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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The young adult voice in historical fiction

No 'World of' blog post this week because of Thanksgiving in the States and also because I have been busy blogging elsewhere. On the Historical Fiction Connection blog, I'm talking about the young adult voice in historical fiction, and the pitfalls of thereof.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The World of Maggie Dana's Timber Ridge Riders

This week's 'World of my Book' guest is Maggie Dana.

Maggie’s first riding lesson, at the age of five, was less than wonderful. In fact, she hated it so much, she didn’t try again for another three years. But all it took was the right instructor and the right horse and she was hooked for life.

Her new riding stable was slap bang in the middle of Pinewood Studios, home of England’s movie industry. So while learning to groom horses, clean tack, and muck stalls, Maggie also got to see the stars in action. Some even spoke to her. A few years later she even jumped bareback on her first pony (see above). Born and raised near London, Maggie now makes her home on the Connecticut shoreline where she divides her time between hanging out with the family’s horses and writing her next book in the Timber Ridge Riders series.

To learn about her horse books, go here
For more about Maggie’s women’s fiction, go here

The world of my books . . .

Vermont — home of lush green valleys, red barns, white church steeples, dairy cows, Ben & Jerry’s delicious ice cream, snow-covered peaks in winter, and enough color in the autumn to make your eyes bleed. And while you’re inhaling the stunning scenery you might also notice a few riding stables — not always the most glamorous of places — where dedicated kids are mucking stalls and hugging their horses.

What does the world of your books feel like?

For me? Perfectly comfortable … but for someone not used to horses, it probably feels a bit scary. Horses are big animals. Even a small pony weighs 500 lbs. A full-sized horse, like the ones you see racing at Epsom, weighs more than twice that. But despite their size, horses are gentle creatures and amazingly trainable. They have long memories, so something you teach them today, they will remember ten years from now, long after you’ve forgotten it. This is not always a good thing. For instance, one of my characters teaches her horse to lie down on command, which is great for entertaining the younger kids at the barn but not so great when the horse lies down while you’re still on her back … just because she wants you to reward her with a carrot!

If I fell into your books, what would I hear and smell and feel?

You’d hear the steady beat of a horse and rider cantering around the ring  . . . a horse rattling his bucket in the barn because he’s eager to be fed. On a sunny afternoon you might hear the sound of horses swishing each other with their tails to keep flies away as they graze in the paddock. But the best sound of all is a pony whickering at his owner because he loves her.

Smell? Fresh hay, saddle soap, and the pungent aroma of manure (totally wonderful to horse people, believe me!)

As for feeling . . . I’d like to think you would feel excitement because that’s what my stories try to provide.

Who would I have to watch out for?

Angela, definitely. She’s the quintessential barn princess who loves to win ribbons and cause as much trouble as she can get away with. Oh, and you might want to keep an eye out for Marmalade. He’s the barn’s biggest horse and while he’s super gentle, he doesn’t always pay attention to where he puts his gigantic feet.

Who would keep an eye on me?

Kate. At fourteen, she’s mature beyond her years, but fortunately her best friend Holly is teaching her how to lighten up.

What do I need to bring with me?

Sturdy boots and a sense of humor. Oh, and a strong arm with a pitchfork would help, too.

By the time I came home again, I’d know more about . . .

How responsible and caring kids can be when they’re tasked with taking care of animals.

Thank you, Maggie. We have some stop-press news here about Maggie's latest in the series . . .


Book #8
Timber Ridge Riders

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and the Timber Ridge girls are excited about getting dates and new outfits for the school dance. But a blizzard plunges them into reality when the barn's power goes out. If Kate and Holly don't act fast, a pony may die.

But Angela Dean doesn't care.

She spreads false rumors that Kate can't be trusted around horses, and trashes Kate's reputation the way she did a year ago.

Kate shrugs it off.

Angela has done this many times before and Kate has survived. But this time, Holly warns, a lot more is at stake. If Angela succeeds in her latest vendetta, Kate might lost all she's worked hard to attain -- her place on the team and the respect of her two closest friends.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The World of Lauren Baratz-Logsted's Twins

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is the author of 32 books for adults, teens and children. You can read more about her life and work at or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBaratzL. The paperback edition of THE TWIN'S DAUGHTER, hailed by Library Journal as "riveting", will be released on 14 January 2014, and Lauren is here to tell us more about the world of the book.

The Twin's Daughter

If I fell into THE TWIN'S DAUGHTER, what would I hear and smell and feel?

You would notice more what you wouldn't hear: the cacophony of TVs and other electronic devices. You'd smell horse dung and slop jars. And you'd feel the occasional fabric that might be strange to you, like a tufted horsehair sofa. All of this would be because you'd be in London in the 1880s.  

Who would I have to watch out for?

From the moment you meet her, you would think you'd need to watch out for Helen Smythe. As time goes on, you'd waver: Am I right about this fear or am I wrong?  

Who would keep an eye on me?

Kit Tyler, the boy next door. Of all the characters I've created, Kit is the one I'm in love with the most and he deserves that love. 

What do I need to bring with me?

I think no matter where you are, commonsense and a sense of humor are always assets. Other things you'll want: keen powers of observation and detection (there will be a murder to solve); and resilience (we all need that); plus a strong neck (since yours might whip around each time the way you think things are gets turned on its head). Oh, and if at all possible, you'll want to bring indoor plumbing with you since you won't find any there. 

By the time I came home again, I'd know more about . . . 

The interior design, fashions and foods of 1880s London, also how camels might be used in warfare.

Postscript: Lauren also has an Amazon Countdown promotion on another of her titles: Robbie Knightley, which means you could snap up a bargain before the price returns to normal.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The World of Barbara Morgenroth's Bittersweet Farm

This week's world is that of novelist Barbara Morgenroth's Bittersweet Farm.

Barbara Morgenroth has been writing professionally for many years, riding horses for even longer.

Her series, Bittersweet Farm, is home to seventeen-year-old sisters Talia Margolin and Greer Swope. They often have a contentious and competitive relationship but share a passion for horses. Action and intense emotion fill Talia’s and Greer’s world as they leave high school behind. Will their new trainer, Lockie Malone, be a part of their future? Will Cameron Rafferty, jumper rider, present an irresistible temptation? Which horses will carry the young women to the top? This series will captivate and intrigue teens and adults alike.

Barbara, if I fell into your books, what would I hear and smell and feel?
The clean scent of country air, herbaceous hay and fresh pine shavings. Either you would feel excited or appalled by the level of passion at which Talia and Greer live their lives at Bittersweet Farm.

Who would I have to watch out for?
It seems that the determined and opinionated Greer Swope is someone to be avoided, but that would be a mistake as she has so much to offer. The person who is the most dangerous is the show jumper rider, Jennifer Nicholson.

 Who would keep an eye on me?
Talia Margolin looks out for everyone. When she was younger, she tended to her dying mother and that set the tone for her life. Her first reaction is always to try to make life better for those around her, whether human or animal.

What do I need to bring with me?
Your own saddle would be excellent. If you’re at Bittersweet Farm, you’re definitely going to get up on a horse.

By the time I came home again, I'd know more about . . .
Hopefully you’d know more about yourself. Bittersweet Farm is a learning experience. It seems like the main function is training horses and riders but mostly it’s about growing.