July 21, 2011

Guest Author Emily Edwards

Rebecca from The Cadence Group emailed me and asked if I would review this MG book, however, being so backlogged, I had to say no.  But, when I read the synopsis, I thought what a fun and interesting premise for a book and wanted to share it with all of you.  So today, the author, who is getting rave reviews for her debut book, is stopping by and telling us all about it.  Emily Edwards, welcome to the CMash blog!!

 Emily Edwards is from the small town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and has a PhD from Trinity College Dublin from the Centre for Gender & Women's Studies. She has wide-ranging writing experience and currently works as a Research Associate. The Trouble with Being a Horse is Emily's first work of fiction, and is published by Single Stride Publishing. She has been an avid equestrienne for over twenty years, participating in Pony Club and the Trinity College Dublin Equestrian Team.


Topic: what girls want in a horse book

It’s a well-known fact that many girls love horses, and it’s almost as well recognized that when girls can’t be with horses they love to read books about them. Stories provide another way to feed their obsession—a healthy obsession, I would argue!—and a way to lose themselves in a horse-saturated situation that they might not otherwise experience. Having been a horse-crazy kid myself, I have a good idea of what makes an excellent horse book: namely, there should be as many details about horses in the story as possible, and for the events that happen to be horse-centric. That is, horses should not be peripheral or add-ons to the main plot lines. Girls who like horses are usually very knowledgeable about horses and they want accurate details in the books they read. It immediately undermines a story when a book claims to be about horses but the author shows him or herself to not be an expert. When I think of classics like The Black Stallion and Black Beauty, it’s obvious that the authors had an intimate knowledge of horses and this is partly why the books have remained favourites—because they knew what they were talking about. 

Readers also want original story lines, and the idea behind The Trouble with Being a Horse was a story I thought would be unlike what’s already out there as a story that would hold great appeal to girls with active imaginations! While retaining the classic theme of girl-horse bond I sought to make the book as different as I could: instead of being about boys, black horses, or wild stallions I chose to write about more familiar
characters—girls and geldings and mares. Apart from the outrageousness of Olivia turning into a horse, I wanted all the details about horses to be as accurate as possible. Part of what’s so enjoyable about reading horse books are the descriptions and I wanted to make sure the book had plenty. And although I didn’t intend for it to happen, the use of detail led to the book being slightly educational, in that when I was describing, for example, a canter pirouette, I was in essence giving instruction on how to do a canter pirouette. When I realized later that the book had a bit of an instructive nuance to it, I wasn’t overly surprised. After all, Black Beauty, one of the first horse books, was quite informative; it had been the author’s intention to educate her readers on how to treat horses. I think that my book, like many horse books, has this undercurrent of teaching simply because that’s what detailed descriptions are: they tell how something should be done. And detail is what I thought horse-crazy girls would enjoy.

From the author:
The Trouble with Being a Horse is a middle-grade fiction novel about a girl who turns into a horse. Olivia is outraged when her parents forbid her to ride and she wishes she could run away and be with horses forever. But after falling off her favorite horse, Olivia is shocked to find out she has mysteriously changed into a horse!

As a girl in a horse's body, Olivia must put her knowledge of horses to the test as she navigates this new and bizarre world. Struggling to communicate with both humans and horses, Olivia does her best to fit in. But when she can't resist showing off how much she knows, her secret is in danger of being found out!




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