Character Interview: Baxter the Shiba Inu Interviews Nana D from Academic Curveball (Braxton Campus Mysteries)

Last week, Baxter interviewed Kellan Ayrwick, the protagonist amateur sleuth from the Braxton Campus Mystery series. This week, Baxter’s cornered Nana D, Kellan’s lovable grandmother and sidekick who is the queen of sarcasm in his world. If you’re unfamiliar with my latest book, Academic Curveball, it is currently available in electronic and physical format and officially launched on October 15th, 2018. You can buy or download it here. The second book in the series, Broken Heart Attack, will be available in December 2018. For now, let’s get on to the interview…

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Interviewer – Baxter

  • 7-month-old puppy who fancies himself a very smart canine
  • 22 lbs, black and tan, no job, rambunctious, acts like a frat boy
  • Likes
    • Biting, hiding under the couch, pouncing on you while you sleep, dominating other dogs, eating things he shouldn’t, running out the front door to escape, digging in flower beds
  • Dislikes
    • Vacuum cleaners, his harness and leash, bedtime, the cone after he was neutered, being neutered, the word ‘no’


Interviewee – Nana D (Seraphina Danby, Kellan’s Grandmother)

  • 74-year-old sarcastic widow running for mayor of Wharton County
  • 5-0, 100 lbs. wet mostly due to her long henna-rinsed hair, runs Danby Landing (organic farm), can be found baking all the time, wants to clean-up her hometown’s political situation
  • Likes
    • The old days, torturing her son-in-law, play-fighting with Eustacia Paddington, dating and dumping Lindsey Endicott, embarrassing Town Councilman Marcus Stanton, slapping people silly, setting up Kellan on blind dates, solving crimes, composting
  • Dislikes
    • Town Councilman Marcus Stanton, Sheriff Montague’s attitude, liars, red tape, being told ‘no’ for anything, people who are late, having her car taken away from her, rudeness, microwave ovens, anyone who copies her


  • Question 1: Kellan speaks highly of you. Why do you think people find you so funny and cool? You kinda look like a cross between that pyschic woman from Poltergiest and a hippie. Honestly, I’m not impressed. (Baxter)
    • I’m not sure I’ve ever talked to a dog before, especially one with a foul mouth like yours. Ever try some soap, puppy? I’ve got a good mind to wash that sarcastic tone right outta you. I’ll teach you this lesson once — I’m in charge. You do what I tell you to do. In return, I’ll bake you yummy treats, take you on walks without your leash if you promise not to run too far, and we can sneak attack Kellan while he’s sleeping. That boy’s one lazy grandson but I love ’em. As for why I’m so special, it’s the red hair. No one’s really able to get this shade of red anymore without those fancy salons. They think I’m pretty cool because I am cool. I see things as they really are and I’m not afraid to speak my mind.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • I see. I do like treats. Maybe you ain’t so bad. We’ll give this a shot. Now how about you go make me some peanut butter biscuits with a hint of hickory and salmon?
  • Question 2: Why do you want to run for mayor of Wharton County? What makes you the best candidate? (Baxter)
    • I’ve lived here almost seventy-five years and saw this place through 11 mayors and 13 Braxton town councilmen. The two ramshackle bogeymen we’ve got in charge right now are as bad as that other hooligan representin’ himself as our country’s leader. You gotta stand up and fight for what you believe in. Set examples for the rest of this world. I’m an old-fashioned gal who believes in the golden rule. I’ll rule with an iron fist, be fair to all, ensure quality, stop fussin’ with people’s religion, preferences, human rights, etc. Everyone’s equal and should be able to do what they want as long as they don’t hurt someone else or break any of the laws. I want to focus on jobs, healthcare, community outreach, safety, the environment, etc. All the things government should be responsible for. Not deciding minor every day stuff that doesn’t fix the real problems.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • While you sound genuine, I’ve never met a politician who actually did that. And by the way… “ruling with an iron fist” went the way of the pony express (as I’ve heard you say before) almost a century ago. That’s not how things are done anymore, Nana D. FYI – I’ll point out to the readers that Nana D yelled “pish” and held up a bar of soap when I said this. :O
  • Question 3: What’s this fight with Town Councilman Marcus Stanton all about? And is it true, did you really drop a load of manure on him during a barbecue? (Baxter)
    • That man is a fool! And would you quit asking two questions at the same time? You did that last time, too, puppy. I don’t like it when people sneak things in or out. Just be honest. That’s my problem with Councilman Silly Man, as I call him. That manure thing was simply an accident. My front loader malfunctioned and somehow it just happened to land on his head. Maybe it was fate. All I know is the dang machine started working properly right afterward. I guess it was a one-time glitch. Oops. As for our history, mind your manners. Didn’t your grandmother ever teach you not to pry into other people’s pasts?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • It was at this point the old lady scooped me up off the floor and fed me some yummy apples from her orchard. They were pretty good, but I didn’t appreciate the woman-handling that’d just occurred. As for grandmothers, I never knew mine. They were both AKC show dogs who had their puppies and took off for greener pastures. I was raised by a loving woman in Kansas who shipped me to New York City of all places. Dads are both cool, but I need more space.
  • Question 4: What’s the deal with this Broken Heart Attack book, number two in the series all about Kellan’s life? (Baxter)
    • First of all, the series is all about me. Kellan’s just helping to balance out. It’s hard to take me 100% of the time, and I know it. I let the poor kid think this is his series. At 32, he still has some growing up to do. Broken Heart Attack nearly broke my heart. I lost a good friend in that one, she was a founding member of our Septuagenarian Club. But Kellan and I caught her killer and we will move forward in her honor. The King Lear play was a nice touch… it was a bit of a reflection on what was actually happening in the book. I wonder how much readers will pick up on the similarity of the plots.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Yeah, I don’t read. I’m a dog. I eat things. I lick things. I will watch the television. I like this show called Tanked where they build fish tanks. I get to watch fish swim around. Dad leaves it on when he goes to the gym so I have some noise and something to watch. I love it, but don’t tell him. He can’t know that I appreciate him a lot.
  • Question 5: Do you have any regrets in life? As you look back on it, I mean, knowing you only have a few years… (Baxter)
    • Shut your mouth, dog. I’m 74, not 174.  I’ve got at least another 26 years which is more than you. I don’t count that 7 to 1 dog year to human year ratio. So unless you want me to withhold your food for 2 weeks which is how I punish Kellan with desserts when he misbehaves, it’ll do you well, so CAN IT. That’s what the sheriff told me to do once, and well, she wasn’t happy with my response. As for regrets, I do… I wish I traveled a bit more. My daughter Deirdre is in England, a big fancy romance writer. I’m trying to get her to come home and visit us. She finally agreed, but apparently there’s some big news she wants to share. I have to wait until book 3 though… some author guy who thinks he knows better when he writes all about our lives has decided to keep that at bay. What a nutter!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • I couldn’t agree more. That same guy does the typing for me on this interview since my paws can’t distinguish individual keys. You should see how many mistakes he makes. I have to edit everything he does! Well, this has been fun, but I have some birds to chase off the terrace. Thanks for being a worthy sparring partner unlike your grandson, Kellan. He couldn’t keep up with me last time.



