Episode 93: On Strong Female Leads, Human Rights & The Power of Perseverance with S.J. Garland (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 93: 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 S.J. Garland. You'll learn ...
Watch S.J. Garland's Interview on YouTube!
Or listen to the audio version.
About S.J. Garland
S.J. Garland is the pen name for Garland Symonds. Garland is a Canadian ex-pat whose work and personal life have enabled worldwide travel to the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and currently Singapore where she lives with her husband and family. Garland’s historical fiction themes are informed by her professional work and an undergraduate degree in History and a master’s degree in Human Rights.
S.J. Garland Interview Excerpt
Carly: You have placed horses and a woman stud farm owner at the center of your new book in Victorian times. Give us a summary of your book First Past the Post.
S.J.: Bring together a self-determined daughter of New York’s High Society, a Duke with a penchant for Thoroughbred racehorses and strong women, a violent horse racing syndicate that will stop at nothing to get what they want, with a story set in both New York and Great Britain in the time of Queen Victoria, and you have First Past The Post.
The story begins in New York with Eva McKenzie and her friend Lily at the horse auction in Sheepshead Bay. Eva meets a mysterious Duke who sets her instincts alight in warning. The Duke conversely finds that Eva is one of the most stubborn, infuriating, and attractive women he’s ever encountered.
After a fire breaks out and a horse-napping occurs, Eva trusts the Duke even less and suspects him of being complicit with a rumoured Trans-Atlantic horse racing syndicate. Eva and the Duke begrudgingly join forces and travel across the Atlantic Ocean only to find themselves in the crosshairs of the horse syndicate and two steps behind their every move.
This romantic adventure is set in the backdrop of Victorian England and its not-so-royal underbelly. Readers will follow the Duke of Wiltshire and Eva Chanler McKenzie across continents, through high society drawing rooms, down dark alleys, and you will find yourself cheering them on while they search for the truth about the horse syndicate and their budding feelings for one another.
Carly: I understand you want to normalize historic heroines instead of placing them on a pedestal or diminishing them. Talk to us about Eva McKenzie and the inspiration behind her.
SJ: I like women bad asses. They say things like it is. They're super direct. That's how I made Eva. Women trainers are in a sport that's dominated by men. They need to speak out in order to make themselves heard. I don't think that you can be a wilting flower.
Eva obviously is the only female horse trainer of her time because it's a historical romance. She basically has to make her own path. She needs to make herself heard or not heard. It is kind of her own decision, but I think that also translates over to our time. There's not a lot of female trainers in horse racing. It's super competitive. There's loads of money in it.
I used personalities of different horse women that I already know in my own life. It's funny because like most of the women that I know who are horse owners and the trainers that I know my life are total badasses. That's how I made Eva.
Connect with S.J. Garland
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About Your 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 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.
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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!
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