I'm thrilled to be participating in this Author -Go-Round of interviews. This week finds us chatting with Connie Peck about her novel Belt Buckles and Tiaras, a new line in the Black Pony adventures. Connie writes stories based on a pony she had, including some of the most fun questions she's gotten from her recent visit to a fourth grade class.
Q: Do horses really talk? Can a rider actually understand the thoughts of a horse?
A; You betcha! Every animal communicates. They signal danger and good food, play and even anger or irritation. They even communicate with other species. How do you know what they are saying? By watching and listening. You know what your dog or cat is thinking – at least most of the time, and they seem to know what you’re going to say even before you say it.
I always know what my horse is thinking by the tilt of his ears or the angle of his head. His eye changes ever so slightly to tell me different things, and when his muscles tighten, I know what he’s thinking about doing. And my horse understands me in the very same way. Of course we speak verbally as well. I know his whinny when he wants food, or just wants company, and he knows when I call him or whistle that it’s time to go for a ride – or get a snack.
I learned all this from my pony, Midnight, when I was only eleven years old. That pony actually considered himself to be the trainer of our partnership.
Q: How did you make up so many stories?
A: I write about things I that happened to me, or things I would like to happen. Sometimes I daydream and pretend I’m someone else and make up things to do. When you start by writing about things in your own life, your imagination starts to grow. Then making up new stories gets easier.
Q: Do you ever get tired when you are writing a book?
A:While I’m writing a real good part of the book and I’m so into it that I lose track of time, I can sit at my desk for hours and not even know it. I’m not a bit tired or hungry or thirsty even. But when I do stop to think about something I just wrote, or I have to stop and think about what’s going to happen next, I might lean back in my chair, and then I think I broke myself in half! I try to stand up and stretch my legs and I’m so stiff I can hardly move. But I didn’t think I was getting tired at all when I was ‘In the Zone’.
Q: Are you famous? Like on TV where everyone knows you.
A: Well, my children know me, and my grandchildren know me pretty well. And my mom, all my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews know me, as well as all my aunts and uncles and cousins. And now you know me. So I guess that makes me sort of famous. Besides, I had an interview on a radio station one time.
Q: Are you a millionaire? ‘Cause everyone who writes a book must be rich.
A: If you mean really rich, I can say I’m the richest person I know because of my family and friends, and because I live in America where I can choose my own life. But if you want to know if I have enough money to pay my bills, not yet. In fact, none of the authors I know are rich.
Q:I’m afraid of horses and I don’t really like them, but I like cats. Can you write a book about cats?
A: I write what I know and love and that’s mostly horses. I don’t know a lot about cats, but I have a couple of cats and they can be funny. You can write a great book about cats if you start writing about what your cat does. You can even make up an adventure for you and your kitty. Maybe someday you will be famous.
Belt Buckles and Tiaras
Annie and Midnight first met Savannah in the first book when they went to the playday. Annie got to know Savannah a little better in the second book, Midnight and the Racehorse. But Savannah wanted to share her own story and tell how Annie helped her out, just by being a friend. Sixteen-year-old Savannah Conway has it all, wealth, beauty, and the finest horses on a ranch in Phoenix. But what is the cost? Her movie-star mother has plans to see her winning every beauty pageant she can find. Right up to Miss America. When her own dreams of training and showing horses clash with her mother's plans, Savannah feels betrayed, trapped in a life mapped out for her since birth. But when she meets Annie Beck, a plain girl with an exceptional black pony, doors to another way of life begin to open. A life filled with real friends and freedom of choice. Can Savannah break her mother's heart and shatter their dreams for a shot at the title of Miss America just for a fling in the country? Is a compromise possible so she can meet Annie's friends - and James, who rides the golden dun?