It’s been ages since I’ve done one of these so it’s great to get back in the saddle, so to speak!
Some of my most creative thoughts happen when on a dog walk, as do my best conversations with my dog-walking buddy. So I thought I’d invite some of my author friends along to join me and my Ruby and see if I can find out a little more about them and the book they’ve released.
The relative flatness of Cambridgeshire is going to be no challenge to my guest today who has come all the way from Austria for this chat. She tells me she writes ‘books with horses, dogs, romance and a touch of drama with contemporary themes’… hmmm, sounds familiar 😀
I was born in Winchester (UK) and grew up with dogs and a passion for horses which was fulfilled when my family moved to the countryside and I had my first pony, Emma. After school, I spent a year in Switzerland, then came home met Dave in Marwell zoo, settled and raised a family. I later took a degree with the Open University, graduating with a First Class honours in English and History. I then found myself working in fine art insurance and my boss kindly let me ride her cob. It was worse than being 13, I didn’t have to get Mum’s permission (or cash) to ride. Then 9/11 came along and I couldn’t work in an office creating useless sheets of paper. So, I worked for seven years at the Fortune Centre in Hampshire as a Riding Therapist. I’ve been married for 36 years and have two adult children who wouldn’t move to Austria when we moved in 2007.
Life here has been with ups and downs. I worked teaching in several riding schools – the BHS would weep at some of them, but it’s a different culture and way of looking after horses. I also got involved with Equine assisted therapy, but it didn’t really take off in this small community. Since then I have worked cleaning a castle, teaching English and running the local library. But now is my time to write books!
It’s very good to meet you Anna. Now that you’ve got my undivided attention, this is your chance to tell me about Challenger and convince us all to buy it and move it up our to-be-read list.
Challenger is a story with many strands, but focuses on Joanna, who gave up riding after thrashing her showjumper, Challenger, in an all out effort to beat her best friend. A few years later, this friend, Diane returns shortly followed by the now aged Challenger. He seems to read Joanna’s inner turmoil and retaliates with anger. Joanna isn’t sure of Diane’s motives, especially when she wheedles her way to open a riding stable, literally on Joanna’s doorstep. All this turmoil breaks Joanna’s little bubble, and she starts to grow up, taking on two puppies in defiance of her father. Through this, she meets Guy who helps with their training. When Diane makes the ultimate betrayal, Joanna knows she must grow and change. They all get sent on a weekend of equine assisted therapy, will this be the answer? Will Challenger ever forgive Joanna? Will she finally find love?
Set in the mythical parish of Hazeley, near to coast west of Southampton, I loved creating this place, along with Hazeley Manor, where Joanna lives. It is based on the house where I was born with a few extras. I think it’s a light read that will nevertheless make you think a bit about our relationship with horses, how they can help you heal, and indeed healing as spiritual concept as there is a gentle, Christian message within.
Challenger has been available for a few months now so how do you feel it has been received so far?
For a first book, I’m really pleased! It’s gaining reviews and with an Amazon ad, it’s picking up the Kindle Unlimited reads. It will be out as a paperback soon too.
I know you have other work in the pipeline, how are they going and do you want to tell us your plans for any future publications?
Compromise, the follow up is with an editor. It’s also set in Hazeley, but features new characters beside Joanna and her family. It also has a slightly dippy Welsh cob stallion, Keith, who causes all sorts of problems. It features the very contemporary theme of gender identity. I hope to get this out by July. The next, and final one is a third written! I hope to have a fictionalised account of my time with horses in Austria out for Christmas this year.
Which part of the writing process do you find the most satisfying? Getting that first draft completed, editing or finally getting to hold your published book in your hand?
None of these actually! Building the plot in my head as I dog walk, yet the origin of the plot often comes in a dream!
A few quick fire ones.
India or Iceland?
Red or white?
Red -or can I have both for the Austrian flag?
Which superpower would you like to have? And Why?
I’d love to fly. I could see the mountains from above and think what it would save on petrol!
What piece of advice would you like to give your 16-year-old self – if you were given the opportunity to use a time machine!?
DON’T DO IT!
I believe that perfect days are unplanned, BUT if you were to plan your perfect day what would it look like?
Rise when I feel like it. Breakfast with fruit, coffee, smoked salmon and rolls. Someone else walk the dog, just for one day! Shopping in the UK (Primark calls!). Lunch with a good friend. Spa afternoon and massages. Dinner with my husband. Film with wine and chocolates. Early night!
Sounds like an excellent day to me, Anna.
Thanks for joining me Anna and I wish you every success for the continued sales of Challenger!
I am also on the editorial team of, Mom’s favorite Reads’ a new emagazine, not only for authors but stories, features, interviews and competitions. Its currently No 1 in the market! This month features amongst many great articles, the first short story I wrote, Ducks!
My blog about life in Austria, which is now featuring guest posts, ‘So where’s the Snow?’
Author page on Facebook @horsesandogs
I don’t do mailing lists at present but would love to receive emails, and will send personal updates. firstname.lastname@example.org