PJ Miller - A Veterinarian's Life
Dr. Miller graduated from Edinburgh in 1999. He has been practicing veterinary medicine in Central Florida for over seventeen years. Dr. Miller has been the owner of his own practice for over a decade. He lives with his wife and two children in Central Florida. He loves all animals, obviously, but is partial to bulldogs, chihuahuas, and cats that act like dogs. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his life as a veterinarian and his latest book, Designer Dogs, Awkward Hugs and a Pigeon.
Please give us a short introduction to what Designer Dogs, Awkward Hugs and a Pigeon is about.
Like my last book, it puts the reader in directly in 'my shoes' as a veterinarian. A definitive behind the scenes look at being a veterinarian. Though there is a thread between this book, and the last one, it is a series of short stories that form around interesting cases. Of course like my last book, humor plays a big part in the way the stories are told.
Tell us more about the title: why Designer Dogs, Awkward Hugs and a Pigeon?
It is a play on the title of my last book; Cute Poodles, Sweet Old ladies and Hugs. In my last book, the title had a bit of humorous sarcasm, as the old lady wasn't always sweet, and the poodle in it wasn't all that cute. I was alluding to the fact that veterinary medicine isn't always glamourous or easy like some perceive it to be. The second title gives a preview of a few of the stories in the book, while capitalizing on the humorous title of the first one. Like my last book, the title takes on more meaning and humor once the reader finishes the book.
What inspired you to write this book?
With my first book, I was actually apprehensive on how well it would be received. I had a few more stories that I wanted to tell, but once I witnessed the positive response with the first book, the second book was inevitable.
Even though it deals with life-and-death matters, your book includes a lot of humor. Why did you take this approach?
I thrive on humor in my daily life, whether it's in the exam room, with my staff or with my friends and family. Humor can definitely make a difficult situation or day easier to cope with.
In the book, I feel humor definitely makes the stories more interesting and appealing. It is also a big part of my personality. The reality, or the dark humor for our practice, is that it's actually true and we had to live it!
Your book reminds a bit of those of James Herriot. Who are some of your favorite authors?
James Herriot was a big influence on my career, as well as big inspiration for me to write both books. The only issue with his books for me, is they took place in another time and place that I had difficulty relating too when I was considering a career as a veterinarian. A lot of the culture in his books became more relatable when I went to veterinary school in Scotland. But prior to that I was kid from New York City, far removed from the lush country side, the culture in the UK as well as the time frame in which Herriot’s books took place. So part of my motivation was to write stories that I felt were more contemporary. I don't think I come close to James Herriot, but these books are my best attempt at telling my story. As far as favorite authors, I tend to gravitate toward authors that are great story tellers. A few of current my favorites, are Hunter S Thompson, Irvine Welsh, Ken Kesey and of course Ernest Hemmingway.
Some of your stories are told so vividly - how did you pull this off? Did you keep some type of a journal?
I don't keep a journal, but the stories are ones for one reason or another that have been engrained in my memory. I try and bring the reader along for the ride and keep it interesting. In the second book, a few of the stories were more recent so they were easier to recollect.
What are you working on right now?
I have been jotting down some notes for a potential third book. But like my first book, I'm still waiting to see the feedback on the second, and if there is enough of fan base or demand to write a third one.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
They can visit my website at www.yodrmiller.com as in Yo, Dr. Miller!