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Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Spotlight: Claire Ashgrove

The Magic of an Arabian

Hi everybody! If you’ve been reading this week, you’ve learned a lot about me and what has inspired the stories I’ve written. I’ve tried to give you pieces that might be interesting and tidbits that will add to the charm of some of the characters and plots. Today I want to talk about Waiting for Yes, my newest release.

The tie-in with my horses on this book is obvious with one glance at the cover – my champion stallion, WDA Orion, is the model horse. Beyond that, my bio states clearly I raise Arabian horses. My first horse was an Arabian, the breed is truly a magical breed. That’s the only way they can be described – as evidenced with the classic, Arabian Nights.

But what the outside observer doesn’t usually know is that within the world of Arabian horses, there are specialized breeding efforts devoted to perpetuating different strains, different origins, different bloodlines. One of which is the Straight Egyptian. It’s a very “elite” Arabian, and to be frank, not where I spent my breeding efforts. That’s a different discussion though.

Orion was part of a preservation movement. He and his offspring were touted within the industry as classic examples of the Straight Egyptian horse. Using him, and his heritage, as a focal point in a story and illustrating portions of the world of Show Arabians, just meshed too well to be ignored. Thus was born, Bahadur Mamoon, who is the physical twin to my stallion.

There are many other horses of note in this book, and almost all of them were pulled from horses I’ve met and put physically into the book, with names changed. Rajiv is, in essence, my deceased stallion, Pali Wind, and my junior stallion, Khemokaizee. His relationship with Mamoon is pulled straight from my backyard and the way Orion and Khemo interacted. The flashy chestnut belonging to Gabrielle’s father – my beloved Abu Zakkson. The list goes on, and for a closer look, I’ve put a few beauties into the trailer, which you can view on my website. Along with a link to the horses who are in the trailer.

The setting also comes from my heart: Ransom, Kansas is where my ancestors were born. Everybody hates “flat Kansas.” I, however, love it. And for all my friends and family who’ve read this book – yes, that’s Aunt Alice’s house I ported to the other side of town. The kitchen carpeting is still that same weird green, and her den is still as cozy as it was.

I almost bought that house, my love for Ransom is so deep. But I was logically convinced that my nearest neighbors would think I’d lost my mind if they saw me using horses to jump things as opposed to herding cattle. I fixed that. Gabrielle’s Arabians don’t jump.

I sincerely hope you’ll take the time to read Waiting for Yes, as there’s another reason this book is very special to me. While waiting for the release date on the novel, I lost Orion. A victim of the fragile disease called, “horse”, he twisted a portion of his gut and had to be euthanized in November of 2010. This book, these few pictures of him, and two foals he left behind, are all that remain in my life of the beautiful stallion who captured my heart.

Thanks for participating – it’s been great being here this week.


Gabrielle Warrenton gave up everything to pursue her dream of a first-class Egyptian Arabian breeding farm. Her future lies in her new stallion’s success. Though she possesses an exceptional eye for horseflesh, she lacks the training knowledge, and Bahadur Mamoon has a date with the nation’s most affluent show in three weeks. Nothing that would present a problem given his previous credentials. Only, the sellers disguised one critical fact—he’s crazy.

Jake Lindsey-Sullivan was once part of an exceptional Arabian training team. Under his mother’s guidance, he developed an instinctual talent, but she was the star, the cornerstone of his life. Until she met a premature death. Grief-stricken and plagued by guilt, Jake abandoned the world of horses. Now an over-the-road truck driver, he evades the memories.

When a snowstorm throws two Arabian professionals into close-quarters, they discover an engulfing passion. But will Mamoon rip open emotional scars, or forever seal them shut?

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