5 Questions with Equestrian Author L.R. Trovillion

So, here’s the thing. I love social media, because it’s given me a chance to meet wonderful people (like you, probably!) but we have to admit it, there’s a flaw in its design. All of those short sentences and catchy captions don’t give us nearly enough time to really get to know each other!

For that, I think it’s time to get back to blogs. Make a cup of tea, set aside some time to read, and enjoy some stories from people we’d like to get to know better–I think we could all use that once in a while! So without further ado, let’s start with Five Questions for author L.R. Trovillion.

L.R. Trovillion author image

Writer L.R. Trovillion creates compelling Young Adult and Equestrian Fiction

Trovillion is the author of the new Young Adult – Equestrian Fiction novel Horse Godsand previously released False Godsboth set in Maryland’s equestrian community.

Her books get great reviews with readers, who love her fast-paced, tightly-woven plots about teenage girls who find purpose and courage through equestrian life.

If you love coming-of-age stories (and who doesn’t, really) and a well-written story with plenty of horses in it, these books belong on your list.

I asked L.R. Trovillion five questions about her latest novel, her writing life, and her craft. Let’s go!

Hello! Thank you for being my debut subject for Five Questions!

First of all, thank you, Natalie, for giving me this opportunity to speak with you and for hosting me on your blog.

You have a new book! Tell us a little about Horse Gods and your inspiration for this story.

The story grew out of a unique experience. A friend invited me to accompany him and his hawk out hunting. When this bird of prey lifted off his arm to the treetops, I was amazed that it did not just fly away, free. That really got me thinking…

Freya the hawk

Freya, the inspiration for an avian character in Horse Gods

The sequel, Horse Gods, picks up the story of a new main character, Regina Hamilton. Her abusive mother, who we met in the first book, False Gods, is getting out of prison and Regina has only a few months to figure out how she can avoid having to live with her. As a minor, she doesn’t have too many options.

She falls into an opportunity at an elite dressage barn (even though she’s a jumper rider!) to work as a resident working student, if she can prove herself.

But things at this barn are not what they seem, and before long Regina finds herself in a dangerous situation. (No spoilers).

What made you decide to begin writing equestrian fiction?

L.R. Trovillion on horseback

L.R. Trovillion fits in plenty of real-life riding for her inspiration

Horses are the inspiration. I only started riding as an adult when I had a job that would support boarding and lessons, but I never looked back!

To help defray some costs, I worked as a groom for a hunter/jumper rider, which gave me a unique view into the world of big-time horse shows.

Later, my interests gravitated to dressage. I believe there is a certain magic in the horse-human connection and I hope to capture a little bit of it in my stories.

Horse Gods blends a lot of topics – you’ve got hawking, dressage, Irish mythology, and parents in prison, among other things. Was it hard to keep your plot in order and not lose any threads?

Ha, ha! I’ll have to let my readers answer that question, but I certainly hope I didn’t lose any threads! Yes, there’s a lot going on, but the various topics are all held together by one central theme—trust. The hawk, the wild mare, the Irish myths that surround Regina all symbolize various needs for and levels of trust. You see, Regina has no one to lean on, no one to help her (she thinks), and so has always just relied on herself. As she grapples with one problem after another, she slowly discovers how to trust in others as well. But that trust in people is severely tested in the end.

Can you tell us a little about your writing craft – how you schedule your time, how you plan your stories, that sort of thing?

Horse Gods ebook cover

Horse Gods, L.R. Trovillion’s new YA/Equestrian Fiction release

I would like to say that I am very disciplined and sit down to write for a set period of time every day, but that would be a lie! So often I sit down to write and a million other tasks feel suddenly more pressing—‘Oh, maybe I should clean out the closet instead!’

When I do knuckle down to write, at the beginning of a novel, I get a germ of a story idea and start building the characters around it. I like to take a main character, give her a big problem, strip her of all outside support from family or conventional means, and set her loose to make bad decisions and see what happens. Secondary characters sort of turn up on the pages and some of them become quite interesting and get to be the main character in the next book. (Spoiler: Main character in book 3 is Willow).

Sounds quite haphazard, doesn’t it? I do usually have the beginning and the end destination planned, but that whole messy middle part is sometimes surprising even to me.

What’s on your 2019 reading list? Have you read anything amazing this year?

I am fortunate to belong to a book club, which has been together for about 23 years. In that time, I have been introduced to so many amazing books, often ones I would not have picked out for myself.

Recently, one of my favorites was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. I was a Russian language and literature major in college and this book captured so beautifully the culture, history, and mood of that time in Russia. Plus, I absolutely fell in love with the main character, Count Rostov! As for horse fiction, I’d have to say an all time favorite is Horse Heaven by the master storyteller, Jane Smiley.

