Irv Weinberg - A Prehistoric Adventure Featuring Man's Best Friend
Irv Weinberg is an internationally known marketing and advertising executive turned novelist with more than 30 years' experience leading accounts for major brands. During his long Madison Avenue career, he led creative teams at the world's premier advertising agencies, including Y&R, Wells, Rich, Greene, Lintas USA, and Grey. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, First Dog on Earth.
Please give us a short introduction to what First Dog on Earth is about.
First Dog is a tale about the first litter of genetically different wolf pups born and driven from their pack. In their travels they come upon the strangest creatures they have ever seen, with skills they have never seen before — humans — and come to bond with this tribe, helping them to advance.
What inspired you to write about a wolf-dog that befriends an old hunter?
A conversation with a psychologist/dog expert who told me dogs domesticated themselves. My question to myself was, “Who was the first one to cross the inter-species barrier?”
How did you go from marketing and advertising to writing novels?
I am a 40-year plus veteran of Madison Ave. First as a copywriter, then as a creative director of some of the world’s most famous ad agencies. A novel was the next step. A quest to see if I could do it.
Tell us more about Oohma. What makes him so special?
Oohma has a great deal of curiosity. As a pack leader and predator, Oohma needs to know ALL the animals around him, and how they act.
Why an origin story? What fascinates you so much about the relationship between dogs and humans?
Humans and dogs have formed the most successful partnership on Earth. No other creatures relate the way humans and dogs do. Why? How? When? That’s a writers sandbox.
Were any of the characters in the story inspired by real dogs you know?
I have had dogs since I was 9 months old, and my lab Hershey actually lay on my feet as I wrote FDOE. All my dogs have taught me a lot, mostly about love and loyalty. But as I wrote, my relationship with my lab grew deeper as I began to realize the depth of them and how much they willingly offer.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I was a pretty good athlete, Have a good sense of humor and am not shy. Once you survive the gladiator pits of big ad agencies, you learn courage and belief in your own talents or you die.
Which of the characters in this story was the most challenging to create?
The biggest challenge was making sure the dogs were extremely relevant, not just the tribe, so I had to get into their minds and imagine what it would be to live in the moment of the world when everything was brand new. So Oohma always pushed me hard to be true to this amazing dog being.
How much research did this story require from you? What was the most interesting aspect of this research?
A lot, because I wanted the book to be authentic, no super hero, nothing that could not have happened. And my beta readers challenged me on facts. When did a bow and arrow show up? When were tents first used? God bless Google.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
I have taken a very comfortable up-scale life and left it to follow a dream of being a novelist, beard and all, in the tropics. I often write to myself about issues I am facing. This makes me analyze the situations I face like a plot. I also learned a lot about myself. How much it takes to sit down every single day and face your keyboard. Even though I have won every major award in advertising, created some of the best known ad campaigns in the industry, FDOE is the pinnacle of my life.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
Believe in yourself. Have courage. But most of all, SHOW UP…For me this is a well-loved job, not a hobby, so I come to work every day and WORK.
Do you have any interesting writing habits?
Hahahha, I sure do. I bounce around a lot. Mop the floor in between sentences. I work like a bee attacking a flower. In and out. I also work hard on the choice of words. I like musical writing. I like to bounce words off each other and will set up my sentences — two or three before I get there — so I can play with them. I believe I have a responsibility to entertain and reward my readers with the use of words in unusual ways. I like to throw in things only some will truly understand. And I like not to tell my readers what to think but to give them scenarios where the information given is open to their own personal understanding of what I am saying. This is my invitation to join me in telling you the story.
What is an average writing day like for you?
Five plus hours every single day. Once I am caffeinated, I back up, then read into my work and write until my shoulders hurt.
What are you working on right now?
The sequel to FDOE.. Working title: NEXT DOGS ON EARTH. FYI, my ex-partner and I created POOCHI CANINE COUTURE, the first pet fashion company, and look what happened across the world. Dress your pet now worldwide.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
At www.firstdogbook.com. Happy to answer any questions. You can also Google “blue-eyed boy in Mexico.” See some of my ex-pat adventures. Or Google Irv Weinberg.