Author W. Bruce Cameron wasn’t planning on writing a series of books about dogs. Instead, he was wooing his future wife into letting another dog into her life.
Wondering if that was going to be a deal breaker, Cameron, whose had dogs since he was young, decided to tell her a story while they were driving.
“I just made up a story about how her dog would want her to have another puppy and that I really believe we’ll see our true friends again,” says Cameron, author of the recently released Max’s Story: A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tale (Tor Books 2018; $16.99), acknowledging that when we adopt a canine, we’re setting ourselves up for a very bad day sometime in the future. “She liked the story so much she not only married me but told me I needed to make turn the story into a book.”
The result was A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans which spent 52 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, became the first in the Dog’s Purpose series and was made into a movie. Currently, Cameron’s A Dog’s Way Home, another best seller, is being filmed.
Though Cameron writes other novels including a mystery series about a repo man who lives in Michigan (the novelist is from Petoskey, Michigan) which have been well-received, it’s the way he portrays animals that seems to win the most readers from young to old. Max’s Story features a New York canine cutie, who “adopts” a naïve young woman and shows her how to handle big city life. The puppy purpose series are for young readers and though they’re written to be easily readable, writing them is the challenge says Cameron.
“When I’m writing these puppy tales, I start off with a real challenge for myself—I need to think like a dog would think,” he says. “Dogs don’t think in words but they know the difference between a ball, chair or tree. I made a mistake in an earlier book when I mentioned a red light. A dog doesn’t see colors. But dogs are very in-tune with feelings—I’ve witnesses that—and for a story to advance you have to show it through what the dog knows and doesn’t know and how they see the world.”