I also love to read a lot of Young Adult. I really enjoyed The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon for her brilliant and edgy characters and Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo for amazing world building. On my list: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow. But I’m open to other suggestions!

Really solid choices. I love Amor Towles’ first book Rules of Civility, and A Gentleman in Moscow has been on my list for ages. And of course, Horse Heaven, I’ve been very open about how much I love that one!

***

Thanks to L.R. Trovillion for that excellent look inside her books and writing process. I especially love the idea of taking a character, stripping her of help, and seeing what she’ll do next. My process is generally to take a character, give her an opportunity, then think about all the awful consequences. Either way, you can’t have a story without being well-versed in a certain kind of worst-case scenario thought process!

So, I highly recommend you take a look at L.R. Trovillion’s fantastic equestrian fiction novels. You can find them at Amazon, or visit her website for more information. On Twitter? Follow for updates and new blog posts about equestrian life: @lrtrovillion

Have you read L.R. Trovillion’s work? Do you have a question for her, or a recommendation? Be sure to comment below!

Last chance to benefit retired racehorses with Deck the Stalls

If you haven’t yet downloaded your copy of Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays, I have two compelling reasons why you should do it today… It goes off sale in two weeks!

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Together with Jessica Burkhart, author of the best-selling Canterwood Crest series, we gathered together some of the hottest names in equestrian fiction to share holiday stories set in the stable, perfect for all ages. All proceeds from this collection are going to Old Friends, the retirement farm where some of horse racing’s heroes go to live out their days in peace and green grass.

In addition to an exclusive Canterwood Crest story from Jessica and an exclusive Eventing Series story from me, you can also find stories from:

-Mary Pagones – with an exclusive Fortune’s Fool story

Mara Dabrishus – with an exclusive Stay the Distance story

Kate Lattey – with an evocative New Zealand setting

Maggie Dana – with an all-new story from the author of Timber Ridge Riders

Brittney Joy – with an all-new story from the author Red Rocks Ranch

Kim Ablon Whitney – with an all-new story from the author of The Circuit

Reviews:

“As a horse lover I devour any horse related stories. These short stories really put you in the horsey holiday mood. This book was highly enjoyable. I think I found some new authors to look up as well.”

“Very enjoyable stories about young women striving to be great equestrians. It’s a nice holiday read and easy to put down and pick up.”

The ebook is available through January 31st from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and other retailers. (You can use the universal ebook link for all sites except Amazon by clicking here.)

Watch out for a new edition of horse stories for the holidays, plus a paperback version, for Holiday 2017!

Thanks for supporting retired racehorses and equestrian fiction!

New Horse Stories for the Holidays!

It’s time for some holiday spirit!

I’m excited to announce that Deck the Stalls, a holiday anthology written especially for horse lovers, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! And not just because it includes an all-new story about Jules of The Eventing Series fame, but for all the other writers as well.

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Deck the Stalls: Horse Stories for the Holidays

Plus, it’s for a great cause: all proceeds go to benefit Old Friends, the retirement organization for racehorses, where you can meet heroes of the turf like Silver Charm, and more than one hundred fifty other horses, including the largest population of stakes winners in the Bluegrass. We’re so thrilled to be able to help this wonderful cause.

Here’s more about the book!

From the cover:

Deck the Stalls

Get in the holiday spirit with this Christmas-themed set of short stories from some of your favorite equestrian writers!

Some of the top authors in the genre have banded together to share Christmas stories from the heart. Look for best-selling authors Maggie Dana, Mary Pagones, Mara Dabrishus, Brittney Joy, Kim Ablon Whitney, Kate Lattey, and Natalie Keller Reinert — plus an all-new Canterwood Crest holiday short story from Jessica Burkhart! And in the true spirit of the holidays, all proceeds will go to benefit Old Friends, a Thoroughbred retirement home providing life-long homes for former racehorses.

Inside, you’ll find stories from some favorite characters and new ones:

– Jessica Burkhart returns to Canterwood Crest with an all-new holiday story.
– Mara Dabrishus takes us back to Saratoga with July from “Stay the Distance.”
– Natalie Keller Reinert visits her best-selling Eventing Series with a peek into Jules’ early days as a working student.
– Brittney Joy offers a warm-hearted holiday tale with characters from her Red Rock Ranch series.
– Mary Pagones contributes the prequel to “The Horse is Never Wrong” and “Fortune’s Fool.”
– Kate Lattey revisits Pip from “Flying Changes,” along with a new friend.
– Maggie Dana, author of Timber Ridge Riders, writes an all-new holiday story, “The Ticket.”
– Kim Ablon Whitney, author of hunter/jumper series The Circuit, shares a Christmas story in “The Barn Party.”

With prequels, new stories of old friends, and brand new characters to fall in love with, “Deck the Stalls” is a Christmas gift from your favorite authors that you’ll want to read again and again.

