Winner of the 2016 Merrimack Media Outstanding
Writer Award

Blurb: Did you ever wonder what your dog was

This charming tale may clue you in. The retiring attorney finally had some time on his hands. Encouraged by his wife, one of the first items on his retirement bucket list was to adopt a rescue dog. He chose to adopt what he believed was an injured and malnourish female Wiemaraner. What he adopted instead was part lawyer, part philosopher, part wine sommelier and all princess embodied in an intelligent, devious but loveable amnesiac. As with any adoption, there is the mandatory trial period to determine the compatibility of the adopters and the adoptee. This trial period becomes more of a medieval “trial by ordeal” as the man matches wits with his new “best friend”.

Stacy’s Review: **** stars!

Punitive Damages is a great book, a light read about a rescue dog in the first five days of an adoption agreement. It is told from the dog’s perspective and is funny. The dog, P. J., suffers from amnesia from a car accident, but believes in some ways, her new home is a bit beneath her. She try to makes sense of her new surroundings and has a few adventures along the way. I would recommend this book to animal lovers everywhere. I also enjoyed Mr. Lively’s artwork as he is a wonderful artist, and did the cover of the book.
I received this book in a giveaway and my thanks to the author/artist for it.

Interview with Author Jim Lively

twogalsandabook.com: Did you always want to be an author?

Jim Lively: No. I spent the majority of my adult life practicing law. I decided in 2008, to follow my passion and transition full-time to being an artist, film maker and author.

twogalsandabook.com: At what age did you start writing?

Jim Lively: I probably did not do any meaningful writing until college. Afterwards, there was a huge gap until 2008 when I began writing novels and short stories.

twogalsandabook.com:  Do you read a lot? If so, who are some of your favorite authors?

Jim Lively: I try to read every day. I really do not have any favorite authors. I love reading about the great American west. One historical writer that I particularly enjoy is Tom Clavin.

twogalsandabook.com:  Is there anything you are working on now?

Jim Lively: Not at the moment. I have been devoting a lot of my time to making experimental art films which I submit to various film festivals across the U.S. and Canada. My recent film, “Still Mad as Hell” was screened at the 2017 New York City Independent Film Festival.

twogalsandabook.com:  What ambitions do you have for your writing career?

Jim Lively: I hope soon to begin a new mystery novel based in the wonderful world of art.

twogalsandabook.com: Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have any writing rituals or atmosphere?

Jim Lively:
I like to write in the morning preferable after my morning jog. I get some of my best ideas when walking back home after some exercise.

twogalsandabook.com: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Jim Lively: Sometimes I procrastinate but rarely do I experience writer’s block.

twogalsandabook.com: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Jim Lively: Yes. Enjoy the whole process and do not worry about rejection.

twogalsandabook.com:  Did you have to do much research for Punitive Damages?

Jim Lively: I did not have to do any research on Punitive Damages because I personally experienced almost all of the events detailed in the book. P.J. was my adopted dog and yes we matched wits on a daily basis. Rarely did I win the match.

twogalsandabook.com: What was the most difficult part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

Jim Lively: I think the most difficult part of writing the book was trying to determine how to end it. I wanted the book to be very uplifting and light.

twogalsandabook.com:  At the end of the book, there is a photo of you with (I am assuming) your dog. Was your dog the inspiration for Punitive Damages?

Jim Lively: Yes, the photo at the end and on the back cover of the paperback is the real life P.J. I embellished very little of actual events that she and I experienced.


photo of P. J.

twogalsandabook.com:  Punitive Damages is told from the perspective of the dog. Was it difficult to try to think how a dog would think? What made you decide to write the book from that perspective?

Jim Lively: I believe that all dog owners pretty much feel that they understand what their dogs are thinking. Garth Stein wrote a wonderful book, “Racing in the Rain” from a dog’s perspective. It was my inspiration for writing from P.J.’s prospective.

twogalsandabook.com:  Did the situations in the book actually happen in real life with you and your dog?

Jim Lively: Yes. Most of the situations in the book actually happened. I enhanced some of them only slightly for entertainment value.

twogalsandabook.com:  Will there be anymore books featuring P.J.?

Jim Lively: I actually started writing a second novel about P.J. However at the time, I was going through a divorce with the wonderful woman who was also my wife depicted in Punitive Damages. I found it too painful to write about P.J. adapting to divorced owners. I sadly no longer see P.J.

twogalsandabook.com:  Has a trailer been made of the book?

Jim Lively: Yes, I believe it is on the Goodreads page. You can also find it on YouTube.
(ed. note: trailers links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gyn9VuXG4M, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOE8eayMMl4,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpS0OHyxG44,  and as an aside, P. J. has made his own short film with a great soundtrack…. P. J. is quite a visionary director: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_K9mh7dnsGU&t=586s)

twogalsandabook.com: Are rescue dogs and/ or the Wiemaraner breed a passion of yours?

Jim Lively: I love Weimaraners and have been fortunate to have had two. My first one was a hyper lovable goof ball male and PJ of course was female with a totally different personality. If I get a dog again…it will definitely be a rescue dog.

twogalsandabook.com:  If the book were ever made into a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?

Jim Lively: I have been told numerous times that I resemble Bryan Cranston in character of Walter White in Breaking Bad. What better person to play me. I am not sure who I would pick for P.J. and the other characters.

twogalsandabook.com: I was wowed by your artwork, and I see in your bio that you are also an art filmmaker. What films have you done?

Jim Lively: Thank you for your kind comments about my artwork in the book. I donated the sketches and the painting which was the image on the cover to Wiemaraner Rescue of Texas for a silent auction benefiting the organization. I adopted P.J. through this group. As to my films, I have had several films selected to various film festivals. If you visit my website, www.jimlivelyart.com or email me at j.lively@sbcglobal. net I can send you a link to view many of them. They are all submitted in the short experimental category.

twogalsandabook.com: Is there anything you would like to add that we have not discussed?

Jim Lively: No, thank you for your very insightful questions.

twogalsandabook.com: Are there any social media platforms readers could connect with you on?

Jim Lively:  Yes, I have attacked to the Punitive Damages page on Facebook. As indicated earlier, I can be reached via email at j.lively@sbcglobal.net. Thank you! https://www.facebook.com/j.livelysbcg…

Author Bio

After practicing law for many years, Jim Lively decided it was the appropriate time to pursue his true passion as a writer and a contemporary visual artist. Jim just received the 2016 Merrimack Media Outstanding Writer Award for his new novel, Punitive Damages. This is his third novel.
Jim’s artworks have been recognized in numerous juried competitions and publications. He was recently presented a Certificate of Excellence for the 2015 Palm Art Awards. Jim was also named to the 2013, 2014 and 2015 list of Art Tour International Magazine’s Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art. His recent art film, “The Soul of Vinyl; Abbey Road Side 2 screened at the 2016 New York Independent Film Festival. Jim has participated in several group and a solo exhibitions across North America and in Europe.

Enter to win a copy of Punitive Damages! Giveaway starts midnight 6/24 and ends midnight 7/1/2017! Good luck!

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Twogalsandabook.com would like to thank Jim Lively for allowing us to read his great book and for the interview!