Merridy Anne Pugh
Reader • Writer • Editor • Artist
Merridy grew up in Zimbabwe and South Africa. She didn’t meet many guinea pigs back then. But she had a collection of much-loved teddies, some of which squeaked, and enjoyed the company of chameleons and shongololos.
Once Merridy could read, she didn’t stop. She's read all sorts of books: detective, adventure, fantasy; medieval and modern; books on astronomy and psychology and digestion; of poetry and about ornithology and ancient Egyptians and alien abduction and chocolate.
Growing up, her favourite animal books were Bambi and Lassie Come Home, and The Twenty-Seventh Annual African Hippopotamus Race. She loved all the books by Gerald Durrell and James Herriot. And then there was Watership Down. If you haven't read these books, start with Watership Down. But only after reading Pig Tails.
Merridy started writing her first book when she was eight: Froggy and Ratty Go Sailing. It was a cross between The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.
It took her another thirty-odd years to get the subject right (guinea pigs). And another seven years to get her first book published (Pig Tails). About time, Merridy.
Merridy’s helped a bunch of people with their own books, theses, websites and other serious stuff. She even edited a handbook on hideous dog illnesses. She prefers editing novels because she gets to read a story along the way.
But none of these books, theses or websites were about guinea pigs. And none were very silly.
You can see Merridy’s serious stuff at merridypugh.com. The silly stuff is right here.
Merridy's first drawings were of houses and her family. There were no guinea pigs.
Later she drew birds, flowers and fish. All wrong, Merridy! Wrong!
By the time she started drawing guinea pigs, Hazel was getting fed up. Now she does lots of guinea pig art: pen and ink, cartoons using InDesign on her trusty laptop, digital fingerpainting, photography, and real thumbprints. She's even made art with guinea pig pellets, but that's another story.
The Emperor Hazel One-Eye
Author • Machinator • Deity • Prime Mover
Hazel grew up in Tasmania, the small island at the bottom of Australia. He was discovered at the Hobart Guinea Pig Show, and the world hasn't been the same since.
Hazel is the first guinea pig to instigate an entire novel (as far as we know). He engaged the guinea pig mother, Merridy, to do the hard writing, while he did the hard work of prodding, poking and giving her nightmares about what would happen if she didn’t.
Hazel is still prodding and poking because his novel is the first of a trilogy and Merridy has to get on with the job.
As a very small guinea pig, Hazel developed the art of meaningful looks. Later, when he became a wounded emperor, he perfected his technique. He's still machinating the guinea pig mother into doing all sorts of things to make him rich and famous. (If you haven’t bought Pig Tails yet and a lot of Hazel-merchandise, watch out.)
Hazel started off as a tiny weeny cream boar. He looked as innocent as a new-born lamb, but rather smaller, and with short legs.
When his earthly job was done, Hazel went off to greener pastures and parallel universes where he figured there’d be endless supplies of wheek-bix and bran worms. He became the great Pig God in the sky, with a bad habit of manipulating the weather. You’ll read about that in Books 2 and 3 of The Guinea Pig Trilogy. And maybe Book 4.
Meanwhile, you’d better read Book 1, which is about Hazel’s early life, when he established his earthly kingdom on the southern island of Tasmania.
It’s all Hazel’s fault. He started the whole thing. The Guinea Pig Empire, The Guinea Pig Trilogy, and all the rest. All the humans and other guinea pigs have been inferior and useful (or sometimes useless) minions.