We recently sat down with Cheryl Phillips, author of GG’s Journey: From Lost to Loved, for a Q&A session. Cheryl was asked questions ranging from inspiration, personal views, and morals to tips for writers and thoughts on animal activism. The first set of questions involves her writing process and journey with GG.
What is your book "GG’s Journey: From Loved to Lost" about?
It is an inspirational and educational story of GG, an abandoned pit bull mix, struggling to survive on the unforgiving streets of Detroit. Frightened, starving, sick, and ignored, GG knows her luck is running out. By chance, on May 20, 2009, one woman notices GG and sees in her eyes an animal longing to be loved. The woman takes GG to a local shelter for physical and emotional recovery.
How did you first learn of GG's story, was it suggested or was it something you were already interested in?
It was fate! Every year my corporate office sent a team of volunteers to Detroit for Habitat for Humanity to build houses. This particular year I was not scheduled that day in May, but at a later date. It was that day I found GG at the construction site lying under a grand Oak Tree, starved, flea-bitten and her coat balding. Her journey inspired me to write her story through her eyes. I’ve always loved animals. While growing up on my Great Grandparent’s dairy farm in Rochester, Michigan, I learned to respect and have compassion for all animals.
How did you decide on the memoir arrangement of the book? Had you envisioned that from the start?
Once I decided on a title it gave me the idea to depict the story in the weeks as the reader follows GG’s Journey, and leading up to Christmas.
What other types of research did you need to do for this book? How long did you research this project? How did you organize your research?
I researched shelter practices, no-kill, temperament testing, and read up on peritonitis and its cause, and many other topics. I searched best-selling books and covers and the classics for style and content. I rescued GG in 2009, and began writing GG’s Journey in in 2011. Also, much of what I wrote was based on my personal experiences with GG.
Who will this book appeal to? What age range would you recommend it for and why?
My readers range from nine years old to 90, which was my goal. It is both inspirational and educational. GG’s Journey appeals to all animal lovers, and all ages, and every reader will discover aspects of GG's Journey that will warm their heart.
What advice do you have for writers who are nervous to read their work aloud?
A little nervousness is good it keeps you on your toes. Know your subject matter and practice, practice, practice! Read to your pet, in front of a mirror, or to a family member. Tape yourself and play it back. Public speaking is the #1 fear! In college I could barely get through two minutes, now you can’t shut me up, and I’m still nervous, but I’ve learned to channel it to positive energy. You know your material better than anyone, you can do it! Good luck!
If you could only write one more book on your dog, what would be the title of the book?