...for readers who love animals, and animal lovers who read!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Horse Crazy Kid = Horse Crazy Author

by J.A. Campbell

I’ve always been something of a dreamer, a ‘what if’ sort of gal, if you will. What if I had a horse so smart I could talk to it? What if I could travel to other worlds and have adventures? What if I could actually write a novel and sell it? That last one, I think is the most fantastical of them all.
However, being a dreamer, the impossibility of those above ideas never really stopped me. Nine and a half years ago, I got my own horse. I swear she was smart enough to hold conversations with, and she was certainly smart enough to travel to other worlds with me in tow and create adventures. I just had to be smart enough to listen, and put her ideas to paper.
Sabaska’s Tale is a novel inspired by my life on the trail and my horse and turned into a fantasy novel. And before you ask, no, I’m not the MC, but my horse, Sabaska, is the main horse character, also called Sabaska. Much of this story came about on my many adventures with my her. It didn’t take much effort to translate our adventures into something far more interesting than a trail ride in the mountains, it just took writing it down.
I’ve been told that my passion for horses and Sabaska in particular really comes out in this story. That pleases me and I think that because we had so many adventures in our 9 years together, it gave me the depth and experience to write a something that does display my passion and knowledge of horses and I hope it inspires others to have adventures with their horses and maybe even turn their adventures into more novels for horse crazy teens to read.
I don’t actually know how the horse bug bit me, but it did. As long as I can remember I’ve been riding horses. My parents let me do pony rides and trail rides as a kid and as soon as I got big enough they let me take lessons relatively frequently. There’s a barn close to where I grew up and I learned to ride English-style on Saddlebreds. I took lessons until I got to high school and then I got too busy and horses kind of went on a back burner. However, when I went to college in Colorado they came flooding back into my life. There were horses everywhere and I was going crazy that I couldn’t ride. Finally I found someone with a few too many horses and she let me ride with her, and learn from her and that’s where I met Sabaska.
She was basically half wild and barely trained. As I worked with her, teaching her that people were kind of cool, and learning from both her and my friend what it was to train a horse, I fell in love. Eventually I decided it was time to have my own horse and I wanted Sabaska. I bought her and moved her closer to my home so I could work with her every day. Progress went quickly. Sabaska had an eager and willing mind and she enjoyed doing things with me. I discovered endurance racing and decided that was the sport for us. This discovery set me and Sabaska on hundreds of miles of trails and adventure, which inspired this story. Sabaska was an amazing horse, as you’ll discover if you read the novel. A lot of her personality comes through in the fictional Sabaska. She was brave and bold and I couldn’t have had a better companion. One day while we were out riding I realized it really felt like we were in a different world and this sparked a story idea. What if I really was traveling to a different world? I wrote this book knowing it was the book I wanted to read when I was a kid, but didn’t exist. Hopefully it will find its way into the hands of horse crazy teens and inspire them to fantastical adventures on their own horses.
I lost Sabaska in 2012 to colic, but our adventures live on in these stories. She’ll never be replaced, but she gave me so many valuable gifts and lessons and the joy of having that special bond with a horse that I’ve never seen matched with any other creature.

J.A. Campbell has been many things over the last few years, from college student, to bookstore clerk and an over the road trucker. She’s worked as a 911 dispatcher and in computer tech support, but through it all she’s been a writer and when she’s not out riding horses, she can usually be found sitting in front of her computer. She lives in Colorado with her three cats, her vampire-hunting dog Kira, her new horse and Traveler-in training, Triska, and her Irish Sailor. She is the author of many Vampire and Ghost-Hunting Dog stories and the young adult urban fantasy series The Clanless. She’s the editor of Steampunk Trails fiction magazine and a member of both the Horror Writers Association and the Dog Writers Association of America.

Find out more about Julie at  www.writerjacampbell.com  and follow her on twitter @Pfirewolf
Website: www.writerjacampbell.com                                                        
FB: https://www.facebook.com/J.A.Campbell.Author


  1. Thank you so much for having me here!


    1. You're welcome, Julie! It's a topic dear to many a heart!

  2. OMG-I loved reading this post! I, too, was a horse crazy kid. My parents tell the story of when I was 2 and they stopped the car on a drive to get out for a few minutes. There were horses in a pasture near the road, and I almost jumped out of my mom's arm trying to get down and get to them. I can't remember a time when I didn't love horses! I, too, grew up riding Saddlebreds. And, I just rescued a mare a year and a half ago from an auction site on FB. She was described as "needing a strong herd leader type" and it was said that she would bite and kick. I wasn't looking for a horse, but she grabbed my attention, and held it. In the week she had to be purchased before going to slaughter, she had no serious interest. I kept in touch with the person on the page "behind the scenes". I literally bought her in the 11th hour. As it turns out, she'd been nearly feral as a 3 yr old, but someone had bought her and put a lot of time and ground work into her, and started her under saddle. She's awesome! We are having trail riding adventures together, looking into endurance riding, and dabbling in dressage. She's a Morgan cross, but I wonder if there isn't some Arab in her, as well. I'm definitely going to get your book-can't wait to read it!

  3. Sorry to come late to the party! I've been having Internet connection problems. I just wanted to say that I enjoyed this blog very much. I also have been horse crazy since I was a kid, and had the privilege to have an Arab mare that taught me how to sit still and listen to her. I lost her to colic, also, but she was 18. 12 is so young for a horse.

    1. Never too late for this party, Susan!