“Backyard Horse Tales” was a healing process for me. Sox story was the first of the tales, and was published in 2011. It was well received by horse lovers of all ages, but it wasn’t what I had envisioned. For the rewrite of Sox story I sought out a freelance editor. I connected with an editor that had very little knowledge of horses. He pointed out places that needed more explanation for a non-horseperson.
The fictional Sox of Backyard Horse Tales owns the personality and traits of my reining horse Two Scooten Sox. I lost this exceptional horse in 2009 to a twisted intestine. But he lives on in the book that he inspired.
Writing for children and young adults today is more of a challenge than it was ten or twenty years ago. There is so much competition for their attention: video games, TV, the Internet and more. An author has to engage the young readers immediately and then try to hold that attention through out the book.
My approach to Sox tale is to encourage children with handicaps or learning disabilities to see that they are not alone. Letting Sox tell his own story adds to the humor and fast pace of the book.
It is a constant surprise to me that although Sox story was written for middle school readers the book has crossed over to the adult market. At a book-signing event to kick off the second edition, in March of 2012, adults purchased most of the books. I signed books for several readers in their golden years. Parents read the book to their children who are not yet old enough to read. An eight year old with good reading skills can enjoy this tale by reading it on their own.
Every aspiring author has heard “write what you know” and that is what I have done with these tales. Drawing from my life as a trainer, 4-H and youth coach, instructor, and horse show judge has allowed me to develop Sox little friend Emma. It is amazing to see what working with and riding a horse can do for a child’s confidence. The horse I chose for the second in the series was a favorite of the handicapped children in the “Project Ride” initiative in our county in the 1980’s. Frosty was in his twenties then and was one of the few horses that a child with double leg braces could ride. He just seemed to know that these children needed special care. It was such a joy to see the riders faces light up when they were being lead around on that magnificent horse.
The second in the series “Frosty and the Nightstalker” is more of a historical tale with a paranormal twist. In some ways it is more of a challenge than the first book. The writing challenge on this one is weaving historical fact into an entertaining story for my young readers. Frosty’s tale is previewed at the end of “Backyard Horse Tales / Sox 2nd Edition,” and is slated for release late fall of 2012.
Book web site: www.backyardhorsetales.com