Thursday Author Spotlight – Dorris Heffron

thursdayThis Thursday Spotlight I get in touch with Dorris Heffron; the author of City Wolves. I had a friend of mine Lisa (a very dedicated animal advocate for shelter animals, sled dogs and all things husky) contact me to let me know Dorris was coming to town in September to do a book reading, signing and some other events.  Below is the author interview Dorris Heffron filled out for me as well as her biography. She is having an event September 8th(7:00pm) at MacDonald Island Park in the Library! I am so excited to attend it and actually meet Dorris!

If you are in Fort McMurray and love animals or reading please stop by and show your support! Event Calendar:

*What is the name of the book?
City Wolves
l4x6 front cover of City Wolves

*Who is filling out this interview?
I, the author, Dorris Heffron

*How was the book started and what was your inspiration?

I have always written realistic fiction, novels inspired by real people, places and events. But, this my 5th novel, was inspired, indeed driven by my first malamute, Yukon Sally. I had always had a dog, got from local Humane Societies or farmers. Then when my youngest child went off to university and our 13-year-old collie mutt died, I was bereft. I knew I had to get another dog but if I went to the Dog Pound in my condition, I’d bring every one of them home. My husband agreed we could spring for a purebred. I wanted an indigenous Canadian dog I could swim or ski with. My husband vetoed a Newfoundlanders on the grounds of its size. “Do you realize how big their turds are?!” he argued.

Feeling a bit guilty, and not having a clue as to how difficult they can be, my husband OK’d my second choice…an Alaskan Malamute. I named her Yukon Sally.

Intrigued by her wolf-like appearance and traits, I began to research the breed, which of course led me to researching wolves and how wolves became sled dogs in ancient times in our Arctic. Then we took Yukon Sally to the land of her ancestors, the Yukon. She wanted to linger in Dawson City so I could see the heart of the 1990s Klondike gold rush and then follow the trails of the gold rush prospectors. The Klondike gold rush was the glory days of malamutes.

Back in Toronto, we sold our city home and built on 50 acres two hours north of Toronto, so Yukon Sally could have more space and a companion, Yukon’s Jake. We named the property Little Creek Wolf Range. By then I knew my novel would be called City Wolves and it would be about the wolves, sled dogs and the Klondike gold rush, but I was still fuzzy about the main character. Yukon Sally and Jake kept taking me to our local woman vet, a remarkable woman. I thought it was just because they needed to have porcupine quills removed so they could come home and teach those porcies another lesson. Then I finally clued in.

“Yukon Sally, you want me to write about a woman veterinarian! OK…at the time of the Klondike gold rush, the 1890’s, that would have to be Canada’s first woman vet.” And so Yukon Sally drove me to research the history of veterinary medicine and come up with Meg Wilkinson, the notorious Dog Doctor of Halifax, who after her unusual marriage ends abruptly Boston, goes to the Yukon, seeking the legendary sled dogs, arriving at the beginning of the Klondike gold rush.

So much research and such a big story, City Wolves took a decade to research, write and re-write. Yukon Sally’s lifetime. After I got word that two major agents wanted City Wolves, Yukon Sally let me know it was time for her to be laid to rest. Her beautiful body died in my arms on December 21st, the darkest day indeed.

But her regal spirit lives on in me and all who read City Wolves. You can imagine how I was moved to tears when Lisa Schaldemose informed me recently that she had named one of her pups after Yukon Sally.
Dorris with Ike and Yukitu at totem 2012 by Erika Engel

*When was it released?
2008 in hard back, 2010 in paperback

*What is the cost of the book?
$20 at the reading I will give at the Fort McMurray Library, September 8th.

*Who was it published by?
The Canadian publisher is Dundurn.

*Where can someone get a copy of this book?,, as an e-book at, or ask for it at your local bookstore or library.

*What is the book about?
It is the story of Meg Wilkinson, Canada’s first woman veterinarian who becomes the notorious Dog Doctor of Halifax when pretty well all vets are male ‘horse doctors’. After Meg’s unusual marriage ends abruptly in Boston, Meg heads for the Yukon, seeking the legendary sled dogs, arriving in Dawson City at the beginning of the Klondike gold rush. At the heart of the novel is the ancient story of how wolves became sled dogs.

*How many pages is the book?
430 pages

*What age group is the book targeted to?
The novel appeals to a very wide audience, from 16 to 80 year olds, male and female and transgendered. It is uniquely Canadian and profoundly universal.

*Social Media Contacts (fill in):
Facebook: Dorris Heffron
Twitter: Dorris Heffron
Google+: Dorris Heffron

Do I have permission to copy this to my blog?   Yes, you do.
Do I have permission to use the photos you provided me with?   Yes, you do.

Biography Of Dorris Heffron:
Dorris Heffron was born in Noranda, Quebec. She has an honours B.A. and M.A. in literature and philosophy from Queen’s University. She lived in Oxford, England in the seventies, where she was a tutor for Oxford University and the Open University, giving courses in Literature. While there, she wrote three novels about teenagers, acclaimed internationally as pioneers in the genre of young adult fiction. They were translated and put on high school courses in Europe, Japan and Canada. She has taught creative writing at the University of Malaysia, travelled on most continents, and resided while writing and teaching, in The Netherlands, France and Cape Breton Island.

Heffron returned to Toronto in 1980 and served on the National Council of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Board of Directors of PEN Canada, the Writers’ Trust of Canada, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Board of Directors of the Native Men’s Residence. She was First Vice Chair of The Writers’ Union of Canada and became Chair in June 2013, completing her term in June 2014.

Heffron’s first adults’ novel is the popular A Shark in the House. Her new novel, City Wolves, tells the story of Canada’s first woman veterinarian, Meg Wilkinson who becomes the notorious ‘dog doctor of Halifax’ in the 1890s. When her marriage ends abruptly in Boston, Meg travels to the Yukon seeking the legendary sled dogs, arriving in Dawson City at the beginning of the Klondike gold rush. At the heart of the novel is the ancient story of how wolves became sled dogs. City Wolves is uniquely Canadian yet profoundly universal and appeals to a wide audience, from 18 to 80 year olds, women and men.

Dorris Heffron lives with her husband and sled dogs on a property called Little Creek Wolf Range near Collingwood, Ontario.
Dorris Heffron 2013 photo by Michelle Valberg
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