In this twentieth Equestrian Author Spotlight, I talk with fellow equine author and cowgirl, Carole T. Beers. Of course, we discuss the best topics on earth — writing, books and horses! Your spurs will jingle over Carole's advice for fellow authors, and you'll learn why she loves being an author and a horse owner. Happy reading!
About Author Carole Beers
Adventure and the West are in Carole T. Beers' blood! Born to descendants of Oregon Trail pioneers, Carole wrote her first stories at age 7 and bought her first horse at age 11.
After studying in England with The Experiment in International Living, Carole earned a degree in Journalism at the University of Washington. She went on to sell "true" confession stories to pulp magazines, teach writing at The Bush School in Seattle, and work as a journalist for 32 years at the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Seattle Times. Among the 7,000 newspaper stories she wrote are news, reviews and interviews, including conversations with everyone from John Wayne and The Lone Ranger (Clayton Moore) to Katharine Hepburn, Rudolph Nureyev and even The Queen!
Now living in Southern Oregon, and madly writing fiction (HER stories instead of others'), Carole spends free time and rounds up story ideas while riding her retired show horse, Brad.
Now that you've met Carole, let's gallop into the interview questions!
What is your involvement with horses?
I began riding at age 4, and writing three years later. As I was so crazy about horses – their grace, power and sensitivity combined with their ability to bring out such qualities in us, I naturally wrote horse stories. Many were inspired by old-time cowboy radio or TV shows, and also by classic books such as “The Black Stallion,” “My Friend Flicka” and “Smoky the Cowhorse.”
I acquired my first horse at age 11 and competed in timed events. I also rode trails. I segued into schooling my own horses for open shows, then working with trainers to show Paints and Quarter Horses, in all-around events. With my then-horse JZA Western Pine, I was the APHA 2012 National Amateur Walk-Trot Champion in Western Horsemanship and arena Trail, and Reserve National Champion in Western Pleasure.
Though now taking a break from showing, I ride my Paint gelding, Brad (Shiny Good Bar) on local trails, and in the arena as if I might go show next weekend!
How long have you been an author?
I wrote 7,000 non-fiction stories for newspapers such as The Seattle Times, in a career spanning nearly 40 years. I have been a published fiction author for two years! Unless one counts stories for romance magazines in the 1960s.
What is your favorite horse book (besides your own of course)?
“Smoky the Cowhorse” by Will James.
What is your favorite motivational quote?
“To write is human. To edit, divine.” – Steven King
How many horse-related books have you written?
“Saddle Tramps" and “Over the Edge” are published, "Ghost Ranch" is in revision for publishing this year, and a fourth book in the series is in the planning stage. Other books with horses, and different characters and settings, are in desk drawers!
What advice can you share that might help aspiring authors?
Write what you know about (classic advice), and write the kind of stories and books you would love to read. Make friends with your characters. Get to know them as well as family. Story ideas and twists will come from that.
Take note of compelling gossip you hear or news stories that pop up. Details of everyday living. You never know what you might use, when you begin to write, and your subconscious becomes a strong partner of your conscious, writing mind.
Then establish a somewhat daily schedule, even if you are just jotting notes, editing what you wrote before, or coming up with fresh plots, action, ideas. When stuck, write a love scene. It may not make it into your project, but it really gets the old creative juices flowing.
What is the best part about being an author?
Living in other people’s worlds, or worlds of your own creating. You can be anyone, go anywhere, achieve anything you want – especially if it involves overcoming serious challenges and putting out extraordinary effort. You get do-overs of situations or relationships. And, other people, real people, get to come live inside your world with you. As they read they hopefully become your friends, so everyone benefits. Plus you get to learn from them!
If this book is part of a series, would you share little about it?
“Saddle Tramps” is the first of a series of New West mysteries with heart, featuring cowgirl-sleuth Pepper Kane. In the first book she must learn who killed a prize show horse before the killer targets her. At the same time she must keep her and a friend’s tack store, The Best Little Horsehouse in Oregon, from going belly-up, show her own horse to qualify for a world show, and answer her heart’s question about her illusive lover, Lakota policeman Sonny Chief. Subsequent books including "Over the Edge" (2017) and "Ghost Ranch" (2018) will have Pepper solving different mysteries, thinking about opening a guest ranch, and deepening her involvement with her lover.
How did you get the idea for the cover of the book?
I saw a striking, mysterious silhouette photo of a horse-show rider standing head to head with her horse. So I hired a professional photographer, Jenny J Jaks Grimm, for an afternoon’s photo shoot. I brought several outfits for myself, and had her shoot my horse and me in many poses and settings including that head-to-head horse and rider profile against a hilly, Southern Oregon horizon. She used a dark gold-red filter to impart drama and a sense of danger. This was all okayed by my publisher, beforehand! Subsequent covers will feature the same subjects and tones, but of course in different poses and with other titles.
What was your inspiration for the leading woman in your book?
A woman author must not tell three things: Her age, how the book ends, or who inspired her characters. However, because I cannot sue myself, I must admit Pepper Kane and I share many of the same qualities.
P.S. On the first page, the country dancing scene, Pepper feels a shooting pain and pulls away from her partner, saying, “My shoulder hasn’t been the same since I fell off Bob.” This really happened to me, and I used it. To clarify: Bob was my horse, who’d bucked me off hard, cracking my tailbone, shoulder and ribs. Who did you think Bob was?
What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?
The books feature an active, older heroine with definite opinions and humor; they revolves around the western horse-show scene; and include a romance without letting romance take the reins. All books are set in Oregon's beautiful, historic Rogue River Valley. Plus they are written from the viewpoint of an experienced former newspaper reporter – such as myself!
What’s next? Future goals for your writing?
Several sequels to “Saddle Tramps” as well as more general horse-based novels. A deepening of craft and story. And eventual best-seller status. “Saddle Tramps” was the No. 1 best-selling trade paperback for a time last year at Seattle Mystery Bookshop!
Discover more about Author Carole T. Beers!
Blog: See Carole's website, under “Blog.”
Facebook: Profile name – Carole Beers
Facebook: Author Page name – Carole T. Beers, Author
Facebook: READING COUNTRY group, founding author
Amazon Author Page: Carole T. Beers
Goodreads: Carole T. Beers
What a spur jingling interview!
A BIG thank you to Carole T. Beers 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 are. 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, Carole! #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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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!