Episode 64: On Editing, Channeling Jane Austen & Why Writing is Ageless with Sallianne Hines (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 64: 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 Sallianne Hines. She's a Jane Austen fan and the author of the Pride and Prejudice sequel, Her Summer at Pemberley. You'll learn ...
Watch Sallianne Hines' Interview on YouTube!
Or listen to the audio only episode.
About Sallianne Hines
Sallianne Hines is a great fan of all things Austen. Her Summer at Pemberley is her debut novel. Two more books are in progress in this “Mothers, Sisters, Friends” group of Austen sequels.
Sallianne's second novel. Love & Stones is a contemporary story about a seasoned heroine (& horsewoman) who leans on Austen’s wisdom as she navigates the “rocky road of love” and second chances in her small prairie town.
Sallianne is a lifelong horsewoman, mother of three, grandmother of eight, and shares her home with a boss cat and two dogs (who give way to said cat). They all live in a little house on the prairie. Really.
Sallianne Hines Interview Excerpt
Carly: Tell us how your love affair with horses began.
Sallianne: This began young, with Annie Oakley and Dale Evans on TV, when it was black and white and we only got one channel and my “horse” was the padded arm of our big rocking chair. But it really bloomed with the TV series National Velvet.
No one in my family understood where I got my “horse blood,” but I learned my paternal Irish grandpa would “break” horses in his younger days living in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
I rented horses to ride whenever I could and learned how to jump riding double with a friend in a Western saddle. He had rescued his mare from the kill truck for $50. That mare won open jumping at the fair, beating out all the fancy expensive horses. She had the biggest heart and would do anything for him. I mostly ride hunt seat with a helmet, in the land of rodeo with no helmets. I also ride Western on the trail.
I got my first horse by winning $100 on a grocery store “horse race” promo on TV. I bought Jonathon for $125 and a grazing bridle for $10. Pasture board was $12/month. I didn’t even own a saddle. His story is included in Love & Stones.
Carly: What led you to the author life? Why do you write?
Sallianne: I enjoy the whole process of creating and writing. Retirement definitely enabled me to make the jump from nonfiction articles to tackling a project as large as a novel. I had never written fiction before and it was an amazing adventure.
I decided to write the book(s) I wanted to read. I wanted more Austen, more horseback adventures like in McLeod’s Daughters, and for the first book I wanted a different ending to a horseback encounter, which is in Love & Stones. I do enjoy running my own business and combining my love of writing, design, and horses.
Carly: Tell us about your debut novel Her Summer at Pemberley, and where the inspiration for writing it came from.
Sallianne: Her Summer at Pemberley grew out of my wish to know more about Kitty. I felt there was more to her than just being Lydia’s shadow, and that Kitty had a story to tell. And there aren’t many stories about her.
I’m also intrigued by the whole notion of riding sidesaddle and how it paralleled the social restrictions on women at that time.
I am a “pantser” meaning I write by the seat of my pants. I don’t outline or plot ahead. My stories are character-driven and all I can say is that my characters just come to me and sometimes are quite bossy about the direction of their plot! I wrote the first draft of this novel during NaNoWriMo.
Carly: Your book description says, “This Pride and Prejudice sequel is a Regency coming-of-age adventure/clean romance that includes some of literature's most beloved characters, along with a new cast of friends, young and old.” How did you so skillfully channel Jane Austen as you wrote this book?
Sallianne: Thank you. Many of my reviewers comment on how “authentic” my writing feels to that era and to Austen. I think that comes of immersing myself in that world, by written word and in film. A lot!
And of course Austen herself is so inspiring! I discovered Austen later in life with the 1995 P&P film. I was besotted and wanted more so I read everything Austen and then discovered fan fiction. I’ve read tons of it. Some is excellent. Some is not.
Personally, I prefer prequels and sequels over “variations”. I guess I don’t like messing with Austen’s canon of characters, but I do want the stories to go on.
I researched in detail. I have visited southern England but we didn’t get up to Derbyshire. However, I have a friend I met in one of the Austen Facebook groups (there are more than 70!) who lives in northern England and is very familiar with Derbyshire.
Allie Cresswell and I beta read for each other—she writes some Austen things as well. She checked my accuracy of the area and weather in the novel, and she is very well informed about Austenalia—plus she advises me on British terms. I advise her on all things horses for her novels, and on American idioms, so it’s a great trade for both of us. We’ve never met in person. Yet.
Carly: Were there any challenges you had to face while writing it?
Sallianne: For this Regency book I wanted to be sure I got the details right. Regency readers are sticklers for the details and many read voraciously and are true experts. I hate it when a wrong detail pulls me out of a story (especially a wrong horse/riding detail) and I took pains to avoid that for my readers. I also wanted other horse riders to believe that Kitty really was a horsewoman.
Carly: The story is told from the point of view of Kitty Bennet. Talk to us about her and how you developed the character.
