In this 39th Equestrian Author Spotlight, I talk with fellow equine author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. Of course, we discuss the best topics on earth — writing, books and horses! In the interview, horse book lovers will learn what inspired her to write horse books and glean some fabulous advice from one author to another. She says, "If writing is your passion, pursue it, no matter what others say." I couldn't agree more. Happy reading!
About Equine Author Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is a Mom’s Choice Gold medal -winning children’s author with six books published: My Life at Sweetbrier–A Life Changed by Horses, Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, and Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog. All of her fictional books are beautifully illustrated by her sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj who also designed the covers for the fictional books.
Deanie believes the message that perseverance is the key to accomplishing amazing things is one that can benefit every child. Through her inspiring, real life and fictional works, children will learn that anything is possible if they refuse to give up on their dreams. We can attain much more than we ever imagine by never quitting. Children will be reminded that tenacity is the key to success. They will see proof that obstacles can be overcome and that quitting only guarantees failure.
Deanie wants to be a positive influence to children. She loves to write entertaining stories that emphasize important values such as; never giving up, setting goals, and working together to realize great things. Her goal is to write books that build self-esteem and confidence in children. She works tirelessly to write books that would appeal to children and also teach them valuable lessons, presented in an engaging manner.
Deanie is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has been featured on several author websites including TheAuthorsShow.com, and blogtalkradio.com with authors JD Holiday and Annette Rochelle Aben. She has been honored with numerous blogging awards and nominations.
Aside from writing children’s books, Deanie enjoys reading, reviewing books for other authors, music and singing. In addition, she likes watching equestrian competitions, figure skating and baseball.
Nice to meet you, Deanie! Now let's gallop into the interview.
What is your favorite horse memory?
It’s a challenge to choose only one, but I think it was my first blue ribbon with my incredible horse, Fleet Nancy. We entered a local show at the hunt club and I was so nervous my legs shook. When we finished the course, I asked my sister if we did all right. She thought we did, but I was astounded to hear my number called first!
What would your dream horse be like?
Many people can’t say they’ve owned their dream horse, but I can. Her name was Fleet Nancy, but her nickname was Peach. Are you wondering how she got that name? One day my sister, Holly stood behind Fleet Nancy. Holly said, “She has nice round jumping muscles like a peach.” That name stuck because it seemed to fit.
Peach was incredible not only because of her jumping ability, but also her style and disposition. In fact, my dad traveled across the country searching for precisely the right horse. She was beautiful as well, but one thing that set her apart from our competition was Peach loved jumping. When other horses were dragging around the course after several events, she’d be starting to settle down. She loved jumping because it was fun.
What is your involvement with horses?
My parents owned a riding school in Connecticut called Sweetbrier. I loved horses, and I wanted to ride well. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be an issue, but I was premature so when I wasn’t walking at nearly four-years-old, my dad took me to a specialist.
The doctor said I’d never walk. My dad was infuriated. After telling the doctor what he thought of that idea, Daddy picked me up and stormed out. He said, “Don’t pay any attention to what the doctor said. I’m going to teach you to ride and you’ll be fine.”
I taught riding for my parents at Sweetbrier and realized big dreams, against the odds. The journey was magical and I credit my dad for the decision he made that changed my life.
Why did you choose to write horse books?
During my childhood, my parents encouraged me to write stories for children. At the time, I thought that was the silliest idea ever. But one day I had a strong intuition to write about growing up at Sweetbrier. Naturally, I felt apprehensive. What if I failed? But my dad always said, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
With that in mind, I began writing my first book, Tails of Sweetbrier in 2009 because I wanted to inspire children to reach for their dreams. My goal is to help children feel comfortable facing challenges. I hope they are not fearful of things that may seem impossible because you’d be astounded by what perseverance can do. Unfortunately, I think many children miss this message.
What advice can you share that might help aspiring authors?
If writing is your passion, pursue it, no matter what others say. Surround yourself with those who support your goal and will soothe you when you’re having a bad day. If you can take a writing course, it would likely help you grasp the basics. Also, read books in your genre to see how other authors write. If you decide to become an author, join with beta readers. You’ll gain experience editing and you’ll share knowledge with your team.
Tell us about your horse book series.
I have a series of children’s books about Charlene the Star, a beautiful chestnut horse and her animal friends. The animal characters talk among themselves. Charlene comes from a racing family so everyone assumes she will follow suit, but she has other ideas. She tries racing, at the urging of her mama, but she finds it boring. Charlene decides to show her trainers her distaste for racing by doing crow hops. They were her version of tantrums. Ultimately, she finds her talent and excels.
The next book in the series is Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes. This time, readers meet Hattie the chicken. She’s adorable and she loves wearing colorful bonnets. 😊 The animal characters want something to occupy their spare time so they started their own coaching business to help horses with training problems. You’ll also meet Wooliam the sheep, who realizes his dream in the story.
The last book in the series is Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog. When readers first meet Bentley bulldog they’ll see he’s obnoxious. For example, when he meets Hattie for the first time he says; “It’s silly seeing a chicken wearing a bonnet .. Chickens can’t do anything. Have you ever heard of anyone talking about a chicken’s outstanding skills? No! Nobody even mentions them unless they’re on the dinner menu.” Fortunately, Bentley’s friends help show him the error of his ways.
Any amusing story about writing your horse books?
My sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, drew the endearing covers of all of my fictional books. We have such fun together. When we created Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, we had to figure out how Elliott the dog, and Hattie could write the schedule for the horses’ workouts. Hattie’s so small, how could she reach the blackboard? How could Hattie help and what would we call her writing? We solved the issues by calling Hattie’s writing, “beakmanship” because she wrote with her beak. Elliott sat on a chair, while Hattie stood on his head. 😊 It worked perfectly.
How did you get the cover ideas for the books?
Holly drew covers showing some of the main characters of each story. For example, Charlie the Horse has a drawing of baby Charlie and his mom on the cover. For Charlene the Star, Charlene is looking out her stall door and Elliott’s sitting, gazing up at her. By the way, Elliott was our family dog. The cover of Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes displays Charlene, Hattie, Elliott and Wooliam. And Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog, shows Charlene, Hattie and Bentley on the cover. We felt each cover would give readers an idea of the characters depicted in the book, and peak their interest.
Is there a message in your books that you hope readers will grasp?
My newest book, My Life at Sweetbrier, highlights the value of perseverance. It shows you can accomplish more than you ever imagined if you never give up on your dreams. The other books emphasize good character traits like; setting goals, working hard, helping others, sharing, and finding your natural talents.
What's next? Future goals for your writing?
I’m in the process of writing my first picture book. The picture book, A Tractor Named Wilbur will be on preorder soon. The plan is to have at least two books in this series. I also have ideas about writing a story as a tribute to our dog, Elliott. Three of my books feature him. I’d like to write a chapter book, partially based on fact, that shows Elliott’s personality.
More about Deanie Humphrys-Dunne & her horse books!
Amazon Author Page:
What a spur jingling author interview!
A BIG thank you to Deanie Humphrys-Dunne for participating in my Equestrian Author Spotlight series. I learn so much from other equine 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. Thanks for giving me the gift of your time, Deanie! #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: https://www.carlykadecreative.com/contact.html
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About Equine Author Carly Kade
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Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!