Zuzu Interviews: Dana Mentink’s dog Junie (plus a Giveaway!)

Posted February 8, 2017 by meezcarrie in Author Interview, Christian, contemporary, Dana Mentink, giveaway / 48 Comments

Hi, everyone! Zuzu here.

Apparently you guys enjoy these little interviews I’ve been doing with authors’ dogs, so Mom is letting me continue.

Today I get to talk with everyone’s favorite mischievous terrier, Junie! (aka author Dana Mentink’s dog)

Image source: Facebook

Dana Mentink (Junie’s mom) is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is the author of over thirty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a nutty terrier (that’s Junie!), a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

You can also connect with Dana (and Junie) at Dana’s website, Facebook, Twitter, and something called YouTube.

Dana’s latest book, Paws for Love, released January 10th from Harvest House Publishers.

The Only Thing Sweet About Jellybean Is His Name

Jellybean the terrier is about to unleash some serious mayhem on the unsuspecting town of Albatross.

There’s no quiet on the set when over-the-hill screen star Lawrence Tucker brings his naughty terrier, Jellybean, on location to the beachside town of Albatross, California. When Jellybean develops a rapport with Tucker’s violin tutor, the painfully shy, socially awkward Misty Agnelli, her arm is twisted into minding the mischievous animal. Trailing Jellybean leads Misty into the candy store of Bill Woodson, a handsome chocolatier with a painful secret and a three-year-old niece to raise.

Misty must deal with the unstable Tucker, a temperamental Jellybean, her budding feelings for the mysterious Bill, and the high-pressure atmosphere on the set. Though she wants nothing more than to flee, how can she tell her Grandma, Lawrence Tucker’s biggest fan, that she abandoned the star and his dog?

It’s actors, animals, and antics galore when Jellybean gives his own heartwarming performance.


Hi, Junie! Welcome to my blog! Or my Mom’s blog… or whatever. We all know it’s really my blog. I just let her borrow it. Mom starts all of her guests with a fast four. I suppose I should too…

Bones or Chew toys?

Junie: Yes. I am the type of gal who believes in having your cake and chewing it too, you know?

Zuzu: Especially if it’s a peanut butter cake.

Frisbees or Tennis Balls?

Junie: Neither. I am far too important to be chasing down frisbees. I will pursue the occasional tennis ball, but only if the neighbor boys have lobbed it over the fence. Then it’s property, mine, not a toy.

Zuzu: I’ve never gotten into Frisbees either. Tennis balls are okaaay but they’re for running toward and pointing at, not “fetching”. As if.

Dogs or Cats? (I mean…. Seriously…. Why does she ask this question? I’m not even going to insult you by making you give me the OBVIOUS answer.)

Junie: Please.


Junie: There is a squirrel who taunts me. I have seen him mouthing profanities and making comments about my mother when no one is looking. I will find him. And I will catch him. One day…

Carrie: <laughing>

Zuzu: <hides favorite squirrel toy>

Behind-the-ear scratches or Belly Rubs?

Junie: Again, I see no need to choose one or the other. Both please. Now would be nice.

Zuzu: Yeaaaaah…. I need to rethink that question. About as ridiculous as Mom’s “dog or cats” one.

Mom says that reading is her superpower and sleeping is mine. If YOU and YOUR MOM had superpowers, what would they be?

Junie: My mom is an elementary teacher and if you’ve ever tried to manage twenty six humans, you know this takes awesome skills. I have perfected the “cute face” which I utilize whenever I have eaten something that I ought not to have. God gave me this cute face to employ whenever the humans become irrationally upset over some small indiscretion on my part. They are far too sensitive, these humans.

Zuzu: My mom used to teach third grade … it takes a lot of superpowers. Teachers are superheroes. As far as the cute face, I have one too. It doesn’t work on Mom so much, but it melts Dad right away. Every. Single. Time.

I recently heard this Colonial American Proverb – You will always be lucky if you know how to make friends with strange cats. What are your thoughts on this controversial statement?

Junie: You see any colonials around anymore? Uh huh. Me neither. That’s because they didn’t have the common sense to stay away from cats, strange or otherwise.

Zuzu: Word.

