The best thing about being an author has been the people I’ve partnered with and met on my journey to publishing 'In The Reins'. There has been a very real magic coursing through all the people that have come together around the book. Friends, family, acquaintances, perfect strangers, colleagues – everyone was so kind when I shared my dream of being a published author with them. All these lovely humans then proceeded to open doors that I couldn't even see were there. Now the dream has come true and I am one!
I am overflowing with gratitude for all the passionate people who have come on this journey with me from readers to those who have left my book a review to fellow equestrian authors who have been so supportive to other entrepreneurs I’ve met along the way. When dreamers band together and support each other anything is possible. You can’t do it on your own. So in order to give back (or pay it forward), I’ve decided to host an equestrian author spotlight series on my blog!
Horse books make my spurs jingle! Before I am a writer, I am a reader. I owe my favorite authors a great deal. They make me feel. My favorite authors speak to a place that engages me and fills me up no matter where I am in life, happy, sad, mad, overwhelmed, they write to the place that heals me when I am cuddled up and lost in a good book!
In this first spotlight edition with Amy Elizabeth, one of my very favorite horse book authors, we talk writing, books and horses. You'll love her favorite horsey memory! Amy offers some great insight for writers including how to be with negative reviews! Enjoy the read. It's a great ride!
What is your favorite horse memory?
My little girl fantasy was getting married on a beach on my horse...and that's exactly what happened! I galloped into the ceremony over a sand dune on my beloved Arabian, Jon San Bo, and dismounted at the end of the aisle so my father could walk me down. I was so afraid that Jon would spook at all the chairs or people or decorations, but he was so well-behaved that day! I think he knew how important the occasion was.
How many horse-related books have you written?
Currently, the number sits at four. In my Aspen Eyes series, all three books are set on a cattle ranch in Jackson, Wyoming. My stand-alone novel, Dead Heat, is set around Thoroughbred racing in south Florida. My next series, Breaking Pointe, is taking a slight detour from horses into the world of dance and theater ... but I'm sure I'll return to horses eventually!
What advice can you share that might help aspiring authors?
1) For starters, forget being a perfectionist. You are never going to write a "perfect" book. Work hard on it, get it as good as it can be...and then get it out there. Too many authors waste valuable time and effort doing countless rounds of editing when their book is already good to go!
2) Make the reader CARE about your characters. It doesn't matter how great your plot is, how many unexpected twists you throw in, or how original your storyline is. If your characters are shallow or underdeveloped, not only will readers not care about them, but they will not care about your book! Dig deep with your characters: What make them unique? What makes them tick? What was their childhood like? What are the passionate about? What fears keep them awake at night? Flesh them out and make them as human as you possibly can.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I actually never make notes for my books – it's all in my head! Surprisingly, I sometimes get a great idea for a scene or a chapter but when I start writing it, my characters "resist" me. They really take on a life of their own, and I find if I listen closely enough, they'll "tell" me which direction to take the story. I've found many times that I cannot force a character to do something he or she does not want to do.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Bad reviews hurt, there's no doubt about it. The first critical reviews I got nearly brought tears to my eyes. There's nothing as awful as hearing someone rip apart your beloved story you spent countless hours crafting. The thing you have to keep in mind is that you CANNOT please everyone. There are plenty of people who don't like the writing style of even extremely popular, best-selling authors, so it's unrealistic to expect that every single person who reads your book is going to rave about it. Don't take it personally, just move on and keep writing!
If this book is part of a series, would you share little about it?
I originally wrote Cut and Run to be a standalone novel. I was overwhelmed by the number of positive reviews and requests for sequels, so I took a few months to brainstorm ideas for a three book series. I already had a great cast of characters from Cut and Run, so it was actually quite easy to write two more books with the same characters and setting. I tried to take some "unoriginal" ideas (an old flame shows up, a ranch is in financial trouble, etc.) and put a fresh, unique spin on it. I still believe that Showdown (the third book in the series) is the strongest story I've ever written.
What was your inspiration for the leading man in your book?
Alec Westin is my dream man, pure and simple. I always tease my husband that it's all over if "Alec" ever walks into my life (joking, of course...sort of).
How did you research your novel?
Luckily, I lived in Colorado at the time, so Jackson, Wyoming, was not that far away. Two road trips up there to scope out the area and get a feel for the setting really helped me bring it to life. I also had to do some research on barrel racing, calf roping, and other western events, as I grew up riding predominantly English. I even had the chance to go on a real, authentic cattle drive in central Wyoming!
What do you think makes your book (or any book) stand out from the crowd?
I'm the first to admit that there are plenty of writers out there who create better dialogue and descriptive settings than I do. I feel that my strength as a writer is creating well-developed, believable characters, complete with plenty of strengths, weaknesses, fears, and motivations. I also love to think outside the box and surprise my readers with unexpected plot twists, and I feel that I've done that successfully in each of my books.
Want to discover more about Amy Elizabeth's books?
Find Amy Elizabeth Online
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/amyelizabeth
Cut and Run: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Run-Aspen-Eyes-Book-ebook/dp/B00CUXP49M/
Indian Summer: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GSTE3E6/
Dead Heat: https://www.amazon.com/Dead-Heat-Amy-Elizabeth-ebook/dp/B00N04YYFK/
Singled Out: https://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Breaking-Pointe-Book-ebook/dp/B01G9OB0AO/
Many thanks to equestrian author Amy Elizabeth for this amazing interview! I certainly learned something new on writing and so appreciate the support of a fellow author! I believe that it's important to give to grow. Thank you for giving me the gift of your time, Amy! #authorsunite
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. Helping out fellow horse book authors makes my spurs jingle! Visit my contact page to fill out a request!
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Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Books by Carly Kade