I was brought up in London, but I always longed to live in the country and have lots of animals – especially horses. Well, dreams do come true because for the past 30 years or so I’ve lived on an Exmoor livestock farm with my husband, Chris. Besides dogs, cats and riding horses, we keep Exmoor Horn sheep, North Devon cattle and Exmoor ponies.
Our children, George and Sarah, are now grown up, but when Sarah was a girl she had an Exmoor pony called Tinkerbell, and some of the things they got up to inspired me to write my first stories: a trilogy about a girl and an Exmoor pony growing up together on an Exmoor hill farm.
The Katy’s Exmoor trilogy was illustrated by Chris, and we self-published it under the imprint Tortoise Publishing. We also published a book called Midnight on Lundy.
Publishing my own books was hard work, so I was delighted when Orion Children’s Books took me on in 2011. The ‘Katy’ books were re-written and updated with expert editorial guidance, and were published by Orion as ‘Katy’s Wild Foal’, ‘Katy’s Champion Pony’ and ‘Katy’s Pony Surprise’. The books have a great deal of new content, including author’s notes, new inside illustrations by Chris and cover illustrations by Angelo Rinaldi. A year later, Midnight on Lundy was also republished as A Stallion Called Midnight.
Since then I’ve written a brand new trilogy for Orion, about a boy called Joe who moves from the city to the country. To begin with he hates his new home, but when he finds an old horseshoe his life begins to change. There are three books about Joe: Joe and the Hidden Horseshoe, Joe and the Lighting Pony and Joe and the Race to Rescue. My research for them was fascinating, and included farriery, aikido, Pony Club mounted games and working heavy horses. It even took me backstage at the Horse of the Year Show for the Prince Philip Cup final.
I was delighted when my publisher asked if I’d like to write two more stories about Katy, as I could enter her world again and see what she’s getting up to now. The answer is ‘a lot’, which is lucky because it means there’s lots to write about! Katy is finding that training Tinks, Trifle’s cheeky foal, is more of a challenge than she’d bargained for, Greg has left and there are new neighbours at Wellsworthy, and Katy and Alice are learning a lot about handling horses through the up and coming sport of horse agility. The fourth book in what is now becoming a series, Katy’s Pony Challenge, will be published on 6th August 2015.
At the moment I’m writing the fifth book, Katy’s Pony Summer, which will be published in May 2016. At the beginning of the book, Katy is looking forward to a carefree summer holiday of riding, beach barbecues and a camping trip with Alice. But all that changes when an injured foal leads to a mystery nobody seems able to solve . . .
My stories are full of the things I love: horses and ponies, the countryside, farming and people. I really like hearing from readers, visiting schools and giving talks, so do get in touch.