Updated: May 11
Hello I am Joanne Jarvis and I live in Cheshire with my husband Richard and our rescue animals. I have always had a great love of animals, but could never have imagined how our pet dog Dexter could change my life. It is wonderful to experience a special bond with a pet and my connection with Dexter, our brave, beautiful and charismatic Dalmatian dog led to me writing my debut book called Dexter’s Diary.
When did you realise that you wanted to write and publish a book?
In actual fact, I thought about writing a book some years before writing commenced. Dexter’s book is largely based on diary entries kept throughout his life and demonstrates the lasting and transformative impact of our pets. From a tiny pup, we kept a diary on Dexter for our own reference and interest. This initially recorded his progress, socialisation, significant events, puppy training and medical information. We always holidayed with Dexter and we recorded trips and adventures in his diary. Sadly, Dexter endured health problems throughout his life. We did everything and anything we could to help him. Whilst taking care of him I learnt something purposeful and powerful from Dexter because of our profound inexplicable connection. This is included in Dexter’s story too. Dexter’s Diary is a refreshing, heart-warming true story and his book offers helpful, practical advice throughout without preaching. I hope that all of this informative information will assist people and their pets now that Dexter’s book is published.
Okay, so you have decided to write a book, where did you start?
I sat down one day and wrote from the heart. Dexter was beside me and sadly poorly at this time. It lifted my spirits to reminisce about the early years, our adventures and many of the fun times that we enjoyed. Reading his Diary entries brought every emotion back, as if experiencing all over again.
What were the things along the way that both helped and hindered you during the writing of this book?
I spent a lot of time submitting proposals to publishers when I could have been finishing Dexter’s book. I was receiving positive feedback but because I was a debut author and there are an awful lot of pet books on the market in the end I decided to champion my own project. I contacted a publishing partnership who helped me with the process but I kept full control. It is fabulous to see Dexter’s book in print. Dexter’s Diary is helping people and their pets in so many ways.
Did the process of writing this book come naturally to you? Did it run smoothly? Or was it an uphill battle?
Writing was ad-hoc because of work and family commitments. However, when I was in ”the zone” writing was both enjoyable and natural.
Set the scene. When you sat down to write, where were you? What did you need to help you? Did you have a routine with your writing? Tell us what was conducive to a successful writing session.
I enjoyed writing outdoors whenever this was possible. I love being outside. When I was away from distractions, writing seemed to flow effortlessly. Because I have Myelopathy and other health conditions sitting working at a computer for lengthy periods caused further pain and discomfort. I often wrote in pencil and made notes when additional memories popped into my head when I wasn’t sitting writing intentionally. I’m sure that we all wake during the night thinking of things. I jotted additional memories down that I was reminded of in my dreams and could include in the book. When it came to typing up, if I struggled because of pain in joints and back etc and I couldn’t do all of this myself, I was very grateful to have the help of a lovely old school friend who assisted by typing from time to time when needed. It was a cathartic process writing especially then reading out what I had written to be typed up. It is funny that a number of friends and family members who have since read the published book have remarked that they can actually “hear” me speaking when they read Dexter’s Diary.
Did you enjoy the process and is it something that you plan to do again?
Yes, I enjoyed the process of writing and have aspirations to publish further books with an animal (pet) theme. Animals are my life and passion and can have such a transformative impact on our lives.
Whilst you were writing the book, what inspired you? What made you keep at it and not push delete?
I made a promise to Dexter that I would do this. Dexter showed me what it was like to have an animal soul mate and he transformed my life. Through tragedy and triumph Dexter’s book entertains, educates and explores the importance of our human-animal bond. The gifts which came from our connection are shared within our memoir and have helped people and their pets far and wide and benefited countless animal charities. Dexter’s Diary gently and sensitively inspires readers to consider the possibility that inter-species communication is possible and that love never dies. I hope that all who pick up this book find Dexter’s Diary a comforting read and that Dexter is sufficiently honoured with a fitting tribute. Above all, Dexter kept me going ..I would move heaven and earth for him..
Now the book is written, finished and published, is there anything looking back that you would have done differently?
Social Media presence should have been in place long before – I am new to this arena!
Did you find the cover design part of the process difficult or enjoyable? And what were the feelings and emotions of handing your creation over to someone else to have the cover designed?
A conversation with Tim was all it took for him to understand the intrigue I was wanting to put across with Dexter’s book cover. There is no photo or information included about me as the author because this is first and foremost Dexter’s book. Tim clearly listened and understood. He is an animal lover himself and is super-talented. Tim produced an absolutely stunning cover to encapsulate the essence of the book and the beauty of Dexter, which is why the book came about after all. I am extremely proud and pleased with the result.
Is there any advice that you would like to offer anybody reading this who is currently writing, or thinking of writing a book?
If you have a heartfelt desire and know deep down that you are destined to write a book, then that is simply what you should do. The words are within you, so take steps towards your dream and ensure that the words are written down as you are guided. However long it takes, enjoy the process.
Dexter's diary is out now on Amazon!
Cover designed by DISSECT DESIGNS
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