Lifestyle

Armstrong horse woman brings experience to new novels

The day starts early at Long Road Farm, a breeding and training facility for racing Thoroughbreds and horses destined for the hunter-jumper ring. The fact that she’s up at 5 a.m., hard at work at farm chores doesn’t stop author Julie White from also finding time to work on her next book.

“Writing is a priority for me,” White says. “I schedule two-hour sessions after the chores and before I go to work at the library [White works part-time at the Okanagan Regional Library in Silver Creek].”

Even commuting time isn’t wasted.

“I think about the books I have on the go throughout the day, especially when I’m driving.”

Fans of White’s earlier novels, Secret Pony and High Fences, both published by Sono Nis Press, will be happy to know two more horse novels have just been released. Riding Through Fire is a companion novel to White’s two earlier books and will also appeal to her established audience of nine to 13-year-old horse nuts. White’s second new release, Under the Wire, is for teens and is set at a racetrack.

For White, the racetrack is endlessly fascinating.

“Wealthy and poor, young and old, winners and losers — all side by side. And, the beautiful gallant horses.”

In Under the Wire, White brings together all these elements in a coming-of-age story enriched with the drama and excitement of life on the backstretch.

Her husband, a former jockey, and his stories provided the inspiration she needed to create a family of die-hard horse racing people.

“I’ve known for a long time I would one day spin my husband’s tales of his youth as a jockey into a book. I just had to wait for the right characters to come alive in my mind.”

Reid, the teenaged protagonist in Under the Wire, is single-minded in his determination to build a career in thoroughbred horse racing. But his challenges are many — his mother, herself a talented horse woman, suffers a career-threatening injury — and for various reasons it looks like Reid’s desire to ride and train race horses will remain unrealized.

“I’m fascinated by the person who swims against the current,” White says. “The one who foregoes the safety of the herd to strike out on his or her own.”

White is also inspired by the bonds of friendship and family, the community that thrives behind-the-scenes at the racetrack, and, in the case of Riding Through Fire, the Silver Creek fires of 1998 and 2003.

“As the librarian of this tiny rural community, I’ve heard many tales of acts of bravery, big and little, performed during these two disasters. Riding Through Fire is a story about everyday heroes.”

In fact, there are many ways that being part of a small community flavours the stories White writes.

“I’ve had books returned to the library on horseback,” White notes, a detail that could well find its way into a future novel.

To purchase copies of White’s books, visit the Sono Nis Press website at www.sononis.com, order through independent bookstores, or at Amazon.com.

 

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