Interview with MG urban fantasy author Mindy Mymudes

Today’s
guest is Mindy Mymudes to share a bit about her middle-grade urban fantasy
novel, George Knows.

Mindy is offering some swag and a gift card to a lucky commenter. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below.
Welcome, Mindy. Please tell us a
little bit about yourself.
My background
is pretty varied. I have a master’s in biology, where I specialized in the
population genetics of a rare plant. I’ve worked as a landscaper, a human
anatomy instructor, a hazardous waste lab manager, a university greenhouse
manager, a greyhound lead-out at a track, and a bakery clerk. There are a lot
of others, but I forget. On purpose. I raise a lot of plants, some 300 under
lights in my basement during the winter. And mainly I raise, train,
(allegedly), and breed top-ranked performance English springer spaniels under
the kennel name of Muddy Paws.
Please tell us about your current
release, George Knows.
An
egotistical magical basset hound named George believes it’s his duty to train
and protect his 12-year-old Girlpup, a greenwitch named Karly. He and his
Girlpup, must solve a murder as well as save their park from being developed.
George is the perfectly designed familiar for the job.
Freaky Beak
What inspired you to write this book?
I was
actually trying to answer questions for an article in Dog Fancy. Instead of
what I was supposed to be doing, the first three pages of a story showed up. I
assumed it was about a crazy dog I once had who had climbed a ladder to steal a
roofer’s lunch, scared a famous hockey player into a tree because the dog’s
smile looked like a growl, intercepted a football from Joe Montana, and would
break out of my house to show up during my classes. He’d find his way in, plunk
himself at the back of the room, curl up to sleep, and snore and fart. Loudly.
Which he never did at home. He also brought a young boy to my house, because
every dog needs a boy. My husband and I became his foster parents.
After those
early pages, I ended up nose to muzzle with a dog that had bad breath, a smooth
coat, extremely long ears and a lot of wrinkles and loose skin. He looked me in
the eyes and told me he was NO springer. Springer’s were stupid dogs that would
do anything for a treat, no matter how foolish. He expected the treats, but if
he thought I was going to make him do anything that didn’t make sense I was
crazy. He was a perfectly designed basset hound familiar, his name was George,
and he needed someone with thumbs to type his story. I understood dogs, so I
would do.
Excerpt:
I
don’t understand my Girlpup; the rest of my Pack adores me. Packmom Doreen  is always an easy conquest. She saved me when
I was a puppy and I fell over my ears, and my legs wouldn’t stay under me. She
is the most important member of the Pack—she feeds us.
Just
not often enough.
Packdad
Brian is very well trained and does whatever Packmom Doreen wants. In the last
two years, I’ve become a model of the perfect hunting hound. Karly needs to see
me for what I am, and she doesn’t.
Yet.
When
I prowl in her mind, I see how she pictures me—a clumsy, stupid, wobbly pup. I
shouldn’t have to prove to her I am the best familiar in the world or that I am
brilliant. I shouldn’t, but I know I’ll have to.
“George!”
she shouts through panting. Why is she running? “Where the heck are you?”
Although
Karly’s scent changed after her twelfth birthday from sweetmilkFrootLoops to that
fakeflowerchemical that she thinks removes her odor, I know it’s her. Even if I
can’t smell her, I can still hear her stumble over the path. Big rocks and
trees that scrape the sky get in the way. She needs to get lower to the ground.
Now she’s sneezing. If only she’d work with me, her allergies would go bye-bye.
Whoever heard of an allergic witch-in-training? We can use green magic. But
Karly will first have to trust me.
And
she doesn’t.
Yet.
Maybe
when she gets older.
She
will.
I
continue to scrape my claws into the damp ground, searching for more
smelltastes and listening for my Girlpup. She’s panting like it’s a hot day. At
least she’s catching up. I am satisfied she’s okay, and dig like a badger with
my wonderful big paws and claws, the ideal excavation tools. I wish I was
digging up the den of a rabbit. I slow to sniff.
No.
There’s
no rabbit here.
Something
different’s calling me.
What
the heck is it?
Dirt
and roots pile up behind me, and my rear is now higher than my front as I dig.
I scrape against rocks and try to push them away. They aren’t rocks—too long
and thin. I wrap my jaws around one and toss it with a headshake out of the
hole. I find another and do the same thing, until there is a pile of
buff-colored things that look like bleached driftwood.
I
heave myself out of the hole and investigate my find. The thick sticks are