Sallianne: I felt Kitty had a story to tell and that there was a lot more to her than what we read or saw. Since Jane and Lizzy had each other, Kitty’s only choice was Mary or Lydia. I don’t think her heart was with either of them really, she was different from the others although I felt she was most like Lizzy, who also enjoyed nature and long walks. Kitty’s father wasn’t very nice to her and her mother ignored her so it’s no surprise she was “missish” for a time. A new setting, visiting at Pemberley, gave her a chance to become her authentic self.
Carly: Talk to us about how the horses support the storyline.
Sallianne: Including the horses was vital to Kitty’s character as she learned about herself and truly came into her own because we learn so much from our horses. She is an independent and determined rider and must learn to believe in herself in other ways like she believes in her ability to ride.
I think most of us agree we would not be who we are without the horses who’ve played a role in our lives. It is a path to our authentic self and to our ultimate happiness. And of course there’s lots of adventures to be had on horseback. Even into Windsor forest, a royal connection, and her mentor in Lady Drake who, because of her social status, could even ride with the hounds.
Carly: Is there a message in your book that you hope rings true?
Sallianne: A message that might be taken from the story is to believe in your authentic self, even if you are different than others. Your difference can be your strength. We are all important in our own unique ways. And I think the physical relationship we have with our horses is very empowering—mind and body and soul.
Carly: Talk to us about the cover design and what inspired it.
Sallianne: I wanted the cover to convey the reality of women at that time – so many social restrictions and riding sidesaddle and wearing lace, but I showed only partial lace because that’s only one aspect of a woman, then or now. The figure, although riding sidesaddle, is riding boldly.
I also wanted a design that will carry through to the other books I have planned in this grouping (Austenesque mothers, sisters, and friends) so I could just change the background color, the figure, and the color of the type for each book.
I am currently writing MRS. Dashwood’s story, which is really fun. I designed the cover (being a trained graphic designer) but had designer Rachael Ritchey “digitize” it and get it all ready to upload. All the tools have changed since I did graphic design!
I also wanted a cover that would convey the genre but without what I think are the silly modern people posed in costume, they just never look right to me. There were wonderful old paintings I liked, but usage of those is very restricted and very expensive so I took this path. I hope my readers like it.
Carly: How do you reach your readers?
Sallianne: So far I have reached my readers through Austen blogs, Facebook groups, and such. That is my specific audience and they are all there. One group I’m in, the Jane Austen Fan Club run by Samuel Keele in Utah, has over 30K members worldwide and they also hold a “Meryton Marketplace” the first Saturday of each month where all manner of Austen items can be listed for sale.
I have, as a horsewoman, been a long-time follower of Saddle Seeks Horse, and approached Susan Friedland since I knew she did some book reviews too. She wrote a wonderful review (since she also loves Pride & Prejudice), which led me to you and this podcast! So my readership has grown organically, which I find very satisfying.
I am hoping to bring my readers along on my contemporary novel Love & Stones, which is full of Austen references and wisdom for Cathryn McNeil, a seasoned heroine and horsewoman. When I wrote it, I was thinking I wanted something that combined my beloved Austen with modern life and horseback adventure, much like one of my favorite shows ever, McLeod’s Daughters.
Carly: What is the hardest part about being an author?
Sallianne: Finding and keeping a balance in work and in life. In work, you can’t do only the creative stuff and ignore the details and admin. I’d love to hire a virtual assistant to do some of that, maybe someday it will be within my budget. I also find myself working a lot, and since I live alone no one else makes demands on my time, but if I don’t keep a balance I get burned out.
Carly: What is the best part about being an author?
Sallianne: I love creating a world and creating characters with depth who are interesting and unique. I love being immersed in their world. I love the original creative high of writing a first draft, yet I also enjoy the revision process of “polishing” the work.
Carly: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Sallianne: Write a lot, read a lot, and FINISH your projects. If you are going indie, take the time to save up and get proper editing done, as well as proper covers. I am always surprised to talk with authors who don’t read. It’s like being a chef who doesn’t eat.
Find a good writer’s group to join. Learn to separate your “self” from your work so you can accept objective feedback. Lots of groups are meeting online now and are welcoming others. Get into some online groups like Facebook groups as well.
And perhaps budget to join an association like the Alliance of Independent Authors. They are so supportive and a well of professional inspiration about writing and publishing. The writing community really is supportive of each other. I’ve met some wonderful people there.
Connect with Sallianne Hines
Facebook.com/authorshineswrites & Facebook.com/quinnediting
Books by Sallianne Hines
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About Podcast Host Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning independent author, horse owner, creativity coach, and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast. She helps fellow writers start, grow, and expand their author careers. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Carly's In the Reins equestrian romance book series was written with horse lovers in mind, no matter which discipline they ride. The horses are as vital to moving the story forward as the human characters are.
These books are perfect for poolside reading, taking to the beach, or settling down with after a day of horseback riding.
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!