Congratulations to "J" and to "Debby236" who won copies of Heartspur.
Nancy A. Lindley-Gauthier, whose newest book Heartspur, a romance/adventure set in the Catskills, the legendary home of the Headless Horseman, has recently been released. Leave a comment on this interview and you might win a download of it.
She also has another full-length out, Patriot at any Cost, another romance/adventure that is set in Popham Beach, Maine.
Nancy was traveling north toward the Catskills one afternoon, late in the day, with wide scenic vistas opening before her. Rambling foothills lead to higher, more distant hills and mountains. One side was wide open and she could see for miles. On the other side, however, she couldn't make out the forest for the trees. She slid into the shadow of the great dark forest and a different sense took over.
"The forests cast a dark chill into my heart, even as they blocked the wide, sunny view. In that second; in the heartbeat it took to step from light into dark, I perceived the land Washington Irving had portrayed; a place of beauty, but with a subtle sense of secrets," she told me. "It was the perfect place for a mystery. Contrasts thrive in those strange hills. Once we found ourselves traveling the local roads, the land became welcoming once again. Narrow trails lead happily beneath the boughs of the mighty trees. Grassy fields positively beckoned one to go out for a gallop. Colorful oak leaves floated across politely trimmed lawns. All the while, you keep that sense that phantoms lurk in the crumbling stonewalls of the ancient, tiny family cemeteries that crop up here and there. Heartspur's backdrop is the legendary land of 'The Headless Horseman,' because I so wanted to share the contrasts in this corner of New York State: The welcoming sunny and beautiful side, that nevertheless still conveys a haunting, dark aura."
I had asked Nancy to choose a genre for her book.
"What? Choose only one? Well, it is really a horse story. See, when I was a kid, I’d read anything. A big 'Yes' to either romance or mystery –so long as horses were involved. Adventure, even westerns got a look, if there were horses involved. Another Yes to that fantasy if it featured a unicorn, at least. You see, I didn’t worry about genre. I didn’t select books based on any expectation about the story. I wanted to read about horses! Riding a surefooted Quarter Horse down long rambling canyons trails, cantering a thoroughbred over pastel-painted jumps, or guiding my fast-as-light pony and carriage around a tricky cones course filled my imagination. I read books about race horses, and about wild island ponies. I poured over Sam Savitt illustrations (and still have one of his charts in my tack-room.) Remember the old Famous Race Horses or Favorite Horse stories collections?" she said. "I could list a whole batch of favorite authors. Anyone who's got this far in the interview can probably rattle off a bunch of the same ones: Marguerite Henry, Caroline Akrill, Dorothy Lyons, K.M. Peyton-- all horse books, although their main characters also fell in love, solved mysteries or dreamed their way to other realms. I read the Trixie Beldon mysteries for the 'good parts:' when they all went trail riding or had lessons. Anne McCaffrey's The Lady (for the 'good parts' of all that riding around Ireland!) is still among my faves. 'Classics' in my view are Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and Walter Farley's whole stallion series. I’d love to find more of the ‘old time’ horse-story writers; In fact, I’d so love to find some, that I’ll offer a free E-copy of Heartspur to anyone who can suggest a ‘horsey’ author or story of the sort I mean… To find another ‘Dorothy Lyons’ type author, with a whole batch of horsey stories I’ve yet to discover would be awesome! As it is, I have copies of a bunch of my old faves, and I’ll still read them over, although I know most by heart. Would you ask any of these authors to categorize their work as mystery, or romance? No...these are horse books, where we dream about a horse like that, and relationship like Alec had with The Black. So, back to your question. When you ask me what genre: this is a horse book. There's a sweet romance going on, and bit of a mystery too, but really, this is a good gossipy gallop."
"Who is your favorite author and why?" I asked.
"To be honest, I'm not sure I want to admit my absolute favorite. I've told you all about how my absolute, positive favorite books are horse books...I rattle off a whole array of adored authors, but then you ask me to pick one: one author, one story. I adore mysteries and various adventures, and historical romances...but... I have to admit that my all-time favorite, my 'one read on a deserted island' book, is Tolkien's The Hobbit--Charm - imagination - mystery - and adventure. (I'm a fan of the whole Lord of the Rings series too, of course.) Weirdly, I am not a fan of fantasy really; but J.R.R. Tolkein seems to have transcended anything as mundane as genre. He was a gifted storyteller. His works might be classed as fantasy, but that's simply because they were peopled by the unsual, visited by the mythical. In fact, his adventures were wild and unpredictable, his romances touching, heartfelt, and honor and friendship valued above all. I wish he'd written dozens more... And I wish, for myself, to be a storyteller, too."
Reading itself inspired her to write. She loves stories—loves being transported to unexpected places, seeing people, relationships, and really, whole worlds through different perspectives. She adores reading as a pathway for the imagination and, when she can't find enough of certain types of stories, she's driven to try writing her own.
"Some stories take you where you so want to go; over jumps and through fields, out on trails and over mountain passes. When I first read that famous old quote ' write what you know’ I took that to mean, ‘write what I most want to experience – or to dream!’" she told me.
"Tell us about a favorite character from a book," I encouraged her.
"The Haflinger in Heartspur! Oh, right, you probably meant a human character. Let me tell you – I have a Haflinger, and they have funny, distinct characters. Some are very bold and very self-assured. I based 'Night Sky' on a Halfinger I know, who is quite sure that he is the center of the universe. It was all I could do to make this fictional Haflinger keep to his role; at every turn, he threatened to steal the show.
About the Author: Nancy Lindley-Gauthier’s chief interest is her horses (she both rides and drives them.) She is also interested in history – and the stories and legends, about different places in the Northeast.
She especially loves trail riding, as it can bring both interests together.
“Finding new trails through old locations is magical: I love passing old farm foundations or those small cemeteries you find out along grown-over paths. Recently we hacked all around the foothills of Mt. Chocorua – a place full of legends and with a historical connection to my family, too. I love to imagine all the people and lives tied to places."