Missing dog helps author find her voice writing mystery for young readers

March 17, 2015
By Bill Krueger

During the brutal winter of 2010, the city of Boston became engrossed in the search for Marisol, a Puerto Rican rescue dog who had been attacked by a pit bull and gone missing. The story of the missing pup had spread across the city, fueled by an article in The Boston Globe. The hunt for Marisol used blogs, social media and geo-tracking and became one of the most technologically advanced efforts to rescue a lost canine.

Edith aloneEdith Cohn, a good friend of Marisol’s owners, was involved in the search effort, hanging up flyers and searching for countless hours. Even though Marisol was never found, the impact stayed with Cohn for years afterward.

“I kept seeing dogs that looked like [Marisol],” says Cohn, a 1997 NC State graduate from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “I thought to myself, it’s kind of like seeing her ghost. And then I got the idea that it would be a cool idea for a book.”

Marisol became the inspiration for the ghost dog in Cohn’s first published novel, “Spirit’s Key.” The novel targets children in middle school with an engaging story about a young girl who uses her magical abilities and the help of her ghost dog to solve a mystery that surrounds Bald Island.

Cohn’s journey to becoming a published author was not as straightforward as one might imagine.

After spending years as a Hollywood script reader for Whitt-Thomas Films, Cohn moved to the Bronx, N.Y. to continue her education and work on her story-telling craft. She received her master’s degree from Fordham University and taught 7th grade English, all while trying to launch her career as a writer.

But after writing three books that would never get published, Cohn became frustrated.

“One of the biggest challenges is thinking about whether people will like it and is this the book I should be spending the next year of my life on,” Cohn says. “I was going through a frustrated phase where I wasn’t selling any books, so I took a break for about a year.”

BookcoverThat break came in the form of BetterPups, a handmade dog collar business that Cohn started. The business featured bow ties for male dogs and ribbon bows for female dogs, all hand-sewn, wrapped and shipped from Cohn’s home.

The business was a spectacular hit, with orders flying in faster than Cohn could keep up. Rather than mass-produce the collars, she turned back to writing. The break proved beneficial, and Cohn was inspired to write “Spirit’s Key.”

“Sprit’s Key” has been a hit among readers and critics alike. The book was named a Top 2014 Mighty Girl Book for Teens and Tweens by Amightygirl.com.

Today, Cohn visits schools near her current home in Los Angeles, CA, and in the North Carolina, giving her a chance to interact with readers of her story, the kids. She says it is the most rewarding part of being a published author.

— Christian Candeloro


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