In this seventeenth Equestrian Author Spotlight, I talk with equine author Ann Hunter of the North Oak horse book series. Of course, we discuss the best topics on earth ... writing, books and horses! In the interview, you'll learn about her favorite horse movie(s). She couldn't just pick one! And I'm sure you'll agree it's a solid choice. Also, you'll love how her first story came to be published. Psst ... she was twelve!
About Ann Hunter, Equine Author
Multi-award winning author Ann Hunter is awesome. And hilarious. She is often told it must be a blast living in her brain. She argues that the voices in her head never shut up. The only way to get relief is to let them out on to the page.
She likes cherry soda with chocolate ice cream, is a mom first and a writer second, has a secret identity, and thinks the Twilight movies are cheesier than cheez whiz (which is why they are her guilty pleasure! And Oh my goodness, have you seen Vampires Suck? Bwahaha!) She lives in a cozy Utah home with her two awesome kids and epic husband.
Yeehaw! Now that you've met Ann, let's gallop into the interview questions!
What is your favorite horse memory?
When I was very young, my parents bred horses. I would run around with the herd on the Wasatch Front, barefoot and half naked. I learned most of my horsemanship at that very young age, by being chased, kicked at, nipped, and treated like any other naughty foal. I definitely believe in natural ways of communicating with horses!
What is your favorite horse book (besides your own of course)?
The original Thoroughbred Series by Joanna Campbell. I still have my first editions, which I recently started sharing with my 8-year-old daughter. I took a picture of her reading my original copy, and sent it to Joanna. It made her day.
What is your favorite horse movie?
I only get to pick one?! Gosh, it would have to come down between Black Stallion & Phar Lap. My characters regularly argue over which one to watch in my books. They just don’t do cinematography like this anymore. The best parts of those movies were silent, save for the music. Still a better love story than Twilight! ;)
How long have you been an author?
Would you believe I was first published at twelve? I had to write a story for English class, and my teacher flunked it because it wasn’t done the way she wanted it. I was super bummed. So much so that my reading teacher noticed, and asked what was wrong. I told him, and he asked to see the story. Well, that story made it to the librarian, then the 8th grade English teacher who was a bestselling romance writer, then to the principal, and finally to the newspaper. They published it, and it went on to win local awards.
Shortly thereafter I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life ;)
If this book is part of a series, would you share little about it?
Yes. North Oak is the young adult adventure of an orphan turned jockey. It’s a bit of a Cinderella tale, complete with romance, high stakes, adrenaline, and the bravery to cover the scarier issues teens face today.
The series was originally conceived in 1994. I was bored one summer day, and started writing a story. It was originally titled Mustang Ridge. The series has gone through many incarnations throughout the years, and when I realized who Alex was deep down inside, I knew that was the one I had to run with.
What do you think makes your book (or any book) stand out from the crowd?
I like to think it’s the Thoroughbred series meets Game of Thrones. North Oak is currently the only young adult horse racing series on the market (much like Thoroughbred was), and it features a bisexual heroine—you don’t see many of those in teen lit, a lot of them are secondary characters. Thoroughbred’s heir apparent, but with more grit.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
I’m hoping it touches the lives of, not just LGBT readers, but people from all walks of life. I want them to have a heroine they can look up to in the darkest of times. These latter days are tough enough to navigate already, so I want to be one of the people they can reach out to and trust in. And when they say, “You wrote this for me.” I will tell them, “I know.” Because the journey was mine as well as theirs.
What’s next? Future goals for your writing?
Like Thoroughbred, there’s going to be many North Oak books to come! I want to make it one of the best teen series out there. Books 6 & 7 are on the way! Also, I'm proud to share that Born to Run is currently being considered for an EQUUS Film Festival literary award in New York City this year.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Let me be the first to welcome anyone reading this to the North Oak family by providing them with the first book in the series! (Note: If you download it, you will be automatically added to my mailing list, but I’m hoping that’s okay, because we obviously love horses!)
Discover More About Ann Hunter's Horse Books!
Website: http://amzn.to/2kYcwQK (North Oak series page)
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/annhunter
What a spur jingling interview!
A BIG thank you to Ann Hunter for participating in my Equestrian Author Spotlight series. I really enjoy these interviews. I learn so much from other authors and appreciate how unique each of our writing journeys is. I love that all the authors featured in this series are linked through our creativity, passion for writing, and love of horses. I think it is so important to support each other. I appreciate the support of a fellow author. Thank you for giving me the gift of your time, Ann! #authorsunite
I LOVE HORSE BOOKS. If you are an author who writes about horses and would like to be spotlighted let me know. I’d be happy to include you, too. Sharing about fellow horse book authors makes my spurs jingle! Visit my contact page to fill out a request.
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Come run wild with me!
Here's a little recap of my Top 5 favorite moments (in no particular order because they were all AMAZING) from last year's EQUUS FIlm Festival in NYC! Click on the image below for the full blog post. Good luck to all of this year's literary entries!
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!