Horse books make my spurs jingle! Before I am a writer, I am a reader. I owe my favorite authors a great deal. They make me feel. My favorite authors speak to a place that engages me and fills me up no matter where I am in life, happy, sad, mad, overwhelmed, they write to the place that heals me when I am cuddled up and lost in a good book! So in order to give back (or pay it forward), I’ve decided to host an equestrian author spotlight series on my blog!
In this second spotlight edition, I talk about writing and horse life with Laurie Berglie, author of Where the Bluegrass Grows. I've had so much fun partnering with Laurie and am proud to call her a friend too! In her interview, Laurie offers some great (AND HONEST) insight for writers including that she can't write all day because she gets too distracted by her love for her animals! Plus, you'll learn what her dream horse would be like! Enjoy reading about this very special fellow equestrian and author. I just love Laurie's spirit!
A little about Laurie Berglie ...
What is your favorite horse memory?
I inherited my love of horses from my mom. She always rode, had horses, and still continues to ride to this day. As a little girl, I used to love sitting in front of her as she rode her Paint horse, Pepper. After the ride, she’d put her western saddle on the ground, and I’d sit on it and pretend I was galloping through the open fields. Even though I ride English, I still have that old western saddle hanging proudly in my tack room.
What would your dream horse be like?
A lanky, leggy Thoroughbred that moves effortlessly – basically, American Pharoah! Although I am very partial to dappled greys.
What is your involvement with horses?
I have a small fixer upper farm where I keep my two Thoroughbreds and my first pony, who is now 35 years old! I love having “my kids” in my backyard. I’m also a huge horse racing fanatic and advocate for OTTB adoption and placement.
Why did you choose to write horse books?
They are my favorite books to read, and since horses are what I know best, it seemed like a perfect fit.
How long have you been an author?
Since March of 2016
Do you prefer eBooks or physical copies? Why?
I like both, but if I had to pick, I’d say I am old school and still prefer physically holding a book in my hands. I do like eBooks, however, because I can purchase them much cheaper.
What is your favorite horse book (besides your own of course)?
Hmm, this is a tough one! I’d say my favorite horse book of all time is Star of Shadowbrook Farm, by Joanna Campbell (author of the Thoroughbred series). It’s for pre-teens, and I read it over and over as a child. You should see how tattered my poor copy is at this point! I also love C.W. Anderson’s Billy and Blaze series, (again, more favorites from childhood). My favorites for adults are Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards and Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand.
What is your favorite horse movie?
Disney’s “The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit,” (again, childhood theme here)! I also love “Seabiscuit” and “Dreamer.”
What is your favorite motivational quote?
“Not all those who wander are lost.” Aren’t all authors wanderers, (at least in their minds)?
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time before you published your first book?
Hurry up, Laurie! I worked on this book on and off for 5-6 years. I don’t know what took me so long!
How many horse-related books have you written?
Just one, Where the Bluegrass Grows. I am currently working on book 2 of the series, which is untitled at the moment.
Do you write full time or part time?
Both. I work full-time in Marketing and Communications for a staffing company, so I spend the vast majority of my day writing. But then I write part-time for me, for fun. I have a blog, Maryland Equestrian, (www.themarylandequestrian.com), write for Horse & Style Magazine, and work on my books.
What book are you currently reading?
What advice can you share that might help aspiring authors?
Do whatever works for you. If you need to make an outline before you write, do it. If you prefer to sit down and just wing it, that’s fine too! There is no right or wrong way to write.
When or where do you get the most writing done?
I do my best writing in the late afternoon to early evening at home. I like to sit in my home office, or at my dining room table if I need a change of scenery, and just put my head down and write for a few hours. I’m not someone who can write for an entire day – I get too distracted by my animals!
Which do you prefer to self-publish or traditional publishing?
I’ve only self-published, but I’m sure there are benefits to both. But I like having complete control over my work.
Why do you write?
Quite simply, I just enjoy it. It relaxes me.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I don’t have a special time although I tend to write in the afternoon/evening. But if I ever become a full-time author, I think I’d like to get up early and write.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
For Where the Bluegrass Grows, I just went at it. As I was writing, I had no idea where the story was going to take me or how it was going to end – and that worked fine for me. With the current book I’m writing, I made a very basic outline, so I do have a little structure to follow. That’s working too, but I always think a part of me will just wing it, so to speak.
