Written by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb
People often ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” It’s funny, but the ideas are usually the easy part: anything that makes me pause, makes me go huh, I didn’t know that…THAT’S a story idea. The hard part? Where to go from there!
I start with research. I love research. Looking at items on eBay for historical accuracy, watching videos on YouTube, all of it. But my favorite thing to do is to participate in events, talk to experts. Only by being there, talking to people, can I get the true feel of a story.
So when I had the idea of a service dog who assists a middle school band student, who did I contact? My own kids’ middle school librarian, Julie Caudle of Page Middle School in Franklin, TN. “Do you think they’d let me sit in on a few classes?” I asked her. “Absolutely!” she answered, and the Page Middle School Band welcomed me with open arms and instrument cases. (Also open spit valves. I learned a lot in that classroom.)
I am indebted to Julie Caudle and the Page Middle School band directors, Carol Strayer and Evan Burton, for their assistance in helping me research Zeus, Dog of Chaos. They are so good at what they do — sharing their talents with young musicians! And finally, thank YOU, TASL librarians, for always cheering on me and all Tennessee authors and illustrators! Librarians are my rock stars!
Here’s what my publisher says about the book: Zeus comes from a long line of heroic dogs, so it figures he would graduate Canine College as valedictorian. He dreams of glory as a K-9 commander but receives a more dangerous assignment — middle school! And as all good service dogs know, the only way to get through hostile territory is by being invisible.
Zeus’s new human, Madden, is diabetic, and he wants to be invisible, too. That’s hard to do with a huge German shepherd at his side to alert him when his blood sugar drops. It’s even harder because Madden makes this noise called music that gives Zeus funny feelings—and draws attention to Madden as the star tuba player in band. Zeus’s mission becomes clear: he must destroy music.
While Zeus’s training prepared him for his most important job—keeping Madden safe—he discovers the human world is complicated. As Madden dreams of winning the state band competition and tries to reconnect with his mom, the lieutenant, Zeus must learn that sometimes, you need to stand out to fulfill your duty.
Told in the charming voice of the proud service dog Zeus by award-winning author Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, this hilarious and heartwarming story reaffirms the power of the unbreakable bond between humans and their canine best friends.
Zeus, Dog of Chaos will be available June 2, 2020, and is available for preorder now.
AND THE COVER! Here he is, in all his drooly-dog glory – Zeus!
Also, he looks amazing sitting on a shelf next to A Dog Like Daisy!
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb is the author of The Story Collector series (The Story Collector and The Story Seeker), A Dog Like Daisy, John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy (written as E.F. Abbott), The 13th Sign, Selling Hope and Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different. In Fall 2020, watch for the companion book to A Dog Like Daisy, Zeus, Dog of Chaos. Kristin lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her bouncy-loud family. Just like her two dogs, she can be bribed with cheese.