Hey everyone! Today I’m excited to turn my blog over to my gal pal Gayle Carline. She has a fabulous new book out that I was privileged enough to read before publication. It’s about a horse, and so much more.
Please join me in welcoming her to the blog today. Take it away, Gayle!
First of all, I want to thank Tameri for the opportunity to guest on her blog. I love her to pieces, and her blog posts are always so much fun, it’s a teeny bit intimidating. I hope I don’t disappoint.
The reason I’m here is to tell you all about my new book, which is being released today. I’m equal parts excited and frightened about it. I mean, I’m a little that way about all my books. Most authors are, I think. Our books rise out of our creativity and are finally brought forth with effort. It’s like having a baby, only you usually carry a human kid for only nine months.
It’s kind of like having an elephant baby. They gestate for two years. Or maybe a kangaroo. They’re pretty much like an assembly line, with one joey in the pouch and another in the womb, waiting his turn. Wow, theoretically, a female kangaroo is always pregnant… geez, if reincarnation exists, I hope I don’t come back as a roo.
This book is different for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s in a completely different, and not easily identifiable genre. It’s the story of my Quarter Horse, Snoopy. When he was a three-year-old, he won a big championship in California. When he was a four-year-old, he broke his leg. After surgery, a fused joint, a metal plate, six screws, and two years, he was not only back to being ridden, but back to being shown.
I now have a bionic horse, who is still a big goofball. ￼
Technically, this book is a memoir, since the events actually happened. Here’s the rub: the story is told by Snoopy, in his voice. I won’t claim to be a horse psychic whisperer. That makes this book a fictional memoir, unless you believe that horses talk.
Then it’s all completely true.
Why didn’t I make this easy and tell the story myself? I’ve been involved in every step of Snoopy’s life, all the way from the day I leafed through the Quarter Horse Journal’s Big Book o’ Studs, looking for a suitable mate for my little mare. ￼ ￼
When I was hit with the inspiration (and believe me, it was like a thousand-watt lightbulb going off in my frontal lobe), I knew at once that this was not my story to tell. I didn’t break my leg, Snoopy did. I nearly broke my bank account, but that’s another story and I don’t write horror. I studied some other “first-person animal” stories to see how they did it.
Black Beauty is the gold standard. I’ve read it in my childhood, multiple times, but I went back and read it again. My adult sensibilities still fell in love with this horse. He has that English Country Squire manner to his speech, but he’s all horse, and I had no problem believing that this was his story from his viewpoint.
Then I read War Horse. It’s a compelling story (I’ve seen the play but not the movie), and it moved me. However, even though it’s told from Joey’s view, it reads like a man in a horse costume. Black Beauty speaks of his training and shows you the kindness (or cruelty) of his owners in terms that are centered around his understanding as a horse. Joey describes the Union Jack hanging in the square and the uniforms of the soldiers.
What horse cares about that?
Because I like to do things in threes (why, no, I’m not OCD…), I also read the first few chapters of The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s told by a dog, and I was mostly drawn in to believing the dog was telling the story. I will finish the book. I just know I’m going to be weeping heavily by the end of it, and I’m not quite up to that at the moment.
After all this, I had to choose Black Beauty as my blueprint. Snoopy is a southern California boy, so his language is not as precise as Beauty’s, but he is concerned about how things affect him. It was an interesting writing exercise. I had to constantly be aware of how he might see things, and I had to abandon my voice and find his.
The result is a book that is true and is fantasy and is a love letter to all my horses, my trainers, and my fellow riders. I want it to fly far and sell well because when you’re in love, you want to shout it from the rooftops and share that love with the world.
It’s available as an ebook on Kindle. If you want a paperback, you can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, or your favorite Indy bookstore.
~Thank you, Gayle for bringing us the story of Snoopy and his memoir.
If you’d like to follow Snoopy’s adventures, Gayle blogs about him at her site, From the Horse’s Mouth. He’s ridiculously funny (I didn’t expect that in a horse), and the story is both touching and lighthearted. I hope you’ll fall in love with Snoopy as much as I did.