Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wonder Horse by Anita Daher

Welcome to my stop on the Wonder Horse blog tour! I've got a guest post by Anita and a sweet giveaway you'll want to enter down below. Thanks for coming :)

~About the Book~

Wonder Horse by Anita Daher was published on May 8, 2015 by Rebelight Publishing.

Fitting into a new school in a new city isn’t easy, but dreams come true for Sera with a gift from her parents: a gorgeous and spirited American Paint horse. Sera’s bubble bursts when a mean girl, Brittany, tells her that neither she nor her less than well-trained horsebelong with the rest of the “reiners” in their riding class. As Sera sets out to prove Brittany wrong, she risks losing her passion for training and the friendship of Dev, another girl who truly understands her.

An earlier version of this story was originally published by Stabenfeldt (Stavanger, Norway) in 2011 as Wager the Wonder Horse and distributed in six languages: Norwegian, Hungarian, Czech, German, Finnish and Swedish.

~About the Author~

Anita Daher has been entrenched in the publishing industry since 1995, and is (thus far) author of fourteen books for children and teens. Aside from short stints as grave-plot seller, tour guide, and children’s party clown, she’s worked in aviation, publishing and broadcasting. When not word wrangling, she enjoys inhabiting characters on stage and screen.

Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

~Author Guest Post~

Good morning! Thanks for inviting me to stop by. Wonder Horse is a novel dear to my heart, inspired by the real life relationship between my youngest daughter, Sara, and her horse, Wager.

Before I tell you how the novel came to be, and discuss some of the themes within it, I’d like to share the true story at the root of it.

My husband and I began our lives together both employed by Canada’s air traffic services industry. We found ourselves moving every few years, and though there are many wonderful things about moving—exploring new communities and regions on a deep level than “just visiting,” making many new friends—there are also drawbacks. It isn’t easy to make friends, and then have to say goodbye, over and over again. It isn’t easy to always feel like an outsider.

I know this, because I lived it as well, moving often as a young child. I could relate to both my daughters struggling to make new connections, fitting in. My eldest became very adaptable, and with a smile that could light up a room, and made new friends fairly easily—at least, that is how it looked to her younger sister. Sara had difficulty—her personality very different from that of her sister. Everything changed for her, however, when she attended a summer riding camp. She loved it! She loved horses! And she made friends who had the same passions. Camp led to lessons, which eventually led to a horse of your own: a young black and white American Paint Horse named Wager.

When my agent asked me a few years ago if I had any “top of my head” horse story ideas, I knew the relationship between Sara and Wager would be the heart of my story. Fitting in would be a theme, as it is in many of my stories. I didn’t consciously decide on it. It was just there. I imagined a story about a girl, just moved to Winnipeg, eventually finding a sense of belonging and who she was through her relationship with a horse.

Wager is the one true character in this novel. As he is in the story—spirited, with a big personality—so he is in real life.

Because my memories of being a “new girl” have never completely faded, I drew on some of my own life experiences—the hurt of being called “little girl” by an older, popular girl at my new high school. It brought to mind the more subtle forms of bullying which exist. I wanted to show the complexities of relationships that exist between best friends, new friends, non-friends, friends who you think are friends but maybe aren’t truly…all things we struggle to balance and sort during our adolescent and teen years.

Time spent around