Not reading on Kindle? Look for an edition to be released for iTunes and Kobo soon. Looking for a paperback? Due to time constraints, we don’t expect to release a paperback before Christmas 2016. We are looking at our options for Christmas 2017, however.

Join Me at Equine Affaire 2016

I can’t believe Equine Affaire is only a couple of weeks away! Mid-November still sounds like months in the future, maybe because we’ve only just had our first cool spell here in central Florida – it’s about sixty degrees this morning, guys! But it’s true: Equine Affaire’s Massachusetts expo, November 10th through 13th 2016, is in less than three weeks.

(And I only own sleeveless dresses, so please pray to the weather gods it’s unseasonably warm. Last time I went to Equine Affaire, it SNOWED.)

Join me at Equine Affaire 2016 - presentations, book-signings, or just a good chat about horses and books!

Join me at Equine Affaire 2016 – presentations, book-signings, or just a good chat about horses and books! Friday, Nov. 11 at 10 AM.

This year I’ll be on an author panel discussion about the importance of horses in fiction. If you’re here reading this, you know that horse books are the best books! What makes it that way, though? Is it just a mirror to the lives we love? Or is there something about horses that just makes any book better?

I’ll be in conversation with authors Laura Moore (who has a beautiful romance, Remember Me, set on a Thoroughbred farm in Virginia) and Holly Robinson (whose new novel, Folly Cove, features horses in a coastal northeastern town. Maybe she has some winter clothing advice for me). Our moderator is the talented Connie Johnson Hambley, whose novelsThe Troubles and The Charity are set in the horse world. It’s going to be a (slightly nerdy) amazing time.

Add our panel to your schedule: “Capturing the Essence of Horse in Fiction: How authors use horses to tell you a better story” on Friday, November 11th at 10:00 AM

And Hambley will be presenting with some of my favorite writers in another panel, as well! Mara Dabrishus, author of the remarkable and amazing (can you tell I love them) horse racing novels Staying the Distance and All Heart (among others) will be alongside also remarkable and amazing Maggie Dana, author of Timber Ridge Riders, and (also remarkable and talented) equestrian thriller writer, Patti Brooks.

Add their panel to your schedule: “Favorite Fictional Horses: From the Black Stallion to My Little Pony – What our favorites say about us” on Thursday, November 10th at 11:00 AM. 

Natalie Keller Reinert at Tampa Bay Downs.

Here’s a helpful photo of me looking intense and writerly so that I’m easy for you to spot and avoid – I mean spot and chat with – at Equine Affaire

Along with these panels, there will be plenty of chat-time at the best booth in all of Equine Affaire, Taborton Equine BooksI’ll be at the book-signing table, daring you to come talk to me, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

There will be paperbacks of my novels for sale, or bring your own!

If you’re on the fence about attending Equine Affaire, go visit the website and see all the other incredible presentations available. Then come see me. Because I can’t wait to meet you!

 

 

 

Join Natalie Keller Reinert at Equine Affaire 2016:

At the Seminar Stage

Friday, November 11, 2016: 10 AM

At Taborton Equine Books

Thursday, November 10, 2016: 3 PM – 5 PM

Friday, Nov. 11: 1 PM – 4 PM

Saturday, Nov. 12: 10 AM – 12 PM

We’re Going to Kentucky!

A few weeks ago I had the good news that my book Turning For Home was a semi-finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, honoring literary works featuring horse racing.

Well, now I have the very good news that my book is a finalist for the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which can only mean one thing: we get to knock Keeneland off our racetrack bucket list.

I’ve been dreaming of visiting Keeneland in spring-time for years, because of photos like this:

4903109204_cd41ddc47b_z

Keeneland Paddock in Spring. Photo: flickr/the-o

Would you look at that tree? The cherry trees in Florida just wrapped up last week. They’re just green now. Flowering trees: expert at making beautiful green leaves completely boring.

Anyway, going to a book award reception is a very good excuse for a few days in horse country! We’ll be visiting Keeneland as well as Castleton Lyons, the farm which sponsors the book award. Castleton Lyons stands Gio Ponti and Justin Phillip at stud, so I’m hoping we’ll get a glimpse of both these lovely horses.

There are two other finalists for the book award, both about jockeys. One is Ride To Win–An Inside Look at the Jockey’s Craft, by Bob Fortus and Gary West. Two journalists, from the Times-Picayune and the Dallas Morning News, respectively, interviewed more than 50 jockeys to get inside their demanding lifestyles.

The other is Warriors on Horseback–The Inside Story of the Professional Jockey, by John Carter. Mr. Carter’s work includes several other racing titles, including First Past the Post: History of Horse Racing. 