Your mom writes books. My mom reads books. If you were going to write a book, what would you call it & what would it be about?

Junie: The Silly Human’s Guidebook for Living. They need help, the poor lost lambs, they really do. I mean, my human gets on a treadmill and walks for miles going absolutely nowhere when there’s a perfectly good neighborhood right outside the door. Enough said?

Zuzu: Oh my goodness. Yes. Like when my dad thinks he has a spot on the big bed. I mean… really. Mom has her spot. I have the rest of the spots. Dad is on his own. Silly man still doesn’t realize this.

Speaking of writing books, your mom has a new one out, doesn’t she?  Rumor has it that you were the inspiration. How does it feel to be famous? 

Junie: Well, I don’t like to brag, but Jellybean the terrier is TOTALLY modeled after me and let’s face it, he’s more cunning and wise than his movie star owner, the candy maker and the violin tutor put together.

Zuzu: Yes. Clearly, he is the most important character in the whole book.

What does a typical day look like for you as an author’s dog?

Junie: I do a lot of staring at Mom while she’s poking away at the keyboard. If you stare enough, she will get up and walk you. Then there’s napping, more staring, more walking and the afternoon treat ritual. At some point the teen humans come home and I make a fuss, just to build their self esteem. It goes without saying that anytime Mom leaves the room, it is my job to chew her Post-its and rifle the pockets of her sweater. Tough jobs, but somebody has to keep things in order.

Zuzu: What would they do without us to keep them on schedule and keep things in order?

Your mom writes a lot of dog books, so we love her around here. Besides the obvious (the dog based on you), who is your favorite character that your mom has created?

Junie: Probably Panny (short for Pancake) in Sit, Stay, Love. She really shouldn’t be alive but that creature has a strong will to live. I admire that in dogs and people!

Zuzu: Panny rocks, but Sweetness is my fave. And my mom’s. This is what she said about Sweetness (sometimes I like her words so I don’t mind using them) – “That quirky, endearing, slobbery mess of a dog who eats pancakes and chews on spatulas and rescues the wounded and abandoned. Sweetness steals the show. And a few kisses. And a whole lot of laughter.”

Junie, keep being you! Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you and your mom.

Junie: Mom is busily clacking away on a four book suspense series for Love Inspired Suspense, and I will continue to hold things together Mentink Manor, right after I am done with my nap. Thanks for having me. May all your neighborhood squirrels be slow and your walks be plentiful!

Zuzu: Oh a nap sounds wonderful! Great idea!

Junie’s mom is giving away a copy of Paws for Love (in print if winner is in US, or a Kindle copy if winner is international) to one of my mom’s readers! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Void where prohibited. Giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Since Dana is a teacher, I want to know: Which teacher made a difference in your life?

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48 responses to “Zuzu Interviews: Dana Mentink’s dog Junie (plus a Giveaway!)

    • Carrie

      Despite the fact that I loathe math and just don’t get it, a couple of my fave teachers have been math teachers 🙂

  1. Kay Garrett

    Loved reading about the author AND Jellybean. 🙂 Thanks for the change to read what I know has to be an amazing book.

  2. Kay Garrett

    My favorite teacher has to be by high school science teacher. He made it so interesting and fun that he held workshops at night and EVERY ONE showed up. 🙂

  3. Kav

    Bwahahahaha! When I read that Zuzu and Junie were going to be sharing the limelight today my first thought was “they’re going to break the Internet” and then, when I clicked on the link it wouldn’t load and I got an error message that said the gateway was broken. Snort. Why am I not surprised? You two make a powerful duo. I’m glad I was finally able to get here!

    Junie, I’m excited to read your…er your mom’s…story. It must be rewarding to know what an inspiration you are. And Zuzu, I really think your need your own blog…and facebook page and maybe your own show. But I guess you couldn’t stay awake for all of that, eh?

    Inspiring teachers: I had a lovely English teacher in junior high who encouraged me to write. I was dismal at everything academic — science, math even gym — but I loved reading and writing and she nurtured that and made me feel special and important for the first time in a school setting. Thank you Mrs. Whittlesea (and isn’t that the coolest name?)

