with the granddaughters, who are six and seven. We all adopt our own “voices,” and act out a story, but we often end in giggles! I usually attempt some sort of foreign accent with my Barbie character as well. I’ve also done puppet shows for them with various stuffed toys as the characters, and I get behind a table or couch and do all the characters myself. I’m zany with the grandchildren.
With our little grandson who will be two next month, we look at his books together. I’ll point to various pictures and say the wrong thing; for example, I’ll point to a dog and say, “Look at that nice cow.” He laughs and loves to correct me: “No, Gamma, DOGGIE.” He knows I’m joking, but he loves setting me straight.
I look forward to the days of grandchildren. Please tell us about the featured book.
Sometimes a dachshund’s “lowdown from the ground” perspective is just what human beings need.
I was only eight weeks old when I was adopted into my new human family who knew immediately I was a super dog. They proudly gave me the name Sarge—after my Papa Duke, who was a sergeant in the Army. Quite a fitting name for a good-looking dachshund too, I might add. I just know someday I’ll do great and mighty things, befitting a super dog.
But in the meanwhile, I’ll just steal your heart and make you laugh out loud with the antics of this “chow hound.” And maybe, if you come over, Papa and I—two food lovers—might just share a snack or two with you, too.
Fall in love with Sarge, the quintessential dachshund,
and laugh along with his foibles and humorous escapades.
Cute, cute, cute!!!!! Can you please give us the first page?
(Remember, my book is written from Sarge’s viewpoint!)
My earliest memory is leaving my mother and all my brothers and sisters. One moment I was cuddled up with all of them, all warm and comfy, dreaming my usual dreams that lazy afternoon. The next thing I knew, I was being lifted out of that pile of sibling noses, feet, tails, and teeth! I felt large hands holding me and heard voices talking.
I wasn’t sure what was happening then—all I knew was that I was no longer warm and secure. I wanted my mama; I wanted to be sleeping with my Precious, my Emmy, my Samantha, and my Butchie. The pack leader lady my family lived with was holding me, and then handed me over to a young man and woman who looked at me kindly, even if I didn’t like what I sensed in that moment.
“Oh, Philip, isn’t he the cutest thing,” said the pretty young woman with the shiny brown hair. “We want to take him home with us today, don’t we?”
Philip, who had been staring at me, rubbed my ears and patted me on the head. “Holly, I believe this little fellow is a bit afraid of us. Look how he’s shaking—like he’s freezing.” Philip continued to rub my head, and I have to admit it was reassuring.
As the pack leader lady and the young couple walked to the front of the house discussing my future for the next few minutes, I began to wonder where Mama and the rest of my family were. Why weren’t they with me? Why did the lady give me to this young couple?
Where can readers find you on the Internet?
My website: www.MavisDukeHinton.com
My blog: www.blog.MavisDukeHinton.com
My Facebook page: Mavis Duke Hinton’s Books.
Thank you, Mavis, for stopping by. I wish you much success with these books and your future ones.