I am always excited to do book reviews when asked because I love books and writing! Especially growing up, reading was such an integral part of my childhood. It's a great way to get to know authors I'm not familiar with, as well.
This week I am happy to introduce Alison Hart. Alison is a Virginia author of over thirty books for young readers. Upcoming books include the re-release of Shadow Horse an Edgar-nominated mystery from Random House, along with the new title Whirlwind, its much anticipated sequel (May 2010.) Emma's River (Peachtree) a historical fiction chapter book about a plucky girl and her pony and their adventures on the Missouri River is coming out in April 2010. Her latest early chapter book Bell's Star (Random House) is the second in the Horse Diaries series. Gabriel's Horses (Peachtree), middle grade historical suspense, has been nominated for nine state awards. Find out more about Ms. Hart and her exciting books at www.alisonhartbooks.com.
Here is Alison's story in her own words....
I’ll admit it: I have been horse crazy since my first Steiff pony and first Billy and Blaze picture book by C.W. Anderson. Decades later, I still ride and read horse books, and now I have added writing about horses to my passions.
Writing about horses came naturally. My first story about a lost pony, published in Highlights magazine in 1984, was based on true events. Since then, I’ve written over fifty novels about horses. Many are contemporary including Shadow Horse, an Edgar nominated mystery, and its sequel Whirlwind (Random House, May 2010).
I have also combined horses with history to create suspense-filled historical fiction. The two meld perfectly because human and horses have been intertwined as early as 3500 BC when horses were raised for milk and meat in Kazakhstan. (see the fascinating March 2009 article in National Geographic http://new.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090305-first-horse-domestication.html)
My historical novel for young readers, Anna’s Blizzard, is about a heroic pony during the real Blizzard of 1888 in Nebraska. Gabriel’s Horses, Gabriel’s Triumph and Gabriel’s Journey (the Racing to Freedom trilogy) took over two years to research. The three books follow Gabriel, a slave on a Kentucky horse farm who earns his freedom as a jockey, from the Saratoga Race Course in New York to the battlefield of Saltville, Virginia, where he fights with an African American cavalry unit (all based on real history.)
I am partial to my books, of course, but they aren’t the only exciting reads. Try Chosen by a Horse a memoir by Susan Richardson and Riding for my Life by Julie Krone. If you like mysteries, author Dick Francis is intense and Carolyn Banks (A Horse to Die For) more light-hearted. Revisit Black Beauty and The Horse Whisperer to shed a few tears, and for a great tale of rescue read Horses of the Storm: the Incredible Rescue of Katrina’s Horses by Ky Evan Mortensen. If your library doesn’t have these on its shelves, you can get them through inter-library loan. This chilly winter, when riding gets harder, enjoy a good horse book. Then, please, share them with others!
Thank you Alison, for letting me be part of your blog tour!
Goodness, lucky author Alison Hart sure has her dream job, doesn't she? Reading, researching and writing about horses every day! I love the "Billy and Blaze" picture book myself. In fact, I recently saw an old copy in the library and had to read it, touching and smelling it's weathered yellow pages!
I just started reading Shadow Horse and I am really enjoying the story, which combines themes of family, horses, and mystery! I am hosting a giveaway to introduce you to one of Alison's other great books, Anna's Blizzard. And because I SO love to put together giveaways, I will throw in some other trinkets along with the book. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment, telling us your favorite horse-related fiction book(s)! The giveaway closes at midnight on Sunday December 13th.
Good luck and happy reading!