I started reading the Thoroughbred series in my early teens and can contribute this series by Joanna Campbell to developing my interest in racehorses and potentially working with them. The author of this popular teen series kindly took the time to answer some questions with regards to writing horses.
Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start writing and getting books published? Do you do anything else with horses that generates an income?
I’ve always been interested in horses, and tried to win a pony when I was under ten by sending in names for the pony. I didn’t win, but I didn’t give up after that. I still loved them. Even though my grandparents owned a small farm next door with a barn where my grandfather said I could keep a horse, my parents refused to get me one because they were afraid of the cost and that I would lose interest.
My novel writing begain with adult romantic time travel novels. I sold four of them and only turned to writing about horses to gain some quick money, since I was a single mother raising two children. I was quite amazed at how popular my young adult horse novels were.
I had to wait until I was in my early 20’s and married to buy a horse of my own for $100. He was a refugee from a bad stable, was skinny, lethargic and lice infested. My father fenced in a portion of our acre property for him, and I could still ride him in my grandparents’ fields next door. With my cousin’s help I taught that Quarter Horse and myself how to jump–in a Western saddle, no less.
I got pregnant with my second child and rode until I was six months pregnant, with no harm to me or my future son, but toward the end of my pregnancy, since I also had a toddler, I no longer had the energy to ride or care for my horse, and winter was approaching. I allowed my husband at the time to trade him to a good home in exchange for a motor bike for my husband. Stupid, in retrospect, but necessary.
Are you self published or did you go through a publisher?
I’ve only published with big houses, like Avon, Random House, Bantam and HarperCollins.
Do you think that whether your horse book is fiction or non fiction bears on how easy it is to get published?
I’ve only written fiction, so I have no idea how non-fiction could do.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing writing about their love of horses and turning it into an income?
Does a love of horses tie into any success as a writer? That is a hard one to answer. First you have to have an inborn talent for writing, which I do. I’ve been writing stories in my mind since I was a young teenager. You also have to have a command of the language, spelling and grammar. You also have to hear the music of the words as you write them. You can’t teach anyone to do this; they have to have it in their being.
“A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”