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Wonder Horse by Anita Daher
Publication Date: May 8, 2015
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing
Fitting into a new school in a new city isn’t easy, but dreams come true for Sera with a gift from her parents: a gorgeous and spirited American Paint horse. Sera’s bubble bursts when a mean girl, Brittany, tells her that neither she nor her less than well-trained horse belong with the rest of the “reiners” in their riding class. As Sera sets out to prove Brittany wrong, she risks losing her passion for training and the friendship of Dev, another girl who truly understands her.
An earlier version of this story was originally published by Stabenfeldt (Stavanger, Norway) in 2011 as Wager the Wonder Horse and distributed in six languages: Norwegian, Hungarian, Czech, German, Finnish and Swedish.
When did you start writing?
Like many authors, I have been writing since childhood—my first “book” was called Diary of a Dog, written when I was in grade six. My exceptional school librarian at Carpathia Elementary in Winnipeg, MB laminated the green construction paper cover, and put it in the library soft-cover spinner. Beyond elementary school, I began writing with the intent to be published in 1995. I’d just resigned from my job as Flight Service Specialist in Canada’s Air Traffic Services industry in order to better care for my young children. I looked around, and thought, now what? Sure, I was mother and wife, but what else? The only other thing I’d ever wanted to be was “writer.” And so, I began re-educating myself, writing stories, sending them to publishers.
What makes you want to write?
I was one of those young kids reading by flashlight under the covers after light’s out. I loved stories, and had ever since I’d felt that special magic of connecting one word to another in a sentence when learning how to read, and–light bulb flash—understood they formed an idea. Then, when I was in grade seven, living in the small Arctic hamlet of Baker Lake in what is now Nunuvut, I was lucky enough to be taught by an extremely motivated and creative teacher—Mr. MacDonald.
Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it?
Though I never think of it as truly a “block,” I do get stuck from time to time. I find this is usually because my subconscious is aware, even if I am not, that I’ve made a misstep, or will if I carry on. Sometimes I backtrack and rethink where I’ve gone/am going. Sometimes I change the tense, or from (for example) 1st person to 3rd, or vice versa.
Do you have a special way of going about writing?
Hmm…how to answer this one? If you mean the daily routine, I regularly battle the evil villain Procrastination. Luckily a friend gave me a super-hero cape, so I hold my own. Seriously, when working on a novel I rise quite early, and after spending a little time with email and social media, shut down access to the Internet so that I can write without the temptation of distraction. After a few hours, I’ll take a break—run, walk, garden, whatever—then write in the same manner for another few hours.
Do you have any works in progress?
I do! Capstone Publishing in the US is publishing my novel, A Pinch to Make it True, in January 2016. I have a manuscript revision due…now!
What are your hobbies?
I love horseback riding, running and walking. I try to keep an active lifestyle as much as possible. Sitting at a keyboard for long stretches can be very hard on the body.
How did you choose the character names for Wonder Horse?
I often use names of real people, or similar to names of real people, as tribute and out of respect. This story was inspired by the relationship between my daughter Sara, and her real life horse, Wager. Wager’s first home was at a stable owned by a man named Kurt Klimpke, and his grandmother, Granny Grace. In the story, fictional Wager’s first home was owned by Clint Klompke and Grandma Goodie. There are other name tributes as well, but all characters in the story are completely made up, with the exception of Wager. How I’ve depicted him in the book is exactly how he is.
Who is your favourite character in Wonder Horse?
That’s an easy one—Wager! I also really get a kick out of Sera’s psychologist parents.
How did you get the idea for Wonder Horse?
I have so many great memories of watching my daughter put a first saddle on young Wager, splash through puddles with him, playing in a round pen, teaching him tricks. I wanted to write a story that showed the strength of the relationship between a girl and her horse. The other bits just fell into place as I began imagining the story of a girl moving to Winnipeg, missing her friends, and finding a sense of belonging.
What was your favourite part of writing Wonder Horse?
Bringing the real life Wager to life in fiction. We sold Wager to friends a few years ago, and though we still get to see photos and videos of him, miss him dearly. In writing this story, he was right back in our lives again.
What are you currently reading?
Nonfiction: Truth: Personas, Needs, and Flaws in the Art of Building Actors and Creating Characters By Susan Batson
Fiction: I recently finished reading Jody Carmichael’s Forever Julia. A brilliant teen novel showing how insidious an abusive relationship can be.
What is your favourite book?
Oh, so hard to say! There are many books I love for different reasons…I don’t know that I have one favourite. A favourite novel from my youth was The Chrysalids by John Wyndham.
Who is your favourite author?
What is your favourite film?
What is your favourite TV show?
Currently? Bates Motel.
Chocolate or ice cream? Ice cream
Paperback or ebook? Paperback
Dogs or cats? Um…refuse to answer on the grounds that my cats may punish me by tapping me on the nose every morning at 4 a.m. Why do they do that?
Go out or stay in? Stay in
Summer or winter? Summer!
About the Author
Anita Daher has been entrenched in the publishing industry since 1995, and is (thus far) author of fourteen books for children and teens. Aside from short stints as grave-plot seller, tour guide, and children’s party clown, she’s worked in aviation, publishing and broadcasting. When not word wrangling, she enjoys inhabiting characters on stage and screen.
Connect with the Author:
Open to US/CAN + INT