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Allie Larkin

A hastily adopted, bumbling German Shepherd who only answers to commands in Slovakian turns out to be Woman’s Best Friend. So begins the tale in this Rochester, NY, author’s debut novel, Stay, to be published by Dutton June 10.

Allie“The original idea for Van, the main character in Stay, came from a writing exercise,” Allie says. “I started writing Stay in an advanced fiction class at  St. John Fisher College.”

The book cover of Stay features Allie’s black German Shepherd Argo, on whom the story's protagonist pooch, Joe, is based.

“We took over a thousand pictures of him and sent them off to Dutton,” she says. “It was kind of a happy accident that he ended up on the cover, and I don’t think it could feel more perfect.”

Allie and her husband, Jeremy, have another German Shepherd, Stella, plus a cat (neither of whom have been cover petsyet). And while she surely loves all three, Allie and Argo clearly share a special bond.

Publisher's Weekly says, "Larkin debuts with a funny and touching story about love, loss, and dog ownership."“The first time I saw Argo, I was completely smitten,” says Allie, who adopted him in 2004. “When we brought him home, I sat on the floor with him. He put his head on my shoulder like he was giving me a hug and we’ve been friends ever since.”

“He was my writing buddy,” Allie says of Argo. “He sat next to me and snored while I wrote. He went hiking with me when I needed to work through story hiccups in my head. And it is a hell of a lot easier to put yourself out there and deal with rejection when you have a big furry cheerleader who loves you no matter what.”

That resilient spirit is a big key to her ability to stay persistent in her work. Another: staying engrossed in the stories she constructs.

“Love your characters,” she advises. “If I want to know what's going to happen with my main character more than what's happening on my favorite TV show, it's really easy to sit down at my desk and work.”

Allie has a second novel in the works, in which she plans to explore friendships and how the past affects the future. But in the here-and-now, the contented snore of a furry, unwitting muse remains somewhere not far from her desk. Or her heart.

* * *

If you live in the Rochester, NY, area, Allie will be reading and signing copies of Stay at 7 p.m. June 11 at the Barnes & Noble in Greece.

See more:, featuring an excerpt from Stay

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