Monday, April 4, 2011
Interview with Author Ellen F. Feld
Hello Ellen. Welcome to my blog. This novel is for ages 9-12 and has won the Children's Choice Award. Please tell us about your new book.
Your book sounds like it has suspense. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
While my books are all fiction, much of each tale is based on experiences that I, or friends, have had with our horses. All the horses are based on real horses and in fact, my illustrator uses pictures of each when she’s working on the cover art.
In “Frosty,” Heather gets lost in the woods. Thankfully, that never happened to me but I did have a friend who once got lost. I asked her what happened and she told me, “Well, there was this deer…. and it was very foggy…” so I used that in my book. Also, Frosty gets bitten by a snake while in the woods. Again, it didn’t happen to any of my horses, but I have another friend who had a horse get bitten on the nose by a snake. She gave me every little detail of that experience and I took that information and wrapped it into the story. Finally, there’s a sub-plot in “Frosty” where Blackjack gets ill with all these really strange symptoms. The vet in the book is stumped. Well, the real Blackjack did get very sick (he’s fine now!) and the vet couldn’t figure it out. He had to call in a specialist. So I again used that in the book. I condensed the time – the whole event spanned over 6 months – and replaced technical jargon with much easier text that young readers would understand, but otherwise it was true to life. It turned into a nice little mystery plot. I’ve had numerous vets read the book because of the case – it was quite unusual.
Wow! You’ve certainly got my interest. I read Black Beauty as a young girl and thoroughly enjoyed it. The author wanted her readers to understand the importance of treating an animal right…to treat them with love and respect. Did you have anything in mind that you wanted your readers to learn as you wrote this book?
Yes, absolutely. There are so many horse books on the market today that anthropomorphize horses; stories where a young girl befriends a wild stallion and he helps her with some crises. Well, horses don’t do that! It really bothers me to have kids read that sort of story and think it’s real. So all my horse stories are true to life. I have a veterinarian consultant who fact checks all my stories. I’ve used trainers as consultants and I even have a medical doctor who checks my human action. Have you ever read a story/seen a movie where a character gets injured and is up and doing fine in the next scene when you know that’s just not possible? If a character falls off a horse and breaks her wrist, I don’t want her riding the next day. Of course, having said all this, the story must first and foremost be a lot of fun to read! Without a fun story, everything else is irrelevant.
I agree with you. What does your family think about your writing?
They’re used to it and don’t get terribly excited. I’ve been writing for horse magazines for about 30 years so my kids have grown up with a mother who has always written. They do, however, get excited when one of their horses is featured in a book.
It’s so nice getting to know you in this interview. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Um…. How about that I have an Amazon Gray (parrot) named Razzy who is terribly neurotic and has a nervous head twitch? But he talks up a storm and makes everybody laugh.
I love it. I wish I could listen to him talk. Thanks for your time, Ellen.
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