One of the best parts about blogging about horses is meeting fellow horse lovers near and far. One such individual I’ve gotten to know via blogging and social media is Carly Kade. She is totally horse crazy and has even written a book In the Reins which just happens to have been nominated for a special equine publishing award (read more on that below!). Carly is passionate about her two dogs, Paint horse (who is featured in her book trailer), and pizza (is it any wonder we get along?). And if you’ve ever thought about self-publishing a book, Carly has the scoop.
How did you initially get hooked on horses?
My love of horses has always been there for as long as I can remember.
I can easily recall spending my childhood days lying on the floor surrounded by crayons and colored pencils writing about (and drawing) my four-legged pals over and over again. I had them all – every My Little Pony, all the Breyer Horses. I never wanted to play with the dolls. I only wanted their loyal equine friends. I graduated from horse toys to the real thing when I was seven and started riding lessons.
Who was the first horse that captured your heart and what horse has that honor now?
I’ve been lucky enough to own horses most of my life. Missy was my childhood horse and the best life coach a young woman could ever ask for. Missy was my mount (not to mention my teacher, my partner, my best friend) through my adolescent years. On Missy, I was crowned my county’s 4-H Horse Queen and we won the coveted Palomino Western Pleasure class at the World’s Largest All Breed Youth Show.
Sissy is my adult horse and the one I always dreamed of owning. She is a registered Paint mare and I am happily spending time with her in Arizona. If you’ve taken a tour of my website or followed me on my Carly Kade Creative Facebook page, you’ll notice Sissy also stands in as Faith in my promotional videos for In The Reins. I do all the marketing for the book myself so it helps to have my own horse to work with as I film the footage!
Ironically, I didn’t give either horse their barn names (Missy or Sissy). I like to think there’s something about the similarity that implies these two horses were meant just for me. I will own horses until I take my last breath. There is nothing more peaceful to me than the quiet bond between a woman and her horse. I am happiest when I am in the saddle.
(Interested readers can download two free chapters of In the Reins)
Tell us a little about your family and what you like to do for non-horse related fun.
I love creative writing AND reading. If I’m not writing a book, you can find me with my nose in one especially ones about horses! I am a member of the American Horse Publications Association, I host an Equestrian Author Spotlight Series on my blog and just started as a freelance contributor for HorseNation.com.
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m riding my horse. I am a member of the American Paint Horse Association and love competitively showing my Paint Horse. I’ve just started to explore all the amazing horse show options that Arizona has to offer.
Beyond reading, writing and horses …
My husband and I spend a lot of time outdoors. We love walking our two adopted dogs. I’ve recently tried on hiking since I’ve moved to Arizona. It’s something I’ve never done before so I’ve been testing myself on the area’s trail heads recently.
I am committed to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My brother-in-law has CF and my husband and I actively support the organization in its efforts to find a cure. My husband and I led a subcommittee through the process of creating and executing a charity event for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that resulted in over $20,000 raised toward finding a cure for the disease.
AND I am a pizza connoisseur. My husband and I love trying different pizza joints. Right now, we are stuck on finding the best artichoke and cheese pizzas in Arizona. Pizza makes my spurs jingle!
When did you realize that you wanted to combine your love of horses with your love for writing?
I always enjoyed creative writing but I never set out to be an author. It just kind of happened when McKennon Kelly showed up as a poem that ended up as the intro to the book! As I started really writing In The Reins I knew I wanted readers to feel like they were falling for the leading man as they turned the pages. Generating that kind of feeling was my goal – what I wanted to create for the readers of my story (and for myself as I wrote it) so it naturally became a romance novel. I sure wouldn’t be able to resist reading about a handsome cowboy who knows his way around horses so I wrote about what I knew … horses and cowgirl culture.
What truly inspired me to write In The Reins was the fact that I wanted to read a love story themed around the type of horse shows I liked to compete in. There are a lot of equestrian novels out there focused on dressage or jumping or rodeo but I hadn’t found any (yet) that focused on western pleasure competitive horse showing at breed shows like Quarter Horse, Paint, Pinto or the Palomino Horse Circuits.
Congratulations on your book In the Reins being an official selection for the Equus Film Festival. Can you elaborate on this honor and give us a quick overview for those who don’t know about the festival (it’s happening this week!)?
