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It seemed like a distant dream to publish a book a couple of short years ago... being fully immersed in a corporate job, which took up most of my time and energy. Then my life changed in a big way when I was made redundant from my job and had a baby (my first), and experienced my fair share of sleepless nights that is for sure.... but I decided I was going to do something creative and reconnected with my dream to write a book.
I chipped away each day finishing the manuscript I wrote many years back - around trying to figure out how to care for a baby (not as easy as a horse). It was my dream to create a fun, addictive equestrian book series like the Saddle Club series which I used to love to read as a child. Well I would read any horse book actually, but I liked these particularly, as I enjoyed seeing the characters; humans and horses evolve as the series progressed.
Since publishing Leaving The City, it has received wonderful reviews. As a first time author I find this both surreal and wonderful! The reviews have come from not only children, but also adults, teenagers, as well as authors and book bloggers. In addition to that, Horse & Hound called it a must-read for every horse child! You can check out most of the reviews here
The book reached number 1 as the best selling children's equestrian book on Amazon in the UK, and additionally number 3 in Literature and Fiction for Intermediate readers. Amazon have an algorithm so this ranking changes regularly, however the book is usually on the first page of best sellers in the UK and it's starting to replicate this on Amazon in the US which is totally amazing to me!
Leaving The City also went into the public library of Pirkkala in Finland (and is available to 5 more libraries). For me this was a real high as I spent so many years at my local library before I was a teenager, with my nose in a book. I was overjoyed to see my book on the shelf with other books from well known authors!
Additionally I made an agreement with the RDA to donate a percentage of the sales from Leaving The City, to help raise money. Recently I was at my friend's property in Australia and her son has autism and doesn't speak much yet (he is 5 years old). We stayed with them for almost a week and he didn't say one word to us. He lives inside his head although understands a lot. She sat him on her daughter's pony at the end of a lesson and to see the look on his face! Completely at ease, relaxed, beaming and full of joy. It makes me happy to think that Sweetbriars supports a charity giving countless experiences like this to children with disabilities all over the world. You can learn more here.
On the website we have an interview with our cover-star, talented show rider Faye Heppelthwaite which you can find here. I am sure young riders (and readers) will find this interview interesting and inspiring... understanding what it takes to become a top rider like Faye.
To wrap up, I am currently writing the second book in the series and hope it will be released by Spring next year. This time it will be about Tabby. Readers will find out the fate of her horse Bliss that was injured in Leaving The City, and about her loan horse Nancy. Additionally more will be revealed about Sophia and her family, and there will be plenty of action at the Sweetbriars Equestrian Centre as word gets around and it becomes 'the place to be' for equestrians ( :
This also means we will soon be looking for a new cover star! This time we want to go one step further and organise a photo shoot for our new cover star. More information will follow as we get closer to the release of the new book. So if you know any budding cover stars please tell them about Sweetbriars and to follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date. Also to sign up to the newsletter via the website of facebook.
If you are looking for ideas for a Christmas present, Leaving The City would make a great stocking filler! Available to purchase on Amazon or via www.sweetbriarsfarm.com.
Again, thanks so so much for subscribing to this newsletter! I hope it was interesting and wishing you a wonderful wrap up to the year and a merry festive period... full of fun and happiness.
And full of hugs, carrots and polos for the ponies.