Saturday, August 13, 2016

#MMBBR #Showcase Cotton Candy Sally Finds a Home by Karen Belove @CottonCandySall

The book is titled Cotton Candy Sally Finds a Home. It's the newly published, debut book in The Sally Horse Chronicles -- a series of character-driven, heartfelt horse books for middle graders.

Cotton Candy Sally Finds a Home stands out from other books in this genre of horse stories. I’ve been a serious, passionate rider and have owned horses for over 30 years – so I know the landscape: the training, the barns, the people, and most importantly – the horses, and the bond that can develop between horse and human. As a result, this book and the series are not just social interactions between children in a barn setting. They are about a horse and her person, and they take readers on an adventurous, emotional journey that unfolds between an “unmanageable” horse and a troubled 12-year old girl.

To quote an Amazon reviewer, “Cotton Candy Sally Finds a Home is a story about commitment, loyalty, sharing, love, dignity, respect and friendship…”

"Belove’s attention to superb" -- Kirkus Reviews

“Heart warming and beautifully written.” – Amazon Reviewer

“A modern day Black Beauty” – Amazon Reviewer

“This beautifully written book captured my heart” – Amazon Reviewer

Karen Belove

KAREN BELOVE discovered the magic of horses long ago, while mucking out stalls at a riding school in New York City. That’s where she bought her first horse, and when her horse adventures began. Since then, she has been involved in many aspects of the sport, including dressage, eventing, and cross-country jumping.

Ms. Belove thought about writing The Sally Horse Chronicles when she first fell in love with horses at that riding school in New York -- and has now made the series a reality. She still spends much of her time in New York City, but has a home in upstate New York where she rides the beautiful horse trails of Dutchess County. Ms. Belove also has a golden retriever and four cats, all of whom love horses almost as much as she does.

"Belove’s attention to detail when describing the world of horse training is superb" -- Kirkus Reviews

"A wholesome tale that will appeal to horse aficionados of the younger set." -- Kirkus Reviews

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A.  I’m a big daydreamer, and often weave stories in my mind when I’m walking on the trails, taking a shower, even when going to sleep. If I feel very deeply about something, or if events affect me in a strong or emotional way, I’m compelled to create a story around my feelings or events that have mattered to me – to put it down on paper and make the stories somehow come alive emotionally for my readers.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A. I often think about the details of a story for a very long time before I sit at the computer and write. My absolute favorite part of being a writer is when I’m writing, and the story starts to write itself… almost as if everything I’ve been thinking of for so long finally just flows out of me as prose and onto the paper. It’s a wonderful feeling.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A.  Two things really. One is that it is a rather lonely enterprise. It’s a very solitary thing to do. I often start writing at 6:00 in the morning, and sometimes, at 1:00 in the afternoon, I realize I haven’t spoken to anyone or even gotten out of my pajamas! The second most difficult part is when I get stuck. I can’t figure out how to make a chapter come alive. At that point, I usually leave it for a few days, let it marinate in my mind, and go back to it when I think I have a solution.

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A.  If I weren’t a writer, I’d like to be a veterinarian. I’ve always loved animals, and when growing up, that was my big ambition.

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. The wacky world of a baby boomer.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A.   Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.  When I was young, I fell in love with the Beezus and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I was the youngest of two girls, and when I read the first book about Beezus and Ramona, I thought wow – Ramona is just like me! Always getting into trouble while trying to be good, always a rascal. Until then, I didn’t realize there were other kids who felt just like me.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?

A.  I’m most like the character Kara, in Cotton Candy Sally Finds a Home.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. I love the Fall. I live in New York state, and the color of the leaves, the smells, the cool air are just wonderful. It’s a magic time of year in New York, and it makes people realize how wondrous nature can be.

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  Or what is your favorite book cover and why?

A.  I spent a lot of time looking for the right photograph that would depict the personality of Cotton Candy Sally. It had to be a bay horse, looking right at the reader. The horse had to somehow portray that she was sassy, smart, emotional and very special.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A.  I was reading Cotton Candy Sally Finds a Home to middle graders at a summer horseback riding camp. When I was done reading, everybody wanted to know if Sally was a real horse (yes) and if she was my horse (yes). Then, they wanted to know if I ever fell off. They thought it was very funny and we had a lot of laughs when I told them that I never came off until the day that I handed over a check to the barn owner and bought her. I told them what someone told me once: “You’re not a real rider until you come off at least three times!”

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A.  Yes, I’m currently writing the second book in The Sally Horse Chronicles. It’s called Cotton Candy Sally Meets a Friend, and continues the story of Cotton Candy Sally and Kara. Many characters from the first book might just re-appear!

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Cotton Candy Sally Finds a Home, and all the other books in The Sally Horse Chronicles, feature more than interactions between children in a barn setting. They dig down deep into the feelings of a troubled young girl, and reveal many truisms of the horse world that people may not know about. Feelings of sadness, longing, great joy and surprise are universal… and I like to let my readers know that they’re not alone in trying to working through their difficulties.

Book link to Amazon: 

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