I had always wondered just how dogs thought, and why dogs did what they did. When we started having children, I started wondering how children’s minds worked, and the answers I got are in The Boy Who Spoke Dog. There are other thought-pattern influences, too. For example, I once spent three days on a meadow, on the Aleutian Peninsula, watching eighteen grizzly bears going about their business. Their lives had nothing to do with human beings, and I realized what a unique and rich society the bears had evolved. They were kind, greedy, grumpy, funny, popular, lonely, conniving, brave, timid, bossy, and cruel. But they were not like people. They were bears. And they didn’t need me (lucky for me!). Later, when I started telling the boys bedtime stories, they wanted wilderness stories about our dog Moxie. So I began to weave together everything I had ever experienced, imagined, or read about dogs and children in the wild. I used as my models my favorite adventure stories: Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Call of the Wild, The Jungle Book, My Side of the Mountain, and others. The Boy Who Spoke Dog comes out of all that, and out of everything I’ve ever done.
I am now working on the sequel to The Boy Who Spoke Dog. Maybe it will be titled The Boy Who Returned. Maybe Jack gets back to the island, but maybe Moxie has had experiences in the meantime. And maybe Jack accidentally brings to the island a brave, independent girl and an evil man – who has a cat!