Lynn Reardon – Horse Author Interview

Another interesting guest post from Eleanor D. Van Natta over at Sage By Nature, an interview with author Lynn Reardon. Thanks to Eleanor for the great interview questions and be sure to check out more of her own writing on her horse blog.

Beyond the Homestretch: What I've Learned from Saving RacehorsesLynn Reardon is Executive Director of LOPE (LoneStar Outreach to Place Ex-racers); LOPE partners with the Texas racetracks to help find race horses new homes through its online services and adoption ranch facility. Lynn is also the author of the newly released book, “Beyond the Homestretch: What I’ve Learned from Saving Racehorses”.

Tell us a little about yourself for those who haven’t yet read the book
I grew up in the DC metro area, a true child of the suburbs. No one in my family rode (or even were interested in horses). I didn’t learn to ride until I was an adult, taking group riding lessons at large barns. Although I was a nervous rider, I really wanted to improve (but my small budget kept me from lots of lessons).

Eventually, I started riding at a polo barn, trading work for lessons and exercising quieter polo mounts. Most of those horses were ex-racehorses – I fell in love with them from the start and wanted to ride them all (especially the feisty ones).

From there, my interest slowly grew into an obsession with ex-racehorses – by 2003, I had moved to Texas and started LOPE. In Beyond the Homestretch I tell the story of my transformation from office drone to racehorse career counselor – and the many equine mentors I encountered along the way.

Horse in Roundpen

What is your earliest memory of writing, and do you remember what you wrote about?
I remember writing for English class assignments in elementary school. My friends always complained about the writing homework but I always liked it and found it easy. And I love essay questions – I could go on and on! I started writing more creatively in high school and really enjoyed short stories especially. Naturally, animals were my favorite topic.

What inspires you when you get writers’ block?
I write on a laptop at our kitchen table. From there, I can see out our big living room window and watch the horses grazing, socializing and napping.

Lynn & Friend

The horses (and nature) always inspire and relax me when I feel stuck in my writing.

Do you have any secret rituals (that you are willing to share) to help you through writers’ block?
When I’m in the middle of a big writing project, I’ll stick to a word count goal for the day (such as 500 or 1000 words). Even if the words aren’t perfect, the simple act of typing them helps me work through snags. Also, I’ll sometimes just start describing whatever I see out the window (usually ex-racehorses). This exercise often loosens up any blocks or lack of inspiration.

What kind of books did you read as a young girl, and do you remember which ones were your favorites?
I read everything I could get my hands on – I loved to read, it was my favorite pasttime as a child. My first “big” book was Heidi – I think I read that when I was 7. After that, I read lots of horse books (Misty, The Black Stallion) and classic girl literature (Jane Eyre, Rebecca). I also liked All Creatures Great and Small, Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Ramona, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Dracula. I’d reread my favorites over and over too.

Lynn & Spider

Are there certain authors or other people who helped to influence and shape your writing?
I’ve always admired authors who can convey the richness animals bring to our lives without seeming trite. Authors like James Herriott and Laura Hillenbrand come immediately to mind, but there are so many others out there too. I also found Stephen King’s book on writing to be very helpful.

What is the best advice that you ever received regarding your writing?
The best advice I read was to write in my own voice. While I was writing Beyond the Homestretch, I would literally read every chapter aloud, to see if the written words “sounded” like me. It also really helped pinpoint where there were awkward phrases and confusing narrative gaps – I could “hear” those better than I could catch them on paper.

Lynn & Friend

What is the worst advice that you ever received regarding your writing?
The worst advice I received was to make the book about me, instead of about the horses. I started out including more of my personal history and thought it was very boring!

Once I focused on the horses, it was easy to write – the words just flowed rapidly as I described their histories, personalities and various adventures.

Was the publishing process what you expected and in what ways?
I had done quite a bit of online research and industry blog reading before I created my final book proposal.

Lope Ranch HerdThe process was smoother than I expected, thanks to my publisher (New World Library). It did take longer than I expected – it’s impressive to witness first hand how much effort goes into publishing a book once it has been written! Overall, I had a great experience for a first-time author and I feel very fortunate to have found such a good publisher.

What is similar about the horse as an animal and the art of writing?
Both draw people attracted by their glamour. But in order to achieve success, both require lots of routine, daily discipline, hard work, and patience.

As Ray Hunt would say, “The long way is the short way” – and that’s true for both horses and writing.

Many Thanks

Thanks to Lynn for answering the interview and sharing more about herself. Be sure to check out her Beyond The Homestretch website & follow her on Twitter to learn more about her.

And thanks again to Eleanor for putting the interview together, you can subscribe to learn more about her and her palomino Sage on her horse blog.

Stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists, photographers & authors.

One Comment on “Lynn Reardon – Horse Author Interview

  1. Nan

    I enjoyed reading your interview about writing and publishing. As a first timer myself I found a similar experience with getting my book published. Like you I was fortunate to have a good company to work with and found the whole publishing process both interesting and longer and more intricate than I would have expected – but well worth it. I love the final product and look forward to the sequel in print also.And like you my earliest recollections were those in elementary school when we were given assignments involved in writing. Unlike my classmates I loved to write. Years later I found some old datebooks given to me by my grandfather that were chocked full of ideas, storylines and possible characters. I even wrote stories using my collection of minature horses and dogs as my characters!

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