The Dog Lover’s New Novel is Out

Jackie Bouchard has done it again. Her second novel, “Rescue Me, Maybe,” is just as impossible to put down as her first. It begins with main character Jane Bailey trying to keep it together after a devastating loss. Her husband died. That was a relief. What ruined her was losing her dog. With her husband gone Jane could finally move back to San Diego and be with her friends. Slight glitch, suddenly Jane’s aunt needs her to run her B&B temporarily. The idea of talking to strangers makes Jane ache to hurl muffins at guests’ heads.

Normally I would not want to read a book that begins with the death of a dog. Mine turned 10 this month and the thought of losing little Buddy makes my breathing stop. I do the emotional equivalent of sticking fingers in my ear and saying, “la, la, la, I can’t hear you.” But Bouchard’s humor and voice make everything—even curmudgeonly Jane—surprisingly entertaining.

Jackie and Rita
Jackie Bouchard and Rita

Jackie Bouchard graciously agreed to an interview:

Dorri Olds: How much of Jane Bailey comes from you?

Jackie Bouchard: Jane and I are similar but with different circumstances. Jane is an only child, whereas I’m the youngest of six. Jane wasn’t happy in her marriage, but I can’t imagine life without my husband. Like Jane, I’m an introvert, not a people-person and I fear awkward silences. I’m terrible at small talk. Also, neither Jane nor I are huggers. It’s not that I hate hugs, it’s just the initial “are we or aren’t we” awkwardness.

Are you as tall as Jane?

Yes, we’re both 5’11”. As Jane says, tall at 20 is great but tall at 12 sucks. I wish I could go back and tell my 12-year-old self that it would all be good later. Jane differs from me in that she has an athletic build. She has no hips, but I’ve got hips to spare. I think I’m too tall to be a classic pear shape, I’m more like an eggplant. For years I could almost never find pants that fit – if they fit in the hips, I could stuff several fists into the waist. The invention of low-rise pants is like the best thing that ever happened to me.

Has your husband read the book? 

Yes, and it worried him so I reassured him that I wouldn’t write an entire novel just to send him a message. [Laughs]

Why was Jane unhappy with her husband?

Jane got married way too quickly and even though they were in love, they weren’t a good match. My hubs and I were best friends first, a year before we started dating, then together five years before we got hitched.

How long ago did you marry?

We just happily celebrated our seventeenth wedding anniversary but my poor hubby. He’s worried people will think he’s a cheating rat because of my first book “What the Dog Ate” or think I don’t love him like Jane in “Rescue Me, Maybe.” It’s not that way at all. It’s like what Claire Danes said when she accepted her Emmy, she thanked her husband for making her “so whole and happy” so she can “be unhappy in the land of make-believe.”

I will say that my next book features a happily married woman.

Are you athletic like Jane?

I wish! I ran track my first two years in high school but I’m not much for team sports. I walk a lot and do weights and yoga but I’m terribly uncoordinated. I never played softball or volleyball like Jane did. Jane loves open-water swimming. I didn’t learn how to swim properly until I was in my late 20s and my husband taught me. I’m a huge chicken when it comes to open water swimming. The ocean is big, dark, and scary and I don’t know what lurks below.

Are you a good cook like Jane?

I like to bake, although I don’t do it that often now because the hubs is not big on sweets anymore, and since I no longer work in an office I don’t have ravenous-wolf coworkers to dump that stuff on. Sometimes on the weekends though, I’ll still make scones. I love to make those, just like Jane does for the B&B. I cook almost every night, but I’m not an “Oh, let’s just throw some of this in!” type. Don’t tell me to “eyeball” this or add a “pinch” of that. I want detailed instructions. And photographs.

What about the dogs in your life?

Rita is our third dog. After we lost our last dog, Abby, the hubs and I said we’d take a long break and travel but five days after we lost Abby, my hubs said to the sky one night, “Bailey [our first dog] and Abby, if you’re together now, send us a sign.” I know that Abby and Bailey put their paws into sending us Rita.  Something compelled me to go online and type in “beagle.” Like most rescue dogs, she’d been through dog-knows-what and had a lot of fear but with us she is just the sweetest thing. One look and we had to have her.

“Rescue Me, Maybe” is available in Print, Kindle or  Nook.