Interviewee – Kellan Ayrwick

  • 32-year-old single father who fancies himself an amateur sleuth
  • 5-9, fit, wavy dirty-blond hair, wears glasses, baby blue eyes, professor, TV show director, former frat boy
  • Likes
    • Desserts, daughter Emma, black and white films, the beach, sarcasm, Nana D, compliments, Top 40’s music, sleeping, puzzles, cozy college campus, solving cases before the sheriff
  • Dislikes
    • Fake people, Dr. Myriam Castle, Sheriff April Montague, bad weather, wearing ties, the supernatural or ghosts, shaving, weird Shakespearean quotes


  • Question 1: Who are you and why are you forcing me to interview you? (Baxter)
    • I’m Kellan, the main character in your owner’s latest mystery series. I had to leave LA for a quick trip to visit my small, secluded hometown in Pennsylvania for my father’s retirement from Braxton College. He was the president, and my parents forced me to come home. I left almost a decade ago because they can be very intrusive. Love ’em to pieces, but wow… talk about family drama!
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Please do not refer to Jay as my OWNER. Jay is lucky I chose to come live with him. There are days when his helicopter parenting can be so bad, I want to lick him to death to get him to stop holding me back. And you don’t know family drama. My siblings were awful! They made me bite them all the time just to shut them up. I’m the quiet one. Grr…
  • Question 2: What can tell me about living in this Wharton County, Pennsylvania? I’m looking for more space as this box in the biggest urban center in the world is a little confining. (Baxter)
    • Wharton County is in north central PA near the NY border. It’s about 90 miles south of Buffalo and trapped between the Saddlebrooke National Forest and the Wharton Mountain range. It’s not a real place, but it is based on a bunch of different places Jay’s visited or lived in Pennsylvania. There are 4 major towns, and the one my family hails from is called Braxton. There’s a great college there, too, where many of my family members work, and it seems perhaps possibly me, too, in the near future. The best part of the campus is built across two different sections of the town and is connected by a really cool cable car system. Jay told me it’s based on where he went to college… do you know where that is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Listen, Kellan… I didn’t want to do this interview, but since it’s been forced on me, remember I ASK the questions. You ANSWER them. Got that? From what I hear, everyone tells you what to do anyway, Kellan… between your boss Myriam, your grandmother Nana D, and that weirdo sheriff, you can barely breathe without someone torturing you. Stand up for yourself, man. Have a little bark and a little bite! WOOF!
  • Question 3: What happens in this first book? Should I plan to tell my friends about it? They do read in case you were wondering. We’re a smart breed. (Baxter)
    • I can honestly tell you this is the best book I’ve EVER been in. And I’m probably the funniest guy you’ll ever meet. It all starts off when I come home for what should’ve been a long weekend, but then there’s a murder. And my boss in LA makes me stay to cover it for our TV show. Then my family and a good friend are major suspects, so I’m forced to try to find the real killer. Nana D of course tries to set me up, but my wife has only been gone for two years, so I’m not quite ready. I had an awesome time at the baseball games learning all about the sport but when I thought someone on the team was changing their grades in order to play in the season opener, I knew I was on to something big. Little did I realize how much more complex it really was. Wanna know who the killer is?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • One, this is the only book you’ve been in so far, Kellan. I know Jay wrote the second one, but he’s still editing it. It’s not real until he gives it to someone to read. I’ve had a look, and I can definitely tell you it’s AWESOME, but I might be biased. Although I was super annoyed with Jay for making me wear that cone of shame for two weeks after my surgery, having such a fantastic story with engaging characters helped pass the time quickly. GO BRAXTON CAMPUS MYSTERIES!!! RAH RAH! And two, no, don’t spoil it for me, you doofus. I think people should find out for themselves who killed someone. Duh!
