The Trouble with Being a Horse
Guest Blog by Emily Edwards
I had the story of The Trouble with Being a Horse in my head for a very long time before I ever sat down to write it. Being a horse-crazy kid I read just about every horse book I could get my hands on—and the more “horsey” they were, the better. I read all the classics, including The Black Stallion series, Black Beauty, Vicky and the Black Horse, A Day to Go Hunting, and Misty of Chincoteague, to name but a few.
I was so single-minded in my reading pursuits that the woman who worked at the local bookstore created a horse section and would call me when a new book came in. I just couldn’t get enough, which no doubt had to do with the fact that I didn’t have my own horse and had to make do with my imagination instead. I must have read hundreds of horse books—but I never found the story I thought would be great: the story of a girl who turns into a horse. This is a fantasy I had when I was a kid that I thought would be a terrific adventure and I couldn’t believe that no one had written about it (that I could find, anyway).
When I was a little bit older it occurred to me that I could write this story myself and make whatever I liked happen with as many horse details as I could possibly squeeze in! In my early twenties I jotted down some basic plot and character ideas but writing the book always got put on the back burner because I was in school for about ten years. It was only when I had a job, funnily enough, that I found the time to actually sit down and write it out properly. I already had the basic concept in mind but I had to hammer out the details. I knew I wanted it to be exciting and full of adventure, but I also wanted it to be about the main character’s internal struggles. I particularly wanted it to be as different from other horse books as I could make it, and even though the plot was outrageous I wanted the horse elements to be as true to life as possible. So although when Olivia is in horse form she is able to do things many horses don’t, it’s because she knows what is expected of her, not because she has special powers. Olivia’s struggles with learning how to be a horse are also what lead her to learning about herself, and it is this theme of personal growth brought about by horses which unfolded as I wrote the book that reminded me of why I loved horse books so much as a kid—and probably why so many kids continue to read them.
Emily Edwards is from the small town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and has a PhD from Trinity College Dublin from the Centre for Gender & Women's Studies. She has wide- ranging writing experience and currently works as a Research Associate. The Trouble with Being a Horse is Emily's first work of fiction, and is published by Single Stride Publishing. She has been an avid equestrienne for over twenty years, participating in Pony Club and the Trinity College Dublin Equestrian Team.