Interview: Authors Jane Murphy and Allison Fingerhuth

Jane Murphy                                       ………….                Allison Fingerhuth

A Snoutz Adventure:  Piper’s Secret Ingredient

Mutt Media


Please welcome our guests, author Jane Murphy and Allison Fingerhuth, co-authors of the new book Pipper’s Secret Ingredient, a hilarious world-wide dog chase for the secret ingredient that will make the perfect dog treat.

A review of Pipper’s Secret Ingredient will be available midnight tonight. Catch it HERE!

How did the two of you come together to write Pipper’s Secret Ingredient?

We met in Zurich, Switzerland. Allison still lives there, and I (Jane) now live back in the States in NYC. We met at a professional women’s organization event in Zurich and discovered our complimentary backgrounds in industries related to kids and also to food.

I was a partner in the children’s video company KIDVIDZ and also CHOW, a food content creator for kids and families. Allison had worked at both Nickelodeon and had done some work for the Food Network.

We also share a love of dogs and decided to explore creating a line of nutritious dog treats, which at the time didn’t really exist in Switzerland. One thing led to another, and Snoutz Adventures was born with our collaboration on Pipper’s Secret ingredient—our first title in an anticipated series of books and multi-media products.

How did you decide on a writing schedule and who would write what?

We had a few interruptions due to other professional obligations and various moves, but we pretty much kept to our plan. We had initial and intermittent brainstorms and then divided up sections of the story and then edited and reedited each other and ourselves. We had an established children’s book editor critique our first draft and then we put the story through a rigorous edit before reaching a finished manuscript.

The cover is beautiful and the illustrations are fantastic. Tell me something odd about your illustrator, Neal Sharp.

We combed through almost 100 artist’s portfolios online and discovered Neal through the Society of Writers and Illustrators. We immediately fell in love with his talents and skill. He was a joy to work with, very responsive to our needs with a total sense of wit and an attention to detail. We worked with him on the book for over two years via email and phone and never saw what he looks like until he sent his picture to us for the SnoutzAdventures website.  

What is the most difficult part of co-authoring a fictional book that is slapstick zany?

We had a lot of fun creating the cast of characters in Pipper’s world and working to create a story that would work on multiple levels. We want to offer parents and other caregivers entertainment as well as kids 7 and up. Although Allison and I began work on the book when we were both in Zurich, the bulk of our collaboration was done long distance with Allison living for a time in Warsaw, Poland and then returning to Zurich and me in New York. Skype came to the rescue in enabling us to be together virtually when needed. Of course, email, cloud programs for sending large files and the Internet itself made the whole endeavor easier and richer.

If it were possible for any character to come alive and retain its human characteristics, other than Pipper, who would you want the character to be and why?

We love Fifi and her total embrace of life—her interest in life-long learning, in keeping active, in making friends with everyone, and her generosity of spirit, and of course, her active taste buds and passion about food. She’s like a cool aunt you’d want to always hang out with.

The two of you have worked long and hard on your book, together. Can each of you please tell me what you think are the other’s best and worst writing habits and something funny about her?

Jane: Allison is a dependable and thorough collaborator. She has a definite funny bone and is in touch with her inner child, and I enjoyed our brainstorming, particularly the chase scene through the train cars of the Orient Express. I felt Allison was really into it, following along with the Piroghis and trying to nab Bumbles in his many disguises.

Allison: Jane is creative and has a great command of language. It was a funny time writing the scene in Egypt. We had long discussions about how a jeep feels going up and down sandy dunes. I almost got car sick in my desk chair.

Do either of you have a favorite Pipper recipe?

We are particularly fond—well our dogs are—of the Quinoa WonderBar dog treats. As for people food, we love the Salade Nicoise that Pipper shares with Fifi in Paris.

This is probably the most serious question I will ask, so please take your time. Pipper and her friends, and the villain and his cohort, plus a multitude of supporting players are dogs of one breed or another. Many, many, many of our readers will want to why dogs and not cats? Cats are cunning, curious, and have nine lives.

We are dog people. We believe dogs are the best people. That said, we anticipate cats will make appearances in future Snoutz Adventures.

Do any of the characters have a doppelgänger barking up a tree somewhere?

Pipper was inspired by Allison’s dog Lu (Lulu). Some of the other dog characters’ traits were influenced by my old dog Zoe and my kids’ dogs Marbles and Ruby: Sophie’s smarts and generosity, Hilda’s antics, Sidney’s loyalty, Chance’s cautiousness are some of the personality traits inspired by these family dogs.

Will there be a second Pipper and friends book?

We have many more Snoutz Adventures stories featuring Pipper in development. The titles give a clue as to the goings-on: (release dates not yet scheduled)

Lights, Camera, Pipper!

Pipper and the Search for the Missing Mailbag,

Pipper’s Iron Baker Caper,

Pipper’s Trials at the Steel Bone Triathlon,

Pipper’s Daring Grand Canyon Discovery,

Pipper Shines When Fetchwood Goes Dark,

Pipper in the Cross Hairs in Quebec,

Pipper Unmasks the Truth in Venice.

Would Pipper have anything to say to the kids reading her book, if she were here?

Pipper would want kids to know that life is full of BowWOW experiences and that it’s important to be open to trying new things, new foods, going new places, meeting new people. At the same time, she would say that the things she values most are her friends. She values their loyalty, generosity, humor and curiosity and likes the fact that although they are all different they get along really well and enjoy each other’s differences.

Is there anything Pipper’s authors would like to say?

Thank you for affording us this opportunity to share our experience with your readers and bring news of Pipper and Snoutz Adventures to kids, parents, and other grownups who work with or have special kids in their lives.

We believe that kids can learn a lot about themselves and expand their life skills and learning through strong characters and engaging fiction. That is our intent in creating Pipper and her world.

Jane and Allison, thank you for stopping by Kid Lit Reviews. Having read this first Pipper adventure, I am anxious to read another. I hope to hear from you again soon.

If you would like to find out more about Jane and Allison’s collaborative effort, stop by tomorrow for a review of Pipper’s Secret Ingredient, right HERE! (after midnight tonight)

Pipper's Secret Ingredient
Jane Murphy and Allison Fingerhuth
Neal Sharp
Mutts Media
145 Pages         Ages: 7+

If you would like to learn more about Jane or Allison, their new book Pipper’s Secret Ingredient, watch some videos, or check out the illustrator, Neal Sharp, follow these links.

Snoutz Adventures

Pipper’s Facebook

Pipper’s YouTube Trailer

Authors/Illustrator Page

Neal Sharp’s Website

Pipper’s Pinkrest Page
Pipper’s  G+


3 thoughts on “Interview: Authors Jane Murphy and Allison Fingerhuth

  1. Pingback: Pipper’s Secret Ingredient by Jane Murphy & Allison Fingerhuth « Kid Lit Reviews

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