hairy with fine roots. I pick one up. It’s light for its size, hollow, and
about the size of a rawhide bone. It has a round knob on one side and is broken
off on the other. I retrieve more pieces from the hole and sit.
Maybe
they are old branches.
No.
They
don’t smelltaste like old branches.
Hmmm.
Karly
finally shows up, huffing and puffing, out of breath. She needs to get out
more. I poke my nose into the pile of things I’ve dug out. “George, what are
you doing? You aren’t, um, eating those, are you?”
I
look at her like she’s crazy. I don’t eat wood.
Anymore.
Karly
points to the things and counts them. “So what did you find? There are nine of
whatever they are.” She bends down and touches one. “Weird, they look like
someone snapped them in half.” My Girlpup takes one of the longer things and
rubs off the dirt.
She
drops it like it’s a pan just out of the oven. I take a sniff; it’s not hot.
There’s something here, though.
Not
a good something, either.
            “G-G-George, those are bones,”
Karly’s voice breaks as she stutters over my name. I take another sniff. Yeah,
they could be bones. What’s the problem with that? I lick one. It tastes like
dirt. They’ve been here a long time.
Yup.
That’s
it.
Just
a bunch of animal bones. Maybe a big dog buried them. What’s bothering her? The
hackles rise on the back of my neck. The not good gassulfurdrysnakecatstink
smelltaste spins around my brain like smoke.
Oh.
Oh
no.
I
hack and cough. I know exactly what kind of bones these are.
            I look Karly in the eye and push a
picture of a Halloween skeleton. I know she doesn’t like it when I go into her
head without permission, but this is important. I am not sharing the good
stuff, like manure, rotting fish, and dead animals.
             “No way. These aren’t human bones,” she
squeaks and backs up.
            Nope, she can’t ignore these. I pick
one up gently between my teeth and carry it to her feet. I carefully place it
in front of her toes then shake my muzzle, lips flopping from side to side,
trying to get the taste of Peep bone out of my mouth. Peep bone.
It’s
awful.
Bassets
do not eat Peeps’ bones. We only chew
non-peep bones. We need our Peeps to hunt for our fresh, meaty bones.
            “George, leave it. We need to talk
to Aunt Heather about them. She’ll know if they’re human or not, and what to do
if they are.” Karly gulps. “If they aren’t…I hope they aren’t. You’ve never
smelled human bones, so how’d you know?”
            Um, I am your familiar. I have
magical skills? There’s something off about the bones, and a weak scent gets
stronger as I inhale.
Blegh.
It’s
a really bad smelltaste
What exciting story are you working on
next?
Tillie’s Tale. George once again wrested control of
my laptop and showed me the story of a lost ghostygirl. He’s not sure if she
should be banished because she might become a poultry-geist, or help her so she
can be at peace.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
I’m not so
sure I am. At least of fiction. I’ve written for dog magazines, technical
articles, plant books, and texts. Well, there was a zombie love story that was
published. It was originally written as a Valentine present for my husband. It
went over like a lead balloon.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I don’t
write full-time, seems like I plan to write, and then I end up taking care of
plants, dogs, and a house that has some odd idiosyncracies.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
Fighting
off the Freaky Beak so I can write. I also can’t write in long stretches. I
write on legal paper with a pencil and then transcribe it onto my laptop. I get
my first re-write done that way.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
A
geologist. Then a mining engineer. Then a gardener. Then a geneticist. Then
rich. I got the geneticist part.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
George is
fun to write. I think we share the same sense of sarcasm. There are things that
are odd to me. How he looks at the world, only thinking in present tense. I
thought I knew dogs until I met him, and I live with a pack of them. George’s
world is set in Wisconsin, but it’s not set. It’s an easy state, with many
strange creatures. George finds out about Hodags, and I think there are many
unusual things he’ll discover over time. Or maybe he knows, and I’m the one
that’ll make the discoveries.
Links:
Thanks, Mindy!

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4 thoughts on “Interview with MG urban fantasy author Mindy Mymudes

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. Trying to write with a young dog who thinks every moment should be shared with her is interesting. Almost as bad as a toddler. I have to gate her into the kitchen, or she steals things. Like my socks. And spoons.

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