First of all, I’d like to thank Babs for giving me space in her book bistro. It’s so much fun to visit! I’m an author who mostly writes mysteries, and also owns quarter horses. I currently own a mare, Frostie, and her son, Snoopy.
“Why don’t you put horses in your mysteries?”
That’s the question I’ve been getting since my first novel was published in 2009. My mystery series is set in my hometown of Placentia, California. Placentia (“The Pleasant Place”) is a tiny town surrounded by larger towns in Orange County. About 50,000 people live in 6.5 square miles.
If you do the math, you’ll realize there isn’t a lot of horse property available in my town.
And yet, horses are the reason I write. When I was forty, I wanted to be a writer, so my husband bought me a laptop for Christmas. When I was forty-five, he bought me horseback riding lessons. A year later, I bought my first horse and began my writing career. I don’t know what portal was opened, but as soon as I owned Frostie, the words flowed.
Three mysteries later, people who know me are still asking the same question—why wasn’t my muse in my stories?
One morning, I was walking up the barn aisles at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. Snoopy and I were at an American Quarter Horse Association show. When you are at a show, you clean your horse’s stall and deposit the used bedding (usually wood shavings) at the end of the barn. At least once a day, guys come by with a tractor and move the pile to wherever used shavings go to decompose.
This particular morning, there was already a large pile at the end of the barn, and I thought, hmm, what if there were a pair of boots peeking out from under that pile? And what if the boots were still being worn… by a body?
I knew I could not get my 50-year old private detective out of Orange County and up to Burbank to solve a crime. As far as I know, she’s never even been on a horse. I had planned to write the next book in her series. It’s a risk, to an author, to step away from a series in order to write something else.
But when a mystery author gets an idea too good to pass up, well, what’s life for, except to take risks? MURDER ON THE HOOF was born.
I made this cast of characters mostly younger, although not so young as to make me pull out my hair and bang my head when they made stupid choices. My protagonist is a widow in her thirties. She is at a horse show, looking to buy her first horse. What she finds is danger, and romance. Here’s the description:
Willie Adams is at the L.A. Equestrian Center shopping for her first horse. A young widow struggling with the idea of dating again, she never expected that a gorgeous trainer like Tyler Ransome would notice her. But he did.
He wasn’t the only one, either. Bobby Fermino is not as handsome, nor as pleasant. After attacking Willie he ends up dead in her tack room, leaving her the most likely suspect.
Willie has to convince Detective Lucas Macy that she’s innocent, but her physical attraction to him isn’t making the task easy.
With growing evidence pointing to her, and two famous actors drawing attention to the investigation, Willie decides to take the reins. She must find the murderer before they find her, but will she survive opening her heart to someone new?
MURDER ON THE HOOF is my first attempt at romantic suspense and I’m pretty proud of it. It is available on Kindle today, and in paperback this Saturday.
Just for being one of Babs Book Bistro’s fabulous readers, I’d like to give you a reward. Here is a picture of me and my horse, Snoopy, performing at a horse show. The first person who names the event correctly will get a signed copy of MURDER ON THE HOOF, a grooming bag (also useful for holding gardening tools or other stuff), and a $10 Amazon gift card.
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