I love a book whose main character is a dog, and today’s guest and I seem to be of like mind on that! Please welcome the highly accomplished and fascinating Devra Robitaille to the Reading Room today!
Q. Hello, Devra! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. I was born in London, England, but I have lived in America for a long time. I lived in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, but now I live on the beautiful Sarasota Bay with a view that is so amazing it’s like having magnificent artwork by the Masters outside my window everyday. I’ve always written–as a child it was my favorite pastime. I’ve had several careers; as a session musician in London, as a singer/songwriter and script-writer in LA and now writing books for young people in a beautiful (although sometimes a bit too hot) Florida paradise. In my professional life I have worked for and with many fascinating characters in various capacities, not the least of which was George Harrison, John Lennon, Leonard Cohen, Michael Jackson and Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame. I adore creative people, and I think I understand them. My daughter says I can be difficult when I am writing and to that I answer “good, then I must be on the right track.” 🙂
Q. Agreed! And, wow! Can you tell us something about your greatest success?
A. I think my greatest success was when a prominent and well-known Disney producer by the name of Peter Schneider optioned one of my shows for Broadway and my writing partner and I put it on in LA to a rip-roaring reception—packed houses every night, even the fire department came on the last night of a six week run and gave us a warning as people were sitting on the stairs all the way up the aisles. It was an amazing feeling to see people cheering and laughing and thinking because of something I wrote. Very humbling.
Q. That’s amazing! What have you found to be your biggest challenge as an author?
A. The challenge for me has always been dealing with the mundane. The creative out-pouring is relatively easy for me, always has been, but then comes the slog of proof-reading, or marketing or any of the other million things that have to be done that are not so “glamorous” to make something successful. It’s easy to look at someone and think of that person as an overnight success, but we don’t see all the work and possibly even heartbreak that has gone into that success.
I come from a musical background, my mother was a lyricist and wrote for British TV in the ‘60’s and my father was a well-known composer and conductor in the London session scene. In fact he wrote some music for Dr. Who which was recently honored at the Albert Hall in the fiftieth anniversary concert.
My earliest memories are of sitting at my father’s feet at the BBC under his conductor’s podium and looking up at him as he almost mystically controlled seventy-five musicians, or sitting at the back of the TV studio and watching as my parents created one of those variety specials that were popular in that time. I saw my mother cry when someone else got a writing job she desperately wanted, but then I also saw that bright look on her face as she watched my father being given an award for a particular film or TV show. It’s like you see it all in layers, you see the success on the surface like the icing on the cake, but you were there to see the underpinnings of the work and struggle and hopes and sometimes dashed dreams that go on behind the scenes. The challenge is to keep smiling no matter what is thrown at you.
Q. What wonderful stories! Thanks so much for sharing! What plans do you have for the future?
A. I just finished a book a few days ago! I am excited about it. It’s called “The Henge” and I am in that very arduous proofreading phase now. I plan to start a sequel to it when I recover. 🙂
Q. Where can people keep up with you and buy your books?
Devra’s Amazon Author Central Page: Author.to/robitaille
Muffy and the Dog Catcher on Amazon: getBook.at/MuffyDC
Muffy is a happy and curious Goldendoodle puppy who lives on a farm. One day she chases a silly grasshopper and gets lost. She finds herself alone and hungry, on the point of collapse, but luck is on her side and she is adopted by a wonderful family, the Gabriels, who have a very orderly and devoted pack of dogs. Muffy becomes part of her new family, and is accepted by Radar and Oliver and the gang, but she still pines for her sister, Riff, and misses the farm. One of her new friends, Wise Dog, introduces her to a very unusual Dog Catcher who has a special talent.
Muffy’s courageous journey is full of laughter and adventure as she tries to unite her two families.