Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Kristi Benedict is talking with Susan Count, author of Selahís Sweet Dream
FQ: What experiences did you having with horses before writing this book?
COUNT: My Grandmother was a librarian in a quaint library in Falls Village, Connecticut. She had a shelf stocked with the classic horse books and I am convinced they were especially for me. My love for horses was born in that library and nurtured by many horses on the trail. To see a horse is to love them.
FQ: What made you choose to have your main character as a twelve-year-old rather than making her older as many books do?
COUNT: I wrote with no preconceived ideas about the age of the main character. The story chose Selahís age as it unfolded.
FQ: Have you had or been around someone who personally trained their horse?
COUNT: Yes, I avail myself of every opportunity to study equine training techniques. I can learn from everyone.
FQ: If no, what research did you do to write about the training part of this story?
COUNT: No matter how much one might know about horses, every equestrian discipline has its own practices and vocabulary which can trip a writer up. I make no claims of expertise in any discipline and I hope that research keeps me from annoying those who would know.
FQ: Was Sweet Dream and/or her behavior based on a horse you have known?
COUNT: Sweet Dream is a composite. One model was my thirty-three year old, Missouri Foxtrotter mare. She would fight a dragon if it landed in her pasture, but she loves and humbly submits to little children. The other models were my Rocky Mountain horses. They are smart, willing, and intuitive. They try so hard to figure out what I'm asking of them.
FQ: Who was your intended audience for this book?
COUNT: I wanted to bless young girls with a story to show them a love relationship in a family, with the Lord, and with a horse.
FQ: Were there any particular horse books that were your favorite(s) growing up that stuck with you?
COUNT: Itís so sad to give the most obvious answer, but there it is - The Black Stallion.
FQ: Were there any books about horses or training that helped inspire this story?
COUNT: Not books so much as being a rabid follower of phenomenal trainers. The natural horse training techniques are fascinating. Top drawer is Lorenzo in South France. There is a must see video of his on my facebook page. I adore Stacy Westfall. Look for her freestyle reining ride from 2006 and you will adore her too.