MONMOUTH — Brittney Hall never aspired to be a published author.
The Monmouth resident keeps herself busy as an event planner, bookkeeper for Marr Bros., and a mother of two.
But when she and her family bought an English shepherd puppy, Hall thought someone had to tell a story about this breed, unrecognized by the American Kennel Club.
“Being a published author wasn’t really my dream,” Hall said. “It’s not that I wanted to write a book. I’m very business-driven. I thought this dog is so cool. He’s the coolest dog. He’s hilarious. He should have books about him. He should have TV shows about him. This is a good story. I would buy this book.”
At first, she thought about finding someone else to tell the story.
“I thought I should find a writer who can write it, maybe get a ghost writer,” Hall said. “But I thought, I’m a mom. I read children’s books all the time, and I know which ones I like to read and which ones I don’t.”
So she sat down and wrote the story of George, “The Adventures of Guh the Wonderdog,” published by Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc.
The Halls bought George, affectionately called, “Guh,” when Brittney’s daughter was just 1.
“It was like having another baby,” Hall recalled. “He was great, but I thought, ‘now I have two kids.’”
Guh would wake up early and be ready for his morning nap just as Hall’s daughter was ready for breakfast. She found it ironic that her baby finally slept through the night, and the puppy was not letting her get much shuteye.
“He’d be sleeping under the barstools, and I thought, ‘You. Dog,’” Hall said. “And that kind of started it. He has this funny personality.”
Guh thinks he is part of the family, and insists on sitting on the couch while watching TV, or sleeping on the bed — in spite of his 70-pound size.
“He’s just a goofy dog, and he’s also a breed that a lot of people don’t know about,” Hall said. “A lot of people think he’s an Australian shepherd, but he’s an English shepherd.”
The breed is of a collie lineage, Hall said, and is a herding dog.
“They were bred to protect the flock,” she said. “They’re excellent family dogs. They have energy if you let them go use it, but in the house, they don’t go crazy. They’ll just hang out with the family.”
Though Guh is not pleased when everyone is scattered around the house, Hall said.
“He does not like the chaos,” she said. “He gets really mad at us if we’re playing and being rambunctious. He says, ‘Everybody stop what you’re doing.’”
Hall’s daughter — and now son, too — are Guh’s favorite buddies.
“In the book, it talks about the mom being not so sure about this dog, but this little girl adores him, and they’re playmates, and he always wants to be with the family,” Hall said.
She wrote the book with bedtime in mind.
“You have to appeal to the child, but who’s going to buy the book,” Hall said. “It’s the parents. So it has to be something that’s not super lengthy, because at bedtime you want to get through the book and get to bed.”
Hall wrote two books, starting with a more current version of Guh, but realized that she needed to write an introduction to the characters first.
“Nobody’s going to know why his name is ‘Guh,’” Hall said. “His name is George, but they’re not going to know how the heck he got that name.”
The second installment of the adventures of Guh will be published later. For now, Hall is focused on the success of the first.
She said she has learned a lot getting a book published.
“I thought, ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen? They could tell me no,’” Hall said. “But if you don’t try, you won’t know. Maybe you’ll make a million dollars, or maybe not. But at least you did it. I think it’s good to accomplish stuff.”
The book is available on Amazon in hardcover and electronically.
Also, Hall will participate in storytime at Independence Public Library at 10:30 a.m. on April 5.