Author’s Journey Through His Writing

Jamie Calloway  |  Friday May. 1st, 2020


One of the rarest things in life is finding inspiration. Despite this, Bozeman author Douglas Solvie happened to stumble across the inspiration for his new book My Irish Dog during one of his vacations.

Some of the greatest relationships that people can have are with their dogs, so who can turn down a story about a dog in Ireland? My Irish Dog is a story about how an ordinary man named Spencer met a dog while on a trip to Ireland. The story gives detail to Spencer’s fragile mental state through his mid-life crisis. In My Irish Dog, Spencer suffers from depression and anxiety. During the trip, Spencer hopes to get away from everyone he knows and find peace of mind through flyfishing. He eventually meets a dog, named Shandy, that is lost in a way. Spencer finds out that he and Shandy have a lot more in common than he would expect to have in common with a dog. His depression and anxiety are the driving force for Spencer to connect with Shandy. Spencer needs Shandy’s help; therefore, they go down a path together and end up in a village named Galbally.

Although My Irish Dog is a fictional story, some of the details are based on Douglas Solvie’s personal experiences. Solvie also took a trip to Ireland. During this trip, he came across a lost dog named Shandy. Solvie dealt with the situation at the time and managed to find Shandy’s home. At the time, this was not really significant to him, but eventually, this memory strikes inspiration for him to write An Irish Dog.

Although Solvie does not specifically feel connected to Spencer (besides creating him of course), he does feel that a lot of people could connect with him or at least sympathize with him. Solvie explained that he tried to put Spencer’s character in his shoes, in a way. Spencer is not supposed to represent Douglas Solvie but many of Solvie’s experiences were the inspiration for creating this character. The author and the character share similarities because it was natural for Solvie to develop this character based on his experiences.

Originally, Douglas Solvie was a businessman. He grew up in Montana but spent most of his career in Japan. He retired shortly after his trip to Ireland. This is when his writing career started, leading him to publish his first book, My Irish Dog. There is a lot of writing required in the business world, so Solvie did not expect the amount of work that was ahead of him when he started writing this book.

The publication process was a long one. Solvie always planned on publishing this book himself. After creating his first draft, he hired a developmental editor to give him advice. Originally, he thought his draft was great, but he learned that it was nowhere near ready. The editor recommended that there be more “punch” and action to make the story more interesting. Along with this, there needed to be more development for the characters. From here, there would be many drafts that addressed grammar. Another struggle was defining the genre of this story. Solvie originally wrote the story without considering the genre. While editing one of his drafts, the editor recommended that it might be considered a Physiological Suspense story.

After completing the story and creating the cover, which was also a really long process, he was only 50% done. He needed to advertise his work. One of the challenges with this is finding people who enjoy Physiological Suspense because everyone has different tastes. Through this process, he has learned to be more active on social media. He created a website and a blog that provides descriptions of the book along with his inspiration. He also has been more active on his Twitter account @DSolvieAuthor, where he promotes the launch of his book.

After all of this hard work, he managed to create an incredible book. You will not find another story like this one because of how rare it is to find a book that displays a relationship with a dog so well. So, if you are looking for a great read, I would recommend reading My Irish Dog. Solvie recently published this book on April 5th. You can visit his website myirishdog.com for more information on the book and where to buy the book. You can also see photos of the real Shandy and where the idea for this book started.   

About the Author(s)

Jamie Calloway

Jamie Calloway is interning for Bozeman Magazine and is currently pursuing an English Writing degree at Montana State University. If you would like to contact her, you may email her at callowayjamie@gmail.com

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