Bill Boggs, who divides his time between the Hamptons and...

Bill Boggs, who divides his time between the Hamptons and Manhattan, has written the comic novel "The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog." Credit: Jane Rothchild

Bill Boggs really does believe that a dog is man's best friend. Back in the early '70s, before he began his run from 1975 to 1986 as host of "Midday Live" on WNEW/5 in New York City, he was starting his career in High Point, North Carolina where he lived with an English bull terrier named Spike.

"The dog was very funny," said Boggs, who divides his time between his main residence in East Hampton and Palm Beach, Florida. "He was like Jerry Lewis in a dog suit. English bull terriers are pretty much known as the court jesters of the canine world."

Sadly, Spike was hit by a car just before Boggs moved to New York. But the venerable talk-show host never forgot his beloved pet, and has now immortalized him in the satirical novel "The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog" (Post Hill Press, $25). In the irreverent book, Boggs imagines Spike coming to the Big Apple where he becomes a major success as a talk-show host and a social-media sensation. His comic "Adventures" also include transcendental meditation, appearing on Jimmy Fallon's show and getting involved with an international dogfighting ring.

Boggs, who is now in his 70s, talked about the real Spike and the fictional Spike by phone from Palm Beach.

You knew Spike back in the '70s, so what made you decide to set the novel in the present?

The book is a satire on human foibles and authenticity. It's a satire on the media we have today, on the Kardashian culture we live in. There’s so much going on today, it would have been hard to go back to 1975 and write a relevant satire.

How long did it take you to write the book?

The whole process was two and a half years. The first draft took a solid year and a half. I never rushed. When I sat down to begin the next day, I’d go over what I wrote and tighten it up.

Another thing I did, which is what I've done with my stand-up comedy as well, is that I took the first draft of the manuscript and went to eight friends of mine. These were people I could trust. I asked them to please read my manuscript and tell me exactly what you think of it, I’m not looking for praise. … All eight people said that it was laugh-out-loud funny. That increased my confidence that I had something that would be marketable as a satire.

I love the illustrations in the book. Why did you decide to include them?

My son, Trevor, was one of the eight people who read the book. He said, "Dad you have to have illustrations." I asked why and he said, "I can’t explain it, but it’s an extremely visual book and illustrations will really help."

I went to the publisher and I said I’d pay for them. The publisher said what are they going to add? I trusted my son’s opinion so much that I fought for the idea. They said OK. Then I had to find an illustrator and that took a while. At first, I couldn't get anyone to take the job. I even went on Facebook and someone suggested an art school in New Jersey and I wrote to the school. The dean said he'd post something. … Finally a young man named Jacob Below got in touch with me and he was so eager to do it. … Then I had to reread the book to see where I wanted them to go.

If the real Spike were to see the book, what might his reaction be, other than  "woof"?

He would chew on it. I bought a '68 [Mercury] Park Lane convertible, which I still own, and the steering wheel on that car still has teeth marks in it from Spike.

You've lived in the Hamptons for a long time. What is it about the area that attracted you?

There is no one walking around who loves the Hamptons more than I do. It’s not the celebrities, it’s because of the amazing beauty of the area. … The physical beauty of these giant trees, the drive in the town, the swans on the lake, farmland next to the beach, it's just gorgeous. I love the vibe, the people, the art galleries, Guild Hall, the library. It's all good.

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