Monday, November 12, 2012

Giveaway/Review/Showcase: Mare's Nest by Lesley Kagen

I am so excited to share with you one of the best books of the year with you here today.  Lesley is amazing and I am so excited she took some time to visit us here at MMBBR's.


Mare's Nest
Book Description

"The last thing in the world I wanted was for my daughter to climb onto the back of a horse. Riding is dangerous. Not only physically, but fiscally. Most of all...emotionally. I had the scars to prove it."

Annie Bellamy is a woman struggling to come to terms with her painful past. In her daughter, Teddy, she sees the opportunity for redemption. The chance to balance the scales by giving her girl the support and nurturance she feels she didn't receive from her own mother. What Annie didn't plan on was her daughter falling head-over-heels in love with horses the same way she had as a youngster. The buying, selling, and showing of horses had led to the bankruptcy and break-up of her family, and perhaps, her mother's death. Annie vows not to allow history to repeat itself. Yet, her Teddy's persistence and talent are not easily denied.

Torn between her distressing childhood and her daughter’s passion, concerned about how the astronomical cost of the sport will impact her son and husband, Annie embarks on a journey through the Midwestern horse world, where she and Teddy are swept up in a "saddle soap opera" that she couldn't have imagined. Crooked trainers, ruthless barn owners, shady veterinarians, and viciously competitive show moms lie in wait for the unsuspecting twosome. Too late, Annie realizes that her unrelenting pursuit to make her daughter's dreams come true will end up mirroring her own troubled past unless she finds the courage to stand up to her demons.

Based on a true story, MARE'S NEST is a wrenchingly funny, poignant, and ultimately uplifting tale about mothers and daughters, horses, and the redemptive power of love.



First I am going to start by saying that I love Lesley Kagen, as a person and as an author. There is an authenticity to her writing that few can rival. She writes stories that grab your heart and keeps you turning pages. She has a talent that cannot be ignored. 

Kagen opens herself up in her newest novel Mare's Nest. Mare's Nest is based on a true story that captures not only the complexities of mother/daughter relationships, but also a mothers desire to give to her child an experience better than her own. This story is really a universal story about parents undying love for their children. About every parent wanting what is best for their children, trying to avoid making the same mistakes their parents made. The Mare's Nest is simply...love.

Annie Bellamy is determined to do better than her parent did. Annie saw her childhood ruined by bankruptcy and her parents dissolved marriage, both due to horses. Although Annie loved horses she was going to shelter her daughter from the evils that horse world contains. She was not going to let her daughter Teddy ride. Period. But then Teddy fell in love with horses, just like Annie did years before. Annie tried to hang tough and keep to her no riding policy, but her desire to give her daughter the world quickly dissolved her resolve. Teddy was talented, she was in love with all things horses and was going to ride. If only the story was so trouble-free and happy. With villains, shameful horse practices, disappointments and heartbreaks this novel takes you on a journey of love, friendship and recovery. With Kagen's brilliant voice and great dialogue you find yourself once again engrossed in an amazing, well written story that is both emotional and exciting. Do not pass up reading this 5 STAR novel. 



Q.  What makes Mare's Nest different than your other novels?

A. A couple of things.  The story was inspired by true events.  Secondly, the narrator is a mother.  Whistling in the Dark, Tomorrow River, and Good Graces are told from the viewpoint of children, and Land of a Hundred Wonders from the eyes of a brain damaged young woman.

Q.  What compelled you to write such a personal story?

A.  All my stories are based on parts of my life, the people I’ve met, and experiences I’ve had, but Mare’s Nest digs down even deeper.  It’s a tale I feel particularly passionate about because my daughter and I experienced much of what happens in the story. Along with the nasty horse business that I feel is important to bring to light, I wanted to explore what it means to be a mom and a daughter.  Delve into what it means to pass the mothering baton from one generation to the next.  I think that all mothers have a profound need to give to their children that which they feel they missed out on getting from their own mothers.  But can we go too far?  That’s another question I wanted to learn more about.

Q. How much of the story is actually true?

A. Hmmm…well, it’s not a memoir.  But I’d say about seventy-five per cent is factual, the remainder is a composite of experiences and pure imagination.

Q.  Why did you chose to self-publish this novel?

A. I’d not had a wonderful experience the last two times I’d been traditionally published and was feeling disheartened.  So disheartened, that it was affecting my writing. This story is so important to me, and I wanted to have a more positive publication this time out, so I decided to do it myself.  (I am very nice to my writer.  I get her tea and everything:)  

Q.  Tell me about the cover of the novel.  It is so beautiful and really captures the essence of the story.

A. Thank you!  Covers are so important.  I wanted Mare’s Nests’ to convey the love the main characters have for one another.  The darkness and lightness of the mother-daughter relationship is emphasized by their silhouettes against the beautiful sunset.  In the story, horses are their bond, the glue that holds the relationship together when the going gets rough.

Q.  What is your greatest fear when writing a novel?

A. Oh, boy.  The fear—it’s multi-layered.  I think at the heart of it is my need to get better, to connect with readers, to entertain, but be real. Each time out I fret that I won’t reach those goals.  I don’t like letting people down, myself included.

Q.  Tell me a bit about your writing process.

A.  It all starts with this niggling feeling that will bother me like a barking dog.  Once I’m sure it’s the story presenting itself to me, I’ll get busy.  The narrator’s voice comes first, and then the setting, which is extremely important to me.  It takes me over a year to write a book and I want to hang out somewhere that I love.  Because I don’t outline, it’s always adventure to see what lies before me.  A mystery trip full of surprises.

Q.  Tell me a bit about your schedule.  Where can your fans come and see you?

A. The first event that I’ll be doing in conjunction with Mare’s Nest release is the launch party, which will be held at one of favorite indie bookstores—The Readers’ Loft.  It’s a phenomenal store that has been so supportive throughout the years.  I can’t wait!  The rest of my schedule is in flux.  Please check out my web site: lesleykagen.com for all the latest news.  (Hope to bump into some of you while I’m out on the road.)

Q. Other than buying their books, how can readers best support their favorite authors?

A. By spreading the word amongst your friends and family.  And taking a few minutes to give an online review is so important! 

Q.  Anything else you’d like to add?

A.  My deepest gratitude to the readers, booksellers, libraries, and book clubs who have supported me throughout the years.  I thank you from the bottom of my old heart.  Keeping my fingers and everything else crossed that they’ll fall in love with Mare’s Nest.   

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More with Lesley on MMBBR's:
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MORE REVIEWS OF LESLEY'S BOOKS 
By Mrs Mommy Booknerd



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