Guest post by Emily Williams –
Writing a horse themed novel
– a dream since childhood pony books?
Horses have been my life for a very long time, as has reading novels. My earliest memories were sitting on the Shetland pony that lived behind my childhood home on the Isle of Wight when I was around four years old. My Dad had started to make up pony stories to tell us, which my sister and I loved and I’d developed an interest in the pony. Then, trips through the New Forest (despite being kicked) to see the wild ponies ignited my passion for equines even more. Ponies and pony stories have always been a part of my life since these early years.
When we moved to Shropshire, there were again ponies behind the house, in a meadow at the bottom of the garden. I wrote to the pony’s owners but, sadly, she didn’t want any help with them. I then, around age ten, started visiting a local Victorian farm museum and became a regular. Soon, I knew the family that owned the farm well and was given tasks to help out with day to day running of the farm animals. I was also able to ride their Shetland pony, Neddy. Around this time I had a passion for reading anything horse related, from non-fiction horse manuals to billions upon billions of pony novels. Saddle Club and the Jinny series by Patricia Leitch were particular favourites.
This love for horses continued over the years, and I began to help with the farm’s shire horses and rode another pony, a piebald cob, as I’d grown too tall for Neddy. By the time I reached my teens, I was desperate for my own pony and started saving. My love for horse novels continued, however, I ran out of new books to read that were age-related. The horse whisperer became a book I read until it turned dog-eared!
When we moved down to Worthing, we again had ponies next to the house! It seemed like fate but also quite bizarre to find in the garden of an end terrace townhouse. I offered to help care for the miniature Shetland ponies before, thankfully, the owners re-homed them to somewhere more suitable.
It wasn’t until I was twenty-one that I finally bought my horse, a beautiful red bay American Quarter Horse mare Profits Red Ridge, aka Bella. She is now retired and has a Welsh Mountain pony Lucy, for company. I am unfortunately unable to ride due to an accident that caused wrist and arm problems, which later has developed into rheumatoid arthritis. Luckily, dictation software aided the completion of the novel.
Bella was the inspiration for the racehorse in the novel, also called Profits Red Ridge but what the teenagers affectionately named Minty, due to his love of mints. As an adult, I still miss reading novels about horses and I am open to any recommendations about good ones you find out there! Writing Rafferty Lincoln Loves… filled that void for me. I hope you’ll enjoy my novel too.
The blurb of Rafferty Lincoln Loves…
Rafferty Lincoln doesn’t like horses. Not one bit. But when the popular high school girl of his dreams, Liberty Ashburn, pulls him into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no?
Except this isn’t any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profits Red Ridge. The horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world. And Liberty Ashburn isn’t just any ordinary high school girl. How far will Rafferty go to win her over?
An intense, witty and powerful coming of age story with startling consequences.
Advanced reviews of ‘Rafferty Lincoln Loves…’
‘A heart-warming and emotional story that will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page. With one of the most beautiful writing styles I’ve ever read, an emotionally charged story and brilliantly created characters – this book is sure to stay with you for a very long time.’ @MegsTyas Between the Pages
‘A story full of heart, this took me by the reins and left me breathless.’ @hayleylipsquid Lipsquid Bookblog
About the charity ‘The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre’
The proceeds from the novel ‘Rafferty Lincoln Loves…’ will be donated to The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre.
BTRC is dedicated to improving and promoting the welfare of retired racehorses through education, retraining and suitable rehoming in order to ensure that our Thoroughbreds have a rewarding and valuable life after their racing careers have ended.
Each year thousands of horses leave racing, some because they reach the natural end of their career and others through injury or lack of ability. Established in 1991, The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre was the UK’s first charity dedicated to ex-racehorse welfare, retraining, rehoming and protection for life.
‘It is fantastic to see a contemporary novel for young adults embracing passion and love for horses, as well as advocating for their welfare. Emily’s fast-paced novel not only explores the relationship and incredible bond between horse and rider but also delves into darker aspects relevant to today’s challenging world of growing up. Rafferty Lincoln Loves… deserves to be celebrated for bringing an important cause to the forefront of today’s young adults.’ Frankie Dettori MBE
‘I am thrilled to have written this novel for the BTRC and to be donating the proceeds to such an important and dedicated charity for the welfare of retired racehorses.’ Emily Williams
Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and a menagerie of small pets. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school.
Rafferty Lincoln Loves… is her first YA novel after the success of her debut adult novel, Letters to Eloise, released in 2017.