Monday, July 12, 2010

Interview with Author Jennifer Walker – Young Adult Fiction Novelist

Jennifer Walker is a full time freelance writer. She has published articles in Modern Arabian Horse, Arabian Horse Times, and Sierra Style, including monthly contributions to Horseman's News magazine. She owns some beautiful Arabian horses and enjoys writing about her first love… horses! Another love of hers is Jennifer’s husband, Greg, who just happens to be a professional chef. How lucky is that!!! She also has other interests besides horses. Jennifer is a professional ballroom dance instructor.

Hello, Jennifer. When I was a teen, one of my favorite books was Black Beauty. Tell us about your book, Bubba Goes National.

Bubba Goes National is about a 13-year-old girl, Leslie Clark, who finds an Arabian horse at a livestock auction. She takes him home, finds out he is immensely talented and starts taking him to horse shows. It is a dream come true when she takes him all the way to the National Championships, but along the way she has to deal with her snotty rich rival, Kate. Readers learn about the care and showing of horses and the value of hard work, but the book is not preachy.

I started writing this story a few years ago, and it took me a couple years to finish because I kept wandering away and coming back. After some excellent editing and advice from my mentor, Michelle L. Devon, I decided to publish it. It's been a lot of fun getting Bubba Goes National out to the public and hearing how much people love it.

Where did you get your ideas? Do you get most of them from life experiences since you own horses?

Many of my ideas do come from real life. I've never had a lot of money, so I've worked off a lot of training and lessons, just like Leslie. Some of the horse show scenes in Bubba Goes National come from actual experiences I've had, either as a youth or in recent years, although I embellish a lot. Of course, some of it is just completely made up!

Creating a book isn’t easy. Do you use an outline when you write or play it by ear?

I'm too lazy to do outlines--I need instant gratification! I like to just sit down and start writing something I can eventually do something with. However, it scares me to start a story without knowing how to finish it. I had Bubba figured out after a couple of brainstorming sessions and kept a loose outline in my head. I did that with another book I wrote and it went very smoothly. However, the sequel to Bubba Goes National is sitting on my hard drive right now while I frantically try to figure out the ending because I didn't do that before I started. Since I have a goal to finish Bubba to the Rescue by the end of July, I'd better come up with something fast!

I know what you mean. You may have a great plot, but there needs to be a good ending. A reviewer, Michelle L. Devon, wrote, “Bubba Goes National is a sweet story, but it also tackles some of the more difficult issues teens have to deal with these days, such as death of a parent, competitive rivalry, overcoming tough obstacles, and working hard to earn something. It’s a story any teen girl who has ever dreamed of having her own horse will want to read, and horse-loving grownup girls will too!” Tell me your thoughts about this review.

I think she pretty well nailed what this story is about. It pleased me to hear that someone reading the story got out of it what I wanted them to, and it touches me that she believes in it as much as I do.

What does your husband think about your writing style?

I think he might be one of my biggest fans, and not just because he's contractually obligated to be! He is an avid reader in several different genres, but teenage horse books written for girls isn't usually one of them. He honestly loved the story and is constantly pushing me to get it out there. He is also a writer himself and has a really fun writing style. He needs to get some stories out so people can read and enjoy them.

This interview has been so fun. Okay, tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Oy, this is a hard one. How about...when I was 17, I qualified for the national championships in a particular class that is only for riders 17 and under (equitation, which you learn in Bubba Goes National is judged on the rider instead of the horse). I leased a horse from New Hampshire and had her shipped to Kentucky for the show. The local horse clubs where I lived in California held fundraisers to help me raise the money to go, plus I worked two jobs to raise money while still riding as much as I could to practice. My mother and I rode a Greyhound bus for three days to get there, I got to ride the horse twice before my class, and then I showed. I didn't make the first cut, but it was an experience I'll never forget! It was the only time in my whole life I got to go to nationals to show until last year. I still don't have a national title, but I'm thinking about trying to go this year with my new horse. Keep your fingers crossed for me! A few book sales would sure help me get there. :)

Wow! What a wonderful experience! I can just imagine your excitement at age 17… and even now as you try for the Nationals once again. Thanks for the opportunity of getting to know you.


Christine H said...

I'd love a chance to win this book. It would make a great gift since I don't have kids myself. My BFF has a son thats getting near reading age. Thanks for the giveaway!!

Sarah Dooley said...

Ooh, can I enter? I'm a "horse-loving grown-up girl" and I love reading horse books!

Laurie said...

I hope you are selling oodles of books. I know who will get this if I am lucky enough to win. She has to let me read it too though, lol.

Thanks for the giveaway, Linda.

freesong1 at AOL dot com

Anonymous said...

This is a very nice interview of a very interesting person. ^_^ Hope the work on the next book goes smoothly!

Anonymous said...

Tammy Goode ( Duenas ) said

I really like the interview. I remeber how you really liked horses back in middle and high school. My daughter really likes horses too and she thought the book looks good. She is the same age as the charater in your book.


Mozi Esme said...

I've had to develop an interest in horses thanks to my daughter's fascination with them! Several of our neighbors have them, which is enough for her right now... :)

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings:

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely story. Been a while since a book had me not want to put it down. I am anxiously awaiting your sequel. Good Luck !!! Jean K.

Anonymous said...

Great interview. Sounds like a good book. Hope I'm lucky enough to win.


Anonymous said...

Am posting again...I forgot my email...


Anonymous said...

I love reading young adult books even though I am a senior - one who is young at heart.

Horse stories are near the top of my reading list and I have attended National Championships as a spectator. Never give up your dream to win.

Please enter my name in your drawing.

Helen Kiker

karenk said...

this sounds like a fun book to read...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

holdenj said...

This sounds like such a fun book. And I liked the author's own story about how she leased a horse for competition! Thanks for the chance to win.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, Linda. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Jennifer Walker said...

Thank you, Linda, for the interview...and all of you for your comments!

Martha Lawson said...

Fascinating interview. The book sounds really good! I love reading about horses and I'd love to win this one. Thanks.

I follow

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Ok, try this again. Would love to have a copy of this book with your signature. Has a special meaning to me. Love your photo of your dancing - graceful!

Meredith said... took a lot of work for you to get to the Nationals! Congrats on just getting there!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

mom2girls said...

I am entering for my horse loving 9 year old daughter who would love so much to read your book. She would love to learn more from you about horses!

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Congratulations, Martha Lawson. You are the winner of Bubba Goes National. I know you'll enjoy it. Thanks everyone for participating in this fun interview.