How do you market your books?
Mainly through my blog and Instagram (@marylandequestrian).
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
No – I’d actually like some advice since I think I’m doing a terrible job on my own, lol!
What do you do to get book reviews?
I beg my friends/readers for them!
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
It bothers me when people write bad reviews (in general – not necessarily for my work). I feel like a “bad review” should just be “no review.” Even if I truly hated a piece of work, I would never bash someone in a public forum. I follow the golden rule of, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
What is the hardest part about being an author?
I am my own worst critic. I could still pick up Where the Bluegrass Grows today and make multiple edits/changes, etc., so the editing phase never really stops for me. But at some point, you just have to let it go!
What is the best part about being an author?
Connecting with my readers/other authors!
Now, let's talk about Laurie's book ...
If this book is part of a series, would you share little about it?
Where the Bluegrass Grows is the first book in what will most likely be a three-part series. The main character in this one is Molly Sorrenson, but the main character in my next one is Macy Holland, who is a supporting character in the first. I believe Erin (another supporting character in Where the Bluegrass Grows) will get her own book, but it will probably stop there, although Cassidy is scheduled to appear in one of my upcoming short stories.
How did you get the idea for the cover of the book?
Before I bought my farm, I boarded for years with a family friend on her 55 acre farm. The cover image is a field in one of her lower pastures – my favorite pasture to ride in. My husband is a photographer, so he took that picture, and I love it. All I wanted was a nice country scene.
What was your inspiration for the horse(s) in your book?
My own and my mom’s/sister’s horses! I also used a bunch of their names: Traveller, Dolly, Patriot, etc.
What was your inspiration for the lead characters in your book?
Molly is the quintessential good girl, and Beau is just every girl’s dream – a handsome, rugged horse vet! Macy is silly and the kind of girl you really do want as a best friend.
If your book was made into a movie, who would play your characters?
I could see Jake Gyllenhaal as Beau. For Molly, I’m not sure. Someone stunningly pretty, but sweet – maybe Blake Lively.
How did you research your novel?
I live in Maryland, so the Maryland scenes are very local to me. As for Kentucky, I’ve been to Lexington multiple times, so I just drew on my experiences there. I have a family friend who’s a horse vet, so I leaned on her for some of the technical/medical aspects.
What do you think makes your book (or any book) stand out from the crowd?
It’s just a really sweet, feel-good kind of story. And the places in both Maryland and Kentucky (restaurants, shops, etc.), most of them are real, so my book could double as a visitor’s guide!
What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
I liked all the chapters where Molly reminisces and we learn more about her background.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
That it’s okay to go out on a limb and take chances. Visit a friend for the summer. Get a new horse. And sometimes it’s okay to put yourself and your happiness first.
What’s next? Future goals for your writing?
I’m working on book 2 of the Where the Bluegrass Grows series. It takes place completely in Maryland though, so no bluegrass, unfortunately! Macy is the main character for this one, and while she’s still sweet, silly Macy, we’re going to see a different side of her in this book. I’m also working on a short story collection. It will contain four stories, all horsey, of course, but that one is untitled as well.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I want to thank equestrian author Natalie Keller Reinert. She’s been a good friend to me over the years by answering my million writing/blogging/publishing questions! We finally got a chance to meet in person recently at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, (she lives in Florida), so that was such a treat!
Want to discover more about Laurie Berglie's work?
Find Laurie Berglie Online
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Berglie/e/B01DTOSJ24/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Wasn't that fun?
Many thanks to equestrian author, Laurie Berglie, for this amazing interview! I certainly learned something new on writing and so appreciate the support of a fellow author! Thank you for giving me the gift of your time, Laurie! #authorsunite
If you are an author that writes about horses and would like to be spotlighted let me know. I’d be happy to include you too. Helping out fellow horse book authors makes my spurs jingle! Visit my contact page to fill out a request!
Miss the series debut? No problem just click the hyperlink below!
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Books by Carly Kade