Episode 20: On Murder Mysteries, Thoroughbred Racing & Building Community with Sasscer Hill (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 20: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books then you are in the right place!
In this week's episode, you'll meet Award-Winning Equine Author Sasscer Hill. You'll learn ...
Watch Sasscer Hill's Interview on YouTube!
Or listen to the audio only version
About Author Sasscer Hill
Author Sasscer Hill was involved in horse racing as an amateur jockey and racehorse breeder for most of her life. She sets her novels against a background of big money, gambling, and horse racing.
Her mystery and suspense thrillers have won the Dr. Tony Ryan Best in Racing Literature Award for Flamingo Road and the Carrie McCray Award for The Dark Side of Town. Her books have also received multiple award nominations for Agatha, Macavity and Claymore Awards.
Sasscer Hill's newest novel is Travels of Quinn, a standalone mystery-thriller based on the con artists known as Irish American Travelers. The story features Gypsy Vanner horses, deceit, murder, greed and hope. Currently, Sasscer is writing Shooting Star, her fifth novel in the "Nikki Latrelle" mystery series.
Sasscer lives in Aiken, South Carolina horse country, with her husband, a dog, and a cat.
Sasscer Hill Interview Excerpt
Carly: You've been involved in the racehorse industry as an amateur Steeplechase jockey and through breeding and raising your own racehorses, so let's talk about why you decided to write your books and what led you to your author life.
Sasscer: I wrote a lot. Writing was always a my strong point throughout school. I loved writing creative writing. When I was older, I went to a writer's school and took courses in writing a mystery novel. I wrote my first book and it was nominated for an Agatha. It was amazing to be recognized for writing about what I had experienced as a racehorse owner. I learned so much about the good things and the bad things, so I could write a good mystery that everybody would say is authentic.
Sasscer: The first book I wrote was Full Mortality. I have a four book series that features the character Nikki Latrelle, who is a young female jockey and I'm writing the fifth right now.
My newest book is Travels of Quinn. It's about a young girl who's born into the community of Irish-American travelers. They're the Connors and scam artists. They're basically gypsies, so what could be better than including Gypsy Vanner Horses in the story.
The lead character is this gal who comes from an insular closed private community of the Irish-American travelers. They're taken out of school really young and locked into marriage contracts at very young ages. They have to marry and they stay inside of the clan. I thought that is a very interesting background and for her the Gypsy Vanners give her a new world in a place where she thinks maybe she can have a better life. It's been fun to write the story.
Carly: Your novel Flamingo Road won the $10,000 Dr. Toni Ryan Best in Racing Literature Award which is amazing! Tell us about the experience.
Sasscer: When I found out that I was one of three finalists for the award I thought oh my goodness! You know? Dick Francis's son was there, too, with his book Pulse I figured he would win. I mean he's a Francis! The last three contestants were given a thousand dollars for our flight and hotel. I was excited to go and to meet Felix Francis.
During the party in the evening, they got up on the stage and told a little bit about each book. It was just like the Academy Awards where the announcer has an envelope and doesn't know who the winner is. He opens the envelope, pulls out the card, he looks at it, and I'm like going Pulse, Pulse, Pulse. That was the name of Felix Francis's book and I was preparing myself for the disappointment, but he said Flamingo Road. I'm crying right now just remembering that moment. It was incredible!
Video: Watch Sasscer Hill win the Book Award!
TVG Star Caton Bredar discusses Flamingo Road and author Sasscer Hill.
Carly: You mentioned Dick Francis's son. Your writing has been compared with the late Dick Francis. All of his novels deal with crime and are based in the horse racing world. He wrote more than 40 international bestsellers. What a compliment to be compared with him. How does that make you feel?
Sasscer: It is great and made me feel really nice!
Carly: What a testament to your writing. You've won this award. You're being compared to a best-selling Thoroughbred racing writer who has since passed. You're continuing a legacy for people who love to read mysteries in this vein, which leads me to another question. You write about real-life situations in the horse industry and cover sensitive topics like drugging in the business. Do you ever get any pushback on writing about these sort of topics?
Sasscer: I've never had any problem at all. First of all, they really like it because I'm about the only person who's writing horse race mysteries that really knows about the industry and gets the facts right, but mostly it's because my love for Thoroughbred racing shines through in every page. I like to write mysteries where readers can expect to have their heroine or hero do well.
Carly: You're very involved in the in the business. You know your Thoroughbreds. You know racing. Do you do additional research when you're going to write your books or do you just you write what you know?
Sasscer: I write what I know, but I always use law enforcement. I have law enforcement contacts all over the country at this point to make sure I'm getting it right when I'm writing about crime and and court. In Travels of Quinn, I had seven law enforcement people that I interviewed. It couldn't be more perfect for me to pick their brains.
Carly: Is there anything that you wish you had known when you were just beginning your author career? Is there something that you wish you could go back and tell yourself?
Sasscer: Yes. I wish that I had realized that Sisters in Crime was not some elite group. I never joined because I thought that. I was wrong. Those kinds of groups are the most wonderful thing. They're so supportive. It's incredible. Those women are wonderful and Mystery Writers of America is good, too. You just have to put yourself out there, go to the conferences, and meet people.
Connect with Award-Winning Author Sasscer Hill
Watch Sasscer Hill's Book Trailer
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About Your Host & Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, Western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her — crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys!
In the Reins, the first in Carly's series of novels inspired by the equestrian lifestyle, has been an Amazon best seller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories. The In the Reins equestrian romance series is available now in Audiobook, Paperback and eBook on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and Kobo.
Books by Carly Kade
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!