The Dog That Talked to GodThe Dog That Talked to God
JP Kraus
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What would you do if you discovered that your Schnauzer could talk? Recently widowed Mary Fassier decides to listen! But when Rufus starts sharing messages from God, she's not sure if she should follow the dog's advice. Would it be right to walk away from everything she knows and loves? A wonderfully quirky, tail-wagging read!
     

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Jim Kraus grew up in Western Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. He attended the Paris-American Academy in 1971 and has spent the last twenty years as a vice-president of a major Christian publishing house. He has written more than 20 books and novels (many with his wife, Terri). His book, The Silence, was named as one of the top five releases in 2004 by the Christian Book Review website. He is also an award-winning photographer. He and his wife and 14-year-old son live outside of Chicago with a sweet miniature schnauzer and an ill-tempered Siberian cat.

Favorite Verse: Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” The New Living Translation (Though most other versions are the same.)


 

 Our Interview with Jim Kraus


 

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I am older than I want to be—married for a loooong time to my best friend—and we have a fourteen-year-old son who just started 9th grade and stands 6’3”.
I grew up in western Pennsylvania, attended the University of Pittsburgh and lived in a variety of places before settling in the Chicago area 30 years ago.
I recently completed a Master in Writing Arts at DePaul University—and now I am much gooder at writing. (There should be a grammatical mark that indicates sarcasm and/or humor.)
I’ve been writing for close to two decades and there are 20-plus books with my name on them somewhere.

We co-exist with a noble miniature schnauzer named Rufus, and Petey, a cranky Siberian cat.

What is your favorite Bible verse (translation too, please)? Why?

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” The New Living Translation (Though most other versions are the same.)
It’s my favorite for two reasons:
 
1. It’s short and I never have to worry about misquoting it.

2. And I think about this verse what it means often—especially in the midst of my busy day. We, as Christians, seldom take enough time to stop, think, meditate on the holiness of God—and ponder who he is. We are often too busy ‘doing’ for God—and never spend as much time as we should praising and worshipping him because of who he is.
 
Here’s what the verse says to me: Slow down. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Be still. Listen for God’s direction. Don’t clutter your mind with ‘should-have’s’ and ‘have-to’s.’ Follow God. Follow his path.

What was your inspiration to develop the story The Dog That Talked to God?

Like Mary, the main human character in the book, I, too, have a dog named Rufus. (What are the odds of that happening?) Rufus has a gentle soul and loves to be with me because I’m the pack leader. (To him, I’m the top dog in the house.)(As to me as well.) We walk together early in the morning and late at night. That’s when all is still and quiet and I can think through issues and concerns that have come up during the day. During our walks, I would occasionally give Rufus a voice, so he could answer my questions. That got me thinking: What if Rufus could actually talk? And what if Rufus also had a spiritual component in his life? What would that look like? What would that sound like?

And the story took off from there.

I knew I wanted to show a life that had been marked by tragedy—and how that event can keep a person estranged from God—and provide a template of sorts for a spiritual recovery.

How much research did The Dog That Talked to God take?
 
Uhhh . . . not much. I mean, not much actually, or very little hard, go-to-the-library sort of research.
 
Rufus has been part of our family for four years. So I know what dogs are all about—and continue to learn about them. I’ve been a believer for some 30 years, so I am also beginning to understand the fullness of God’s grace.

 

As far as location research—I rely almost exclusively on locations where I have spent a fair amount of time. Mary lives in suburban Chicago—as do I—go figure. And she moves to a small town on the Atlantic Ocean—where I had spent much time soaking up the atmosphere and ambiance.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing The Dog That Talked to God?

Uhhh . . . that a dog’s shoulder blades aren’t attached to the rest of the dog skeleton—better for running and jumping.
Does that count?

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?

Finding the time to write.

There’s that pesky activity called ‘work.’ Then there is that pesky group of people called ‘family.’ Then there is that pesky television show called ‘Cops.’

What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?

I love to create characters and their worlds—and to explore what it means to be human—and a believer.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?

I have to admit that I am not much of a joiner. I’m the person at the party who always stands at the very edge of the action—observing mostly. When I am called on this anti-social behavior, I simply say that I am a writer and I am observing.

I did learn a lot getting my MWA degree.

But I learned more by doing . . . actually writing.

That’s my advice. If you think you want to write . . . well, start writing.

What new projects are on the horizon?

I’m working on a book with a cat. The cat doesn’t talk.

What message would you like your readers to take from reading The Dog That Talked to God?
 
That despite pain and loss, God is with us and watches over us and protects us. And maybe he uses a dog sometimes to call the lost back to him. Just maybe.

What were your favorite books as a child?

Yellow Eyes by Rutherford Montgomery—about a mountain lion.

The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek—by E.S. Lampman—about . . . well . . . a stegosaurus who appeared at Cricket Creek

What is your greatest achievement?

Raising my son to follow Christ.

What do you do to get away from it all?

I take the good dog Rufus for a long walk and talk to him.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Uhhh . . . no.

Maybe one thing . . . buy the book.