Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eleven Up: Interview with Terry Lynn Johnson

I'm thrilled to share an interview with Elevensies debut author Terry Lynn Johnson.  Terry is the author of DOGSLED DREAMS, a middle grade adventure featuring a twelve year old musher and her wonderful team of dogs.  Here's the summary from Terry's website:

Twelve-year-old Rebecca dreams of becoming a famous sled dog racer.

She’s an inventive but self-doubting musher who tackles blinding blizzards, wild animal attacks, puppy training, and flying poo missiles. All of her challenges though, seem easier than living up to the dogs’ trust in her abilities.

Rebecca runs her huskies along the crisp trails near Thunder Bay, Ontario, where northern lights flare and dangerous beavers lurk.
Through the bond she shares with the dogs, Rebecca learns that hard work, dedication and living in the moment bring their own rewards.

DOGSLED DREAMS has received wonderful reviews and was recently named as Recommended Read by the Iditarod Education Department.  Terry draws from her own experience as a musher, and the dogs in the books are based on dogs she has known and loved.

I understand that Rebecca's dog team is based on your own dogs, right down to their markings and personalities. What liberties did you take with their characters in the book?

I may have made Doppler a little more handsome. And Apollo a little more homely. But, for the most part - their main character traits are reflected. I didn't have to change them much for the sake of story since they are unique and interesting all on their own. They made it quite easy to write about them. 

Which dog is most like you?   

One of my dogs, Tarzan, had a particular trait that sort of made him stand out. When people approached him, he'd smile like a person - pulling his lips back from his gleaming sharp teeth. Of course, he's made it into the story. He was such a comical dog. He didn't really lead, mostly liked to pull in team position - that's just nicely in the middle of the team. He almost always got along with any dog I put him beside. I like to imagine that I'm most like him. Just happy to be here. And smiling brightly.

What books are you looking forward to in 2011?  

Every single one of The Elevensies books!

What are you working on now?  

The working title is Wolf Ridge, it's a YA canoeing adventure story based on my many years working as a Canoe Ranger in Quetico Park.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?  

Write what you are passionate about, don't worry what the markets are doing.

You can see the trailer and more great photos of Terry and her dogs here.


  1. Thanks for the interview! This sounds like such a great outdoorsy adventure story, and I love your photos. I confess, I'm a secret dog-lover but am resigned to living with a cat who will never share space. I'll have to read dog stories to get my fix. Looking forward to this one!

  2. Love hearing about the dogs that inspired Rebecca's dogs!

  3. Oh, I love your smiling dog, Terry! Wonderful book, too. :)