  • Question 4: Do you know where Jay keeps the treats in this joint? (Baxter)
    • I’m not real, dog. How would I know that? I can’t see or hear anything outside of Braxton. You came here to visit me. You’re as bad as Nana D with these questions. Go take a nap, dog.
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • If you weren’t paying me to do this interview, I’d bite your face off. But I’m glad to see we’re both frat boys. Jay was one, too. I guess we have some things in common. Wait… now that I think about it, you’re awfully similar to Jay… what kinda sick twist of fate is this?
  • Question 5: Anything else you want to share before I go for a walk to get away from you and this tedious discussion? I’ve got some flowers to eat. (Baxter)
    • I’ve got tons of stories to share in the next few years. Jay’s helped me write lots of books and together, we’re planning at least 10 in the series. What I love the most is how he let me write them in 1st person, so the entire book is always from my perspective. I’ve got a really fun voice and way of talking about myself and others, so you’ll likely laugh a lot. I’m also a bit clumsy, like to complain, and am a really sweet but sexy guy. Sometimes I get a bit arrogant. Other times I behave a bit like a fool. But as I get older, things start to look pretty awesome from my position. I just can’t figure out what’s gonna happen in my love life, but you know there’s gotta be more than one woman after me based on what’s happened in that first book, right?
    • Baxter’s Response:
      • Kellan, your modesty knows no bounds. I’m sure any readers are already swooning rolling their eyes over it. Thanks for chatting today. I’ll leave you with a little surprise before I bounce.


Stay tuned for the next interview when Baxter takes on… NANA D. Here’s a quick snapshot of Nana D’s latest conversation with her grandson, Kellan, in book two set to be published in December 2018:

SCENE from BROKEN HEART ATTACK (Book 2 in Braxton Campus Mysteries)

As people filed out of the lobby and into the venue, the noise level grew more tolerable and I could freely move around without feeling every nook and cranny of every weirdo in the joint. First up was texting Nana D to find out who had my ticket and where I’d be sitting. If she put me next to some new Tinder date she blindly setup for me…

Me: Where are you? It’s like a blue-haired Neil Diamond concert in here today.

Nana D: More like a wannabe Lady Gaga gig. Don’t you know any current pop references?

Me: Given the number of septuagenarians, I assumed they wouldn’t know who she was.

Nana D: You know what happens when you ASS-U-ME, don’t you, Kellan?

Me: That was weak even for you. Epic FAIL! Where’s my ticket?

Nana D: Bite me. I left it at the Box Office. Wasn’t sure you’d show. Go get it. Now.

Me: Yes, Chief. On my way. You’re feisty today. Too much bran? Not enough veges?

Nana D: Pop a cork in it and get to your seat. You ain’t seen nothing yet, brilliant one. Just wait til I introduce you to…


Note from Baxter: In case you’re curious about the last introduction, Nana D has a habit of setting Kellan up with the weirdest women I’ve ever met. In the last book, we learned there was a two-time bigamist who Nana D thought might be Kellan’s future girlfriend. I’m kinda hoping to meet that crazy old woman one day. I hear she’s a real ball buster… hey wait… is she the one who took mine away when they neutered me three weeks ago!!! PAYBACK WILL BE MINE!


About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.



  1. That Baxter…what a trooper. He’ helping you out even after having to wear the cone of shame. Sounds like the new book is taking off. Congrats! I can’t believe you have the next one in the series done. Plus you read a bazillion books a week. I don’t know how you do it! Sending hug and love… ❤️💕❤️💕❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, how did I miss this earlier?! Lol. I think Baxter suits Nana D perfectly. Great interview… they certainly knew how to handle each other 😉
    Have to admit the King Lear similarities went over my head until I read this. Then I was like… oh yeah…. 🙊😂
    Umm.. if she leaves out the whole hickory and salmon bit…can I have some of those cookie please?

    Liked by 1 person

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