Both of these books sound like they’d be great references for anyone interested in writing about racing. I’m looking forward to picking them up and hopefully chatting with the authors!

finding-daylight-coverAnd speaking of jockeys and writing, I just finished Mara Dabrishus‘s tremendous new novel, Finding Daylight, featuring a young lady jock named Georgie getting through her apprentice year and moving onto her journeyman status while trying to push through some very dysfunctional family history with the neighbors across the street. It’s also set in some of my favorite places: quite a lot takes place in Ocala, but the book also visits Belmont, Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, and yes, Kentucky.

Friends, this is a cancel-your-plans, stay-in-and-read-all-weekend kind of book. I’ll write a full review this week, but in the meantime, if you trust me, go and read it.

Finding Daylight starts at $3.99 for the Kindle ebook at Amazon.

Update: The Horseback Reads Book Club and Blog

I have two great updates for you from the Horseback Reads website!

The first is that today I have a blog post up entitled Still An Equestrian. As I’m sure some of you know, I’m an equestrian author without a horse. But it gets worse. I don’t even take lessons… or go on occasional trail rides with friends… I don’t have any (real-life) horse time at all!  So am I still an equestrian? You better believe I am, and I explore the reasons why we never lose that status here at Horseback Reads.

The second update is for our Horseback Reads Equestrian Book Club. We’re so excited to launch in the month of November! This is the perfect month to carve out a little “me time” with a good book. November gets crazy fast. Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, holiday decorating… it can get overwhelming quickly. Taking twenty minutes to relax and read will go a long way towards your overall peace of mind. And of course you want to read about horses!

Falling for Eli

Our November book club selection!

Our first title selection is Falling For Eli: How I Lost Heart, Then Gained Hope Through the Love of a Singular Horse, by Nancy Shulins. This is an absolutely lovely story about an off-track Thoroughbred, and I’m so excited to read it again. I actually wrote a review of Falling for Eli when it was first released… I’ll have to see if I can find the file and post it here! Still, I think the cover photo just speaks for itself — a silly chestnut Thoroughbred with a heart of gold.

At the end of the month we’ll have a live chat with author Nancy Shulins at our Horseback Reads Facebook page, so you’ll definitely want to pick up this book (don’t forget to check your local library!) so you can jot down some questions for the author.

(I’m so excited that we’re all just going to talk horse books together at the end of the month! This book club is the most fun idea ever!)

Below is the link for Falling For Eli at Amazon, and you can also find it at all other major retailers. Be sure to check in at our Facebook page and say hello, and tell your friends at the barn! Let’s start the Equestrian Book Club off right!

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=retired0b-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B007NJBXD4&asins=B007NJBXD4&linkId=ZFSAIL4BU4MC7VAC&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

New Horse Book Review! “Something Royal” is Something Delightful

Something Royal

Something Royal, by Maggie Dana

Eleven books ago, when Kate came to Timber Ridge Stables and became Holly’s companion, we could all see this was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. And it has been! Through horse shows and horse camps, blizzards and summer storms, film shoots and crime scenes, Kate and Holly have been through it all together. They’re true BFFs. So nothing could ever come between these two best friends, right? Especially two best friends who are now sisters!

Sure, there are small things. Kate does not understand what Holly sees in make-up. Or clothes that can’t be worn for barn chores. Or flaking out over boys. (Okay, Kate has some very slight interest in boys… or one in particular). Holly is at a loss for why Kate isn’t more interested in dolling herself up, but honestly? Holly isn’t much of a worrier. Worrying is Kate’s hobby, and she’s fantastic at it. (I strongly identify with Kate in this, as in many other things.)

But these girls are tight, and these problems are tiny. What could come between them?

Well, something royal this way comes.

Mutual friend Twiggy (Flying Changes, book 10), is coming to visit Timber Ridge Stables. Twiggy is a European princess who trails drama in her wake. Holly adores her. Kate, less a fan, just adds the upcoming Twiggy drama to her list of worries. Doesn’t she have enough problems, without coaching Holly through a royal visit (or coping with Holly’s hair, makeup, and wardrobe obsessions)?

Kate, as she sees it, has some very real problems. Including, distressingly enough, wondering whether her beloved Tapestry is enough horse for her hopes and dreams. I’m with Kate — princesses are all good and well, boys are very nice for someone, and clothes are for rubbing off horse slobber on — the real problem in this world is making sure the horse you love and the horse you need are one and the same. Sometimes, it can be impossible to know for sure.

Something Royal is a delightful read, full of twists and subplots (I didn’t even mention there might be a stalker!) with lovely horses and the passionate barn-rat kids who love them. Watching Kate and Holly test the bounds of their friendship, while they each grapple with very different dilemmas, makes this series continue to surprise and delight with every new installment.

P.S., love the title!

Find Something Royal at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Kobo – or visit TimberRidgeRiders.com

//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=retired0b-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0990949834&asins=0990949834&linkId=J7NSXADRUQAL2KLA&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true