    • Carrie

      My blog has been twitchy lately… i’m not pleased. LOL. But at least it’s behaving at the moment … knock on wood 😀 And ohhhhhh what a delightful teacher name and she sounds like a wonderful lady too 🙂

  4. LOL!! This totally cracked me up!!! hahah!!!!!

    OK, my fave teacher was my 6th grade English teacher, who instilled in me the love of classics. She taught Pride and Prejudice and many others that was just wonderful. I found out about 3 years ago that she passed. I was quite sad, but her love of literature have made an impact. I still kept the copy of Anna Karenina that she gave to me as a parting gift when I graduated.

  5. Kav

    Now, if you had asked about first teacher crush that would have been Mr. Gogo in grade seven. All the girls were gaga over him. Fresh out of teacher’s college. Tall, dark and handsome. Putting our Nancy Drew skills to good use, my girlfriend and I figured out where he lived…next borough over…and we would walk there (unbeknownst to our parents) and hang out in front of his highrise most Saturdays. Every time we saw a car coming out of the underground parking lot we’d squeal and dive into the bushes, certain it was our beloved Mr. Gogo and worried he’d see us. Ah, those were the days. The sweet rush of young (stalkerish) love.

  6. I was wondering when Zuzu would snag an interview with Junie, and its nice to see that Junie has remained humble despite being a cover model.

    One of the teachers who made a difference in my life was my 7th grade advanced math teacher, who told me I was no good at math and transferred me to a lower class. While I did internalize the “no good at math” statement for many years, I later used the experience to propel myself to improve in many areas and when forming my own teaching philosophies. He became my teaching non-example 😀

    • Carrie

      oh my … yes…. bad/rude teachers can (sadly) make just as much of a difference as the awesome ones. But kudos to you for letting it shape you for the better!!! That takes strength of character!

  7. Kim

    Love these Zuzu interviews!

    My favorite teacher is my high school geometry teacher. He made learning math really fun and easy. I still love math today.

  8. My sophomore high school English teacher made a big difference in my life. Not only was she a fantastic teacher (and track coach the one year I did that), but a great support system for me as I continued through high school and went on to college. I still keep in touch with her. 🙂

  9. I’ve had a few teachers make a big difference in my life. The first one was in 3rd grade. At the time my best friend and I were arch enemies. She got tired of dealing with us and made us sit next to each other and do EVERYTHING together. We’ve been besties ever since. Thank you, Mrs. Russell!

  10. Patty

    Probably Mr. Rockafellow my 4th & 5th grade teacher. He would read out loud to us at the end of the school day if we had time and had been good! Love that he encouraged a love of reading.

  11. Dianne Casey

    The teacher that I liked the most was my sixth-grade teacher. She really made class fun and enjoyable. Great interview, Zuzu. Really enjoyed it.

  12. Trixi

    Carrie and Dana, I’ve never had such fun or laughed so hard reading a blog post in my life!! Oh the doggie thoughts Zuzu & Junie think..haha!!

    I just completed reading/reviewing Paws for Love & I could TOTALLY see Junie in Jellybean. For all his naughtiness, he is quite the little charmer & totally stole the show for me 🙂 I love all three books in this series and won’t choose a favorite. I’ll also be sharing this post on FB & Twitter for you Carrie!

  13. Connie Lee

    My bookkeeping and office practice teacher in the 10th grade really helped prepare me for the future jobs I would have.

  14. Donna B

    I loved most of my teachers and loved to go to school. My third grade teacher was a special lady and came to our house after school to tutor my twin who was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and couldn’t complete the school year. We remained friends with her until her passing a couple of years ago. Thanks for the great interview.

  15. Betty Davus

    My 1st grade teacher was retired in place and unfit to teach. I was scared of her and she knew it. She gave me low grades I did not deserve in reading. My 2nd grade teacher was amazing. She tested me and found that I was reading on a 5th grade level. She had me tutor 3 other students who had trouble reading. She turned me into a happy confident student who loved school instead of a child who cried on the way to school. Without her, I might have been lost in the crowd and never learned much of anything. That was 54 years ago and I still love and respect her to this day. I can’t remember most teachers names but I can remember most everything about her.

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