I am so excited that In The Reins has been named an official 2016 EQUUS Film Festival literary selection. I look forward to attending and signing books for festival attendees in New York City!
There are only a select number of authors and their works chosen to participate; those who have compelling and interesting stories as well as those with documentary and historical works may submit work to the selection committee. The Authors and Literary works that are selected then compete for the chance to win a WINNIE Award (EQUUS Film Festivals eq-equivalent of the Oscars).
The EQUUS Film Festival expanded its reach into the literary world because of the books that inspired the films screened at the festival over the years. The decision to add awards for literary works was to introduce new and existing authors to filmmakers looking for their next equestrian story. The festival organizers work to place authors with filmmakers to help develop partnerships through the EQUUS Film Festival.
The EQUUS Film Festival is the world’s premier showcase for domestic and International equestrian content feature films, shorts, documentaries, music videos, commercials, training, educational materials, art & literature.
How often do you get to ride nowadays? Do you board or have your horse at home?
Just like a make an effort to “touch” my novel every day to keep close to my characters, I make an effort to see my horse every day. My husband and I plan to live on acreage with plenty of horses when we retire. I’ve always had to board my horse though so I look forward to the day I can have her in my backyard. For now you can find me walking around Arizona between the barn and my city life in my cowgirl boots and spurs!
What horse books did you love growing up? Do you have any current favorite authors and book recommendations?
Awesome question! I have so many I could go on for days. The books would take to long to list! I have shelves full of horse books from Black Beauty to Walter Farley to books by my present day equine author peers. Recently, I loved the Aspen Eyes Series by Amy Elizabeth which take place on a Wyoming ranch and her standalone called Dead Heat that takes place against the backdrop of thoroughbred racing. Laurie Berglie’s Where the Bluegrass Grows and Brittney Joy’s horse book series made my spurs jingle too!
What has been the greatest challenge and greatest reward in publishing In the Reins? And can you give us a story synopsis?
It isn’t always easy being a self-published author with a sequel in the works! There’s a lot of heavy lifting involved in getting a dream underway. I am responsible for running my own business and that includes so many different facets from time management (that’s actually finding the time to write!) to deadlines to running promotions to generating publicity to website development to creating marketing materials to attending events to running social media channels to writing a blog and so much more.
Sometimes my head feels like it might actually spin!
In addition, I have a “real” job, a patient spouse waiting to spend time with me, two dogs and a horse that are always looking for my love (which is awesome). Somehow though, I always make everything work and feel so fortunate to be able to have the life that I do. I am really proud of the creative life I’m inventing for myself!
There has been a very real magic coursing through all the people that have come together around my book. I am overflowing with gratitude for all the passionate people (especially the readers) who have come on this journey with me.
In The Reins is the story of a city-girl-gone-country, a handsome cowboy and a horse that meet by fate on a southern farm. She’s looking for a fresh start and unexpectedly falls for the mysterious cowboy. But the leading lady finds herself wondering if the man with a deeply guarded secret can open himself up to the wannabe cowgirl in the saddle next to him.
I like to think that In The Reins captures the struggle between letting life move forward and shying away from taking the reins. Reader reviews suggest that I’ve written a love story sure to touch the inner cowgirl. I hope so!
What are your riding and writing plans for the future?
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m riding my horse. I am a member of the American Paint Horse Association and love competitively showing my Paint Horse, Sissy. I recently moved to Arizona so I’ve just started to explore all the amazing horse show options that my new home has to offer. I feel fortunate because it seems like there’s a horse event (almost) every weekend here and I board my horse at a picture perfect ranch nestled between mountain ranges. It’s the kind of place I dreamed about as a girl!
As far as my writing plans, this is just the beginning! McKennon and Devon’s story definitely continues. This is a horse book series of at least three! I am working on the sequel to In The Reins now. I hope to have the follow up to out in early 2017. The crazy thing is that the third book featuring the characters is bucking up a storm in my mind and already taking shape on paper! I am writing the second and third book simultaneously and super excited about the journey this series is taking me on! A fun fact is that I’m learning that there are a lot of JD McCall fans out there so I’m toying with the concept of a novella that tells the tale of my bull riding heartthrob with swagger!
How can readers connect with you?
Your Turn to Comment: What great horse books have you enjoyed lately? And for horse bloggers, do you have book writing aspirations as well?