|Brittney with Stella|
Well, first and foremost, I’m horse-crazy. Always have been, always will be. I didn’t come from a “horsie’ family, but was always attracted to animals … dogs, cats, goats, anything of the soft-and-cuddly type. Because of that, my parents decided to sign me up for a horse summer camp when I was ten years old. Although, I’m not sure they knew exactly what they were getting into when they did that – as I never looked back! I started taking lessons not long after and began working on that ranch when I was twelve. I adored being around the horses and I didn’t care what I was doing in order to make that happen – scooping poop and sweeping the aisle was a privilege. Eventually, I wore my parents down and they got me a horse for my fourteenth birthday. Best birthday present ever.
Basically, every major decision in my life has been motivated or inspired by horses. I chose a college with a very strong equine program and minored in equine science. A good chunk of my college courses included horses – riding them, caring for them, and learning about them. I put myself through college by training young horses for a local equine veterinarian who raised quarter horses for reining and warmbloods for jumping. Then, after college, I took a job in sales for a company that manufactured equine grooming products - and I still work in the equine/pet industry via sales. And, I met my now-husband at a trade show for work … my husband sells equine stalls, feeders, etc. ;)
PLUS, I have always enjoyed writing … so, naturally, I wanted to write about horses.
|Brittney with her first horse, Austie|
What got you interested in being an author?
I. Love. To. Read . . . I love to read all types of books – equine fiction, chick lit, mystery, thrillers, young adult, etc. etc. But, when I was a teen, I adored The Thoroughbred Series! I remember my best friend and I used to devour the books as they were released and then beg our parents to drop us off at the barn so we could shorten our stirrups and go racing through the pastures … just like Ashley. And, I had a really fast horse … I knew when I started writing that I wanted to create an equine-fiction series like the Thoroughbred series so I could give teen girls the same joy I received – especially those girls that don’t have the opportunity to have a horse of their own.
And, I’ve always loved to write. English and Literature classes were my favorite classes in school. When I was sixteen, my Mom gave me a journal for Christmas and I started writing pretty regularly about my teenage feelings and experiences (under lock and key, of course!). I figured out I really enjoyed writing and it was a release for me. Ever since then, I had a life goal of writing and publishing a novel. Now, I’ve published two and I have lots more ideas bouncing around in my head for more.
|Brittney and Cheli, her Friesian cross|
The setting of your books is the road less traveled in horse lit. What inspired you to write Red Rock Ranch?
I enjoy and admire all the different disciplines of riding, but I grew up in the western world and that is what I know best. I spent my teen years competing in western pleasure and blazing trails through the countryside. I dabbled in reining in college. And now I compete in Western Dressage. I just can’t convert to breeches … I love my wranglers, bling, silver, tooling, and cowboy boots way too much!
What are you working on right now?
I’m planning to write a third book for the Red Rock Ranch series, but I haven’t quite decidedwhere I’m going to take the story/characters in a third book so I need to let the plot “simmer” in my head for a bit. In the meantime, I have an idea that has been playing in my head for some time now (in one form or another) and the characters are just begging me to write their story. I’ve decided to pursue these characters and see where they take me … it’s a fantasy with an equine-twist and two very strong female leads.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers out there?
I think everyone follows their own path to writing, but my humble advice would be – just start! If you want to write, to become an author, just do it. Everyone has to start somewhere. Write for yourself and be honest in your work and you will find readers that enjoy reading your stories. The hardest part for me has been to start each story, but once I do, this magical thing happens … I think about my characters and my plot all the time. I try to write every day when I’m writing a first draft – even if it’s for fifteen minutes. Because, if I can write a little bit every day, the story stays fresh in my head and I come up with ideas when I’m doing other things – washing dishes, picking stalls, driving to the grocery store. Your subconscious is a powerful tool – just feed it.
AND – read, read, and read some more. Read everything you can get your hands on from multiple different genres. Study how each author describes characters or keeps your attention. Learn from other people’s successes.
Finally, share some of your favorite horse books, and favorite books in general!
I have so many… as for favorite horse-books, I adore Karen McGoldrick’s The Dressage Chronicles. There are currently two books in her series and she is working on a third and they are fantastic! They are completely written for riders-that-are-readers … she’s very technical in her riding scenes and correct with her horse language. Plus, the horses in her books are main characters too - she gives each one of them distinct personalities, which I love. Her books will make the horse-obsessed laugh and cry and root the characters on!
I also adore The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle. This book is written from the perspective of a sixth grade girl, but the story itself is very adult. Kyle’s writing is simply haunting and her words have stuck with me years after reading this book. I very rarely read a book twice and this is one I could read over and over again.
Other equine-faves – The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans, Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards, and Cut & Run by Amy Elizabeth.
Non-horsie-faves – The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, Liliana Hart’s Addison Holmes Mystery Series, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer.
Brittney Joy’s Pages:
Amazon Author Page:
Thank you Brittney for the interview! I look forward to reading your books!