Dorothy Hearst is the author of The Wolf Chronicles trilogy, which tells the story of how the wolf evolved into the dog from the point of view of a young wolf. She is co-author with Pam Berkman of the At the Heels of History chapter book series, which shares important historical events through the eyes, ears and noses of the dogs who were there. She worked in publishing for over 20 years as an acquiring editor, marketing professional, and book doctor. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto, an editor, martial artist, hiker, and would really like to pet your dog.
Evidently, I like to write about canines. I’ve always loved dogs and been fascinated by the relationship between dogs and people. My first trilogy, The Wolf Chronicles, tells the story of how the wolf evolved into the dog from the point of view of a young wolf. At the Heels of History, a chapter book series I’m writing with Pam Berkman, one of my best buddies, shares important historical events from through the eyes, ears, and noses of the dogs who were there. I am now working on a book about people. OK, it’s about ghosts, but human ghosts.
In addition to being a writer, I have been an acquiring editor and a book doctor. I am grateful every day for what I learned from the amazing authors I’ve had the privilege to work with. I am a martial artist (Taekwondo and White Crane Silat, plus some other fun stuff). I have recently begun teaching self-defense. I love hiking in nature and will keep walking as long as I have sufficient snacks.
It would surprise no one who knew me as a kid that I became a writer. I grew up surrounded by books. There were books in my room, books to steal from my brother’s and sister’s rooms and books all over the rest of the house. I also used to climb up the floor-to-ceiling shelves in the family library to get to the science fiction books, which were on the top shelf. I guess I could have become a rock climber, but instead, I became a writer. I spent much of my childhood making up stories when I was supposed to be doing other things. I was also kind of a jock, spending a lot of time underwater on a swim team or upside down in gymnastics. I can still do a cartwheel, stand on my head, and do the splits (not all at the same time).
My first book, published by my elementary school when I was about eight or nine, was entitled Katie and Todd Run Away and was about a sister and brother named Katie and Todd who ran away. The cover was red. Katie and Todd met a giant squirrel named Mitzi. My sister Marti did the illustrations, which were wonderful. Especially the one of the squirrel.
Like many writers, I was that incredibly nerdy kid in junior high school that everyone picked on, and the only slightly less nerdy kid in high school that not quite everyone picked on. Then I went to UC Berkeley where all the other nerdy kids were and actually got to go on dates and to parties. I majored in the always-practical English Literature, but spent much of my time in the even more practical Drama department. A couple years after graduation, I went to New York, where I was a spectacularly unsuccessful actor. Then, because my mother had the foresight to tell me to get a day job with book people, I eventually found my way to publishing, where I got to hang out with the ultimate nerdy kids, and all was right in the world. I got to edit books by and for the people who do good things in the world, so it was pretty much the best job I could’ve found.
While I was acting and working in publishing, I was also trying to write. I wrote first pages. A lot of first pages. They were good first pages, but I couldn’t get to the second page. Eventually I got up to 3 pages and then actually managed a few 15-page short stories, a couple of which got very nice rejection letters from magazines and journals. Then one day, after about ten years of trying to be a writer, I started writing about wolves—and then I couldn’t shut up. And here’s the really cool thing: when I began to write Promise of the Wolves, I realized that I had actually already started writing it ten years before—on one of those first pages I could never finish. For more on how Promise of the Wolves came to be, check out the Inspiration page here.
Then Pam and I came up with the idea for At the Heels of History and said, “Hey, what do you think would happen if we tried to write a book together?” And we were off and running.
There are about a thousand projects I want to write, but I know what the next five of them are, so that’s what I’m working on for now. Two novels, one screenplay, and two nonfiction pieces. Hoping my clones get back from vacation soon so I can get it all done.