I have a lovely guest post from Hollie Marsh today talking about her series of books Sweetbriars. They are books I would have loved as a young girl as I was horse mad!
Hi Hollie and thanks for joining me today. Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?
I wrote the manuscript for Sweetbriars almost fifteen years ago in Australia.
My dream was to create a new Saddle Club series as I loved these types of books… books with fun, addictive characters that love horses, and evolve as the series progresses.
A year and a half ago I had a baby and I hadn’t forgotten my book dream… so I dug out the manuscript and worked on it a few hours each day, whilst I was at home with my baby.
My last professional job was not creative at all, so doing something creative was enjoyable and a welcome change.
As I’d lived in England for almost ten years I changed the book to be set in the stunning countryside of Devon – where my Oldenburg foal was bred. The book is based on the many experiences I had whilst enjoying horse life in the UK – competing in dressage competitions, exploring bridleways and spectating at big horse shows. Also growing up riding ponies, going to Pony Club and having many fun adventures with my friends.
What were you childhood/teenage favourite reads?
The Saddle Club followed by The Baby Sitters Club – I was addicted to these books… they were like T.V. in a book. I used to trade the books with my friends once we were finished and we would talk about the characters and stories for hours, finding common ground between our lives and theirs! We would use our pocket money to buy each new book released and take pride in owning the collection of these books ( :
I also adored more classics such as Flambards by K.M. Peyton and Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?
Getting lovely reviews. That is an incredible feeling, especially as a debut author.
Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?
Our family of four – my partner, baby boy and horse Frieda. I’ve taken time out from my professional career and a good part of it has been spent finishing this book. My partner has been supportive, believing in me and my baby boy inspires me with his pure love of life. As for Frieda, the best way for me to clear my head and feel ‘at home’ is by sitting on a horse. Feeling that partnership with such a special animal, in nature, has always been grounding for me
Thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroupTours for inviting me to be part of the tour. Sweetbriars book 1 is available now in paperback and as an ebook. You can order your copy here: Sweetbriars
From the back of the book
Welcome to the yard! Come and meet the girls… Cate, Tabby and Violet and their beautiful horses.
Cate is uprooted from life as she has known it. Along with her family and her gorgeous palomino show horse Odette, she moves to a charming farm deep in the English countryside.
Cate is torn. Upon moving to horse heaven, she had to leave behind her best friend Beth and her beloved horse-riding instructor Bridget. On the other hand, she has fallen in love with Sweetbriars, the farm her family has bought to make their dreams come true.
Setting up an equestrian centre at Sweetbriars is fun to Cate, but settling into a new school and having a stern Pony Club riding instructor that teaches dressage is less so. At school, Cate makes friends with Violet, who is confident and wacky, and through Pony Club she gets to know Tabby, who is sweet and popular, but hides a family secret. When the eccentric neighbour Sophia becomes a regular ‘drop in’ to the farm, Cate begins to learn about acceptance and what friendships really mean. The girls’ lives will be intertwined in ways they could never have imagined thanks to their shared passion for horses and Cate’s determination to make Sweetbriars a success.
Will Cate ever settle into living in the countryside?
Sweetbriars is a proud supporter of The Riding for The Disabled (RDA) and for every book sold, a percentage of the book sale will be donated to this wonderful charity.
About the author
Hollie is an Australian author who lives in Barcelona, Spain with her partner, baby boy, and Oldenburg mare, Frieda. After having a professional career, including creating the equestrian online shop Equiporium (since sold), working for many large multinational companies, and having a baby, Hollie reconnected with her passion of writing and finished the manuscript she wrote many years ago.
Hollie has been riding since she was a little girl, enjoying activities such as Pony Club, showjumping, eventing, and trail-riding in the great Australian bush. Hollie lived in England for almost ten years where she had two horses and trained them for dressage.
The Sweetbriars series is inspired by all the special moments Hollie spent with horses… good, funny, and challenging moments!
In creating the new Sweetbriars series, Hollie hopes that readers will not only find the books fun to read, but they will also inspire readers to learn more about horses.