Author and artist Jan Britland lives in Punta Gorda, Florida with her husband Bill. In addition to a bulldog named Madison, and a parrot named Lola, the household pets include three red-eared slider turtles named Sparky, Luigi and Hale. Oh, and Goldie a pond fish. All of whom are portrayed Jan’s stories. When she is not writing children’s books, Jan teaches oil painting to adults.
It has been fun getting to know Jan better and the back-story of this wildly fun, adventurous story of a dog named Rodger Dodger. I was surprised to find out that Rodger Dodger is based off a real dog Jan and her kids used to see up a tree no less. “In 1986 I had to drive my children to a new town to start school at their new school. It was a 45 minute drive, which can become boring. On our drive, we would pass a beagle type dog chained to a huge Magnolia tree. On some days, we would see the chain hanging down from the tree. I think we just assumed the dog was in the house until one day we realized he was up in the tree. From that day on Rodger Dodger Dog, as we called him, became a favorite. As we passed him every day I would start telling a story about Rodger Dodger’s adventures up the tree and beyond,” shared Jan.
However, this mom not yet turned author didn’t know what was in store for her. It was many years later, Jan shared, before the Rodger Dodger Dog stories she told her kids would become a book. “I received a phone call from my daughter Kelly who had young children of her own. She was complaining her son Dalton brought home a book from pre-school that didn’t make sense to him or her. She wanted me to write down the Rodger Dodger Dog stories so she could share them with her children. I of course immediately sat down and started writing,” shared Jan.
I wondered how Jan remembered stories from so long ago. She shared, “Because I am so dyslexic the stories had to rhyme so I could remember them from day to day. They also started the same to get me going. Thank goodness. So I sent the finished copy to my daughter and waited to get the phone call that would tell me how much my grandchildren loved my stories. It never came. When I called her to ask her, she told me she was embarrassed to call me. Her children were so small they really needed to see illustrations to keep their interest. So being the good Gammy that I am, I set out to find an illustrator. I found Mike Swaim… a wonderful cartoonist. We connected right away and Rodger Dodger Dog was born.”
The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog is a 20-story series with six stories in four books featuring Rodger Dodger Dog and his band of quirky pals. In the first book, The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog, Rodger meets a new friend up in a tree, saves a stranded fish on the beach and battles the dreaded flea.
In the second book, Rodger Meets Dr. Glee, Rodger wakes up one day not feeling well at all. His tongue feels very large and his head feels very small. Rodger calls his friends and they take him to the zoo to see Dr. Glee.
Rodger Saves Bunny is the third book in the series. In this one, Rodger finds a helpless bunny in the woods. He takes him home to nurse him back to health. When Bunny wakes up, he is terrified of Rodger. Rodger and Bunny work out their differences and become fast friends.
The newest book in the series is A Christmas Story and tells about how Rodger and his pals get together Christmas Eve and put up their first Christmas tree. When they wake up what a wonder they see. As they open their presents they come to realize “of all the gifts you can get Friends and Family are the Best!”
My own children have fallen in love with the Rodger Dodger Dog series and I asked Jan what type of response does she get when she hears from fans. “When the public started reading them I would get letters from mothers who told me they liked the subtle messages the stories have. I think the mutual respect and fondness the characters have for each other comes through in the writing,” shared Jan.
So what’s next for the Rodger Dodger Dog series? Jan was kind enough to answer that question. “Because the stories run like movies in my head, I have written two screenplays for The Adventures of Rodger Dodger Dog TV Cartoon series. With 20 stories and counting, I can certainly fill at least one season or more. I, of course, plan on publishing several more books.”
You can go to Jan Britland’s website and have your children play the Help Rodger Find His Friends game. When they click on the hiding friend, an animal fact about that animal pops up.
Stories for Children Publishing is currently touring author Jan Britland and her Rodger Dodger Dog Series all month in November 2012. You can find out more about Jan Britland’s World of Ink Author/Book Tour schedule at There will be giveaways, reviews, interviews, guest posts and more. Make sure to stop by and interact with Britland and the hosts at the different stops by leaving comments and/or questions.
In addition, come listen to Blog Talk Radio’s World of Ink Network show: Stories for Children at storiesforchildrenpublishing.com/RodgerDodger.aspx.The hosts VS Grenier, Kris Quinn Chirstopherson, and www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetworkIrene Roth will be chatting with Jan Britland about her books, writing, the publishing industry and experiences with virtual tours. Britland will also be sharing writing tips and trials, and tribulations of the writer’s life. The show will be live November 28, 2011 at 2pm EST.