CAT Magazine

CAT Magazine

Virtual Book Tour: Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You To Know by Jeff Johnson & Hy Conrad

Best known for his work in mysteries, Hy was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series, Monk, working on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer. In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old. His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar.

Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages. Hy’s first mystery novel series, Abel Adventures, will debut in 2012 with the publication of Rally ‘Round the Corpse. And his first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in May 2012. He lives in Key West with his partner and two miniature schnauzers. (

ABOUT JEFF JOHNSONJeff spent most of his working life in advertising agencies, currently as General Manager of Cramer-Krasselt in New York City. He is the author of The Hourglass Solution:  A Boomer’s Guide to the Rest of Your Life and co-authors (with Paula Forman) a national online advice column called Short Answers, which also appears in newspapers all along the east coast (from Massachusetts to Florida). Jeff lives in Vermont and Key West and is on the Board of Directors of the Waterfront Playhouse and the Florida Keys SPCA.




With Hy Conrad
Author of “Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know”

1. Why did you start writing?

One of my early projects was a collection of short mysteries for Sterling Publishing. I loved the twisty little plots and dreamed, in my oversized way, that a Hollywood producer would happen upon my work and call me up. And, although it took a few years, that’s basically what happened.

Out of the blue one day I got a call. The man on the other end said, “My name is Andy Breckman. I just created a mystery TV show and I need stories. So I went to a bookstore and found your books and tracked you down.”

That’s not how I became a writer, but that’s how I became a TV writer. The show was “Monk” and it was probably the best eight years of my professional life.

2. What's your favorite book of all time?

It’s hard to pick. The book that had the biggest influence on me was Agatha Christie’s second mystery, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, which I read in college. It’s not a great novel by any means. But I remember clearly, getting to the last 20 pages and suddenly being assaulted by the twist ending. It was like a bolt, so completely inventive and yet logical.

When it was written in the 1920s, I later learned, the ending caused quite a stir. But to me it was completely fair and brilliant. That book planted the seed for me to become a mystery writer and to enter, in a sideways fashion, the world of humor.

3. Favorite Movie and why?

My yardstick for a great movie is, when you find it on TV, you can’t turn it off, no matter how many times you’ve seen it or where they are in the story. The two that come immediately to mind are Vertigo and Groundhog’s Day. Groundhog’s Day is wonderfully crafted, visiting the same scenes over and over and always finding something new. It also goes on longer than you think it will, which makes you ponder what he really needs to learn.

4. If your book was made into a movie, who do you seeing being cast for your characters?

I was actually approached by a Broadway producer about turning Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know into a play. I couldn’t visualize how that would happen and we never spoke again.

Since it’s told from the dogs’ point of view, the movie would have to be animated or CGI’ed. As for the voices, we modeled Tinkerbell, our rich, spoiled Chihuahua, after Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua who, by coincidence, also happens to be named Tinkerbell. I think it would be great fun to have Paris Hilton do that voice.

5. What is your favorite scene from your book, or the scene you most enjoyed writing?

Things Your Dog… is a collection of 115 stories told by 11 vastly different dogs. One of my favorites is by Bandana, a bossy border collie who is sent to a kennel for a few days. He tells the story as if he’s been sent to prison and the rest of the plot devolves into his version of The Great Escape, with an exercise yard and sleepy guards and an underground tunnel leading beyond the fence. I was pleasantly surprised at how perfectly the idea worked.

6. Name one thing readers would be most surprised to learn about you.

I’m pretty much an open book. People can always find out about me on my Facebook page or or

But readers may be surprised to learn that I’m half Amish. My father split from the church to go to World War Two then came home and married a nice Italian nurse. I was raised in Lancaster, PA, and remember family reunions where half the family arrived in cars and the rest in buggies.

Please share a favorite recipe.

One of my favorite recipes is for “Ammonia Cookies” – not because they are the greatest cookies in the world (although they are pretty darn good), but because people find them so surprising. A lot of people don’t realize that baking ammonia exists. It’s really just another form of baking powder – which happens to smell exactly like ammonia when it bakes and you purchase it at a pharmacy instead of a super market. Just don’t stick your head in the oven while making these cookies because the vapors can knock you over.

2 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 ½ cups sour cream
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons crushed baking ammonia
3 cups all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the white sugar and butter until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream, milk and peppermint extract. Combine the salt and bakers' ammonia with 2 cups of the flour and blend into the mixture. Gradually add more flour to make a stiff dough. Leave the dough soft for drop cookies or add more flour to make cut-out cookies. Drop dough from heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. When cool, ice with a simple confectioners' glaze that has been flavored with peppermint if desired.

GENRE: Humor, pets

PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks

RELEASE DATE: April 2012

Why do dogs eat furniture when there are endless chew toys nearby?
Why do they always dash to a rug when they have to throw up?
And why are they always absolutely starving?

Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know answers the questions that dog owners have asked for centuries. The book is a collection of 115 humorous essays that reveal the truth behind some of the most baffling canine behavior, their hopes and dreams, their grudges and pleasures, and what they really think about us humans. Peppered with lively, clever stories and visually appealing photographs, Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is a verbal and visual delight that is laugh-out-loud funny. If you have dogs, love dogs, or have ever been baffled by a dog, this book is a must-have.

Topics include:
  • My Life in Your Purse by Tinkerbell, the Chihuahua
  • Waiting by the Table (for food scraps, of course!) by Orson, the bulldog
  • The Bed Rules (Rule #1—It’s my bed) by Dimples, the boxer
  • The Reason I Ate the Sofa (leather tastes a lot like rawhide) by Axelrod, the yellow lab
  • I Can Poop the Second I Start My Walk (but choose not to) by Sophie, the cocker spaniel

Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Target, on e-books and at independent bookstores everywhere. For more information, go to where you can also ask questions about your own dog’s behavior and learn the secrets they have been keeping from you!

A whimsical delight for dog lovers everywhere, this book will charm and remind readers why they fell in love with Rover to begin with.” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

I laughed, my dog howled.” (Steve Martin)

This is the perfect book for anyone who owns a dog, has ever owned one, or knows what a dog is. These guys made me laugh out loud—and captured my heart at the same time. The book is simply irresistible.” (Tony Shalhoub, star of the TV series Monk)

14 Responses to "Virtual Book Tour: Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You To Know by Jeff Johnson & Hy Conrad"

Rebecca Graf - Pit Crew said...

I'm telling everyone about this book! I so loved it.

BK Walker said...

YAY! I'm so glad Rebecca :)

Hy Conrad said...

Thank you so much for your support -- I am so glad that you loved the book.

Hy Conrad said...

You're the best -- thank you!!

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