Episode 40: On Mentors, Screenwriting & Just One YES with Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 40: 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 Clip-Clop Chronicles Author Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova. You'll learn ...
Watch Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova's Interview!
Or listen to the audio only version.
About Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova
Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova is a Florida native who enjoys writing and
riding. She holds a BS from Florida A&M University, a screenwriting graduate certificate from UCLA and an MFA from the New York Film Academy. She currently splits her time between Florida and California where she works in entertainment and volunteers with an equine therapy program for veterans.
Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova Interview Excerpt
Carly: Tell us about the Clip-Clop Chronicles. You have two books now in the series.
Angelica: Clip-Clop follows a young chocolate rider. Her name is Roz and she's navigating her life in this equestrian world. She has a really big family and none of them are into horses. Everybody competes in track and field and she's kind of like the oddball out. She's navigating her family, her passion for horses, and adolescence. She has a nemesis already at the age of 12 that makes it hard to for her to be a good person, but she tries her best. Throughout those things, we see her compete. We see her make good choices, make bad choices, and just live the life of a horse girl.
Her family actually doesn't believe that riding horses is a sport. They also don't believe it's something that black people do, so Roz is on a mission to change that perception.
Carly: Your main character is 12 years old. Where did this story come from? How did it pop into your mind?
Angelica: I was speaking with one of my old mentors within the entertainment community. She's also an author and a director. One day she told me that another way to break in the door is to write a book and build a following, and then you can leverage that in the entertainment business and whatever else you want to do.
I never thought about writing a book. It seemed like a lot of work and it's much longer than a script. I told my mentor that I'm a reader, I don't know that I'm an author. She was like you could buy your first house with it, I was like I could buy a bunch of horses. She asked if I ride horses and I said yes. She said I should write about all of my horse adventures and make it about a group of little black girls that ride horses.
I tell her that I don't know what that feels like because growing up I was the
only chocolate child riding horses and she was like that's your story right there.
Carly: You hold a screenwriting graduate certificate from UCLA and a MFA from the New York Film Academy. You currently split your time between Florida and California where you work in the entertainment industry. Is there a screenplay for the Clip-Clop books in the works?
Angelica: There's already a screenplay written for the first book. It's being shopped around. One of my former managers thinks I should do it as a series, so I'm currently trying to write it also as a series and maybe just do the pilot. We'll see what happens with it.
Carly: What advice would you recommend to an author that aspires to see their book become a screenplay for either TV or film?
Angelica: If you want to write the screenplay or if you just want to sell your book, that's two different things. If you want to have more control over it, I would say learn how to write a screenplay. It's not that hard. You don't have to go to school. I mean read some books and educate yourself, but the best way to learn to write a screenplay is to read screenplays.
(Psst ... Angelica goes into a deeper dive on screenwriting in the podcast interview.)
Carly: You volunteer with an equine therapy program for veterans. Tell us about the program and the volunteer work that you do.
Angelica: It's a very interesting program. The program is actually not just for veterans. It started out as a program for children and adults with intellectual
and physical disabilities, and then the owner also decided that they could reach out to veterans as well as people working on sobriety.
I've grown up volunteering. It's a part of my culture to help the community and be a blessing to others, so of course I will go volunteer with horses. Horses are spiritual and healing. As volunteers, we just help them with the horses. Most of them are able-bodied so they can get their own horse, groom their horse, tacking them, get on and ride. We're just there to help them. The horses do all the work really.
When the participants bond with these horses or when they get up on top of them, especially the ones that have physical disabilities or PTSD, you can just see the joy on their faces. To be able to see that is really, really neat and I'm blessed to be able to have the opportunity to give back through horses.
Connect with Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova
Books by Angelica Witherspoon-Cassanova
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Thank you for joining us this week on the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast I hope you enjoy these Q&A sessions with wonderful equine authors who love all things horses and writing just like me.
If you are an author who writes about horses and would like to be spotlighted please let me know. Visit my contact page to fill out a request. I'd be happy to have you on the show, too.
About Your Host Carly Kade
Carly Kade is a creativity coach, award-winning independent author, horse owner, and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast. She helps fellow equine authors build, grow, and expand their author careers. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
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 book series was written with horse lovers in mind, no matter which discipline they ride, and the horses are as vital to moving the story forward as the human characters are. The books are perfect for poolside reading or taking to the beach.
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!