Episode 75: On Celebrity Ghostwriting, Co-Authoring a Series & Trusting Stagnant Times with Rennie Dyball (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 75: 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 Rennie Dyball — author, celebrity ghostwriter, and editorial manager for The Plaid Horse. You'll learn ...
Watch Rennie Dyball's Interview on YouTube
Or listen to the audio only episode.
About Rennie Dyball
Rennie Dyball is an author, a celebrity ghostwriter, and editorial manager for The Plaid Horse. A lifelong horse lover, she began riding at age 12 and was captain of the IHSA Penn State Equestrian team. After a long hiatus from riding while building her career at People magazine in New York City, she was thrilled to return the show ring in 2015. Based in Towson, Maryland with her husband and two young daughters, she now shows in the pre-adult hunters.
Rennie Dyball Interview Excerpt
Carly: You are an experienced author, collaborator, and former 15-year staffer at People magazine. How did working for such a popular magazine prepare you for what you're doing now?
Rennie: People was the best training ground I could imagine. I think anybody who's written for the magazine would probably concur. I took away the importance of making every word count. I didn't have a lot of room to play with. I learned to make sure that every word packed a punch and there was no filler.
I also remember moving from being a fact checker to a writer, and I had this feature story about a celebrity. The editor called me into his office. I thought we'd go over the story and talk about how great it was. It was quite the opposite. He very respectfully and professionally took me paragraph by paragraph through the story and pointed out what didn't work and why. It was humbling. It was necessary and really helpful to have that standard to live up to. The writing had to be top-notch and nothing less was going to work. It was a very enlightening moment. I really enjoyed being held to a standard like that.
I learned to work fast and smart, so now if I only have an hour to write I make use of that hour. Instead of looking at it like I don't have a day to write, I look at it like I have an hour. I'm going to close the door. I'm going to close all the apps, and I'm going to get this done.
Carly: When you have a ghostwriting project you're writing in the voice of someone else. How do you prepare for a project like that?
Rennie:: It really depends on the client. I've had some who are great writers
themselves and I've been in more of what we call a "book doctor" role, but a writer is not necessarily an author. It's a certain skill set.
With other clients, they just want to talk, so I do hours of interviews, have them transcribed and then I take the transcripts and go from there. If it's a public figure, an actor, or someone who's done a lot of interviews, I just immerse myself in what they've done.
Carly: Talk to us about the Show Strides series. How did Piper and you come together on these books?
Rennie: Show Strides came about through horses, not surprisingly. I had just moved to the Baltimore area where I live now. I was newly out of People and starting my own business. My riding trainer suggested that I talk to Piper Klemm. I thought I would love to write blog posts for The Plaid Horse platforms, so I get on the phone with her and it turns out that she has this book series idea, wants to partner with somebody to do it, and would I be interested.
We met at the Devon Horse Show, walked the grounds, and talked about what we wanted the series to be. Piper has always described it as a an updated Saddle Club or a Saddle Club 2.0 with some twists and modern takes. We don't want to have a "mean girl" in the series. We don't want to vilify the "rich girl" at the barn. A big part of The Plaid Horse mission is kindness in this industry.
We started developing the characters and it took off pretty quickly. We brainstormed at Devon, and I had a first draft by Pony Finals. Book one through three happened fast. The intention is to to keep writing and keep adding to the series. There's so much more we want to represent. The books so far have been primarily hunter jumper based, but there's so many aspects to the horse world out there that I want to immerse myself in, learn about and then be able to represent in future books.
The main character actually starts out in the lesson program and taking her weekly lessons. Another big character has a pony of her own and they show on the A-circuit. We thought it was really important to represent both because there's tons of horse crazy kids out there who wait all week for their weekly riding lesson. That's how it starts and there's all different ways to get where we want to go.
Carly: What has been the most challenging part of being an author?
Rennie: I think there's a real skill in learning to trust the quiet periods when the ideas are not coming to you and you feel kind of stuck. In those periods where you feel stagnant, things are still very much happening in the background in your mind as a creative person. Even though the ideas are not right there at the surface, it doesn't mean that things aren't happening, so being able to relax into those down times a little bit, do other things with my time, and just trust that the ideas are going to come. It's hard to learn and it's not easy to be in those periods where you feel stuck, but it's always a big celebration when the idea comes back again.
Connect with Rennie Dyball
The Show Strides Horse Book Series
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Read Three Show Strides Samples!
Show Strides Book 1 Excerpt:
Show Strides Book 2 Excerpt:
Show Strides Book 3 Excerpt:
Listen to Piper Klemm's Interview on Show Strides
In this episode, you'll meet Dr. Piper Klemm. She is the Publisher of The Plaid Horse magazine, co-host of the weekly podcast, the Plaidcast, a frequent contributor to theplaidhorse.com, and co-author of the Show Strides book series.
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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.
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About Host and Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning 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 award-winning 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!