Laura T. Coffey
Coffey, 45, a former Tampa Bay Times journalist and valedictorian of the Largo High Class of 1988, is currently a writer, producer and editor for TODAY.com. She's also the author of My Old Dog: Rescued Pets With Remarkable Second Acts, which shares the stories of more than 15 senior shelter dogs from across the United States and the owners who rescued them. Coffey, who lives in Seattle, will discuss and sign her book at 2 p.m. Jan. 17 at Barnes & Noble Clearwater, 23654 U.S. 19 N.
What's on your nightstand?
These are literally all from my nightstand, which is an overflowing mess. Dog books: From Stray Dog to World War I Hero: The Paris Terrier Who Joined the First Division by Grant Hayter-Menzies, Lessons From Tara: Life Advice From the World's Most Brilliant Dog by David Rosenfelt, Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca by Maria Goodavage. Writing books: How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark, The Art and Craft of Feature Writing by William E. Blundell, Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul. A parenting book, Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay, and books by Pacific Northwest and Alaska writers, Foreign by Sonora Jha, The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch, Sea and Smoke: Flavors From the Untamed Pacific Northwest by Blaine Wetzel and Joe Ray and Find the Good: Unexpected Life Lessons From a Small-Town Obituary Writer by Heather Lende.
You have novels by Washington-based journalists. Did you know they were journalists, and did their writing give hints they were in the reporting business?
I did know they were journalists, and that's why I was drawn to them. I love reading both fiction and nonfiction by journalists because it makes me feel like I might be able to do that someday too. ... I especially like novels written by journalists because the characters and the dialogue tend to ring true. This makes sense since journalists listen for a living.
Would you encourage your son to read The Highest Tide someday?
Tyler is still pretty young, but I definitely can picture us discussing this book together someday. The Highest Tide is a great coming-of-age story, and it's set right here in the Puget Sound area where we live. Like Miles, the book's young protagonist, Tyler is highly observant — seeing things that other people, myself included, don't notice — and he has a strong interest in animals and sea life. Tyler also is the type of kid who would appreciate this quote from Rachel Carson as much as Miles does: "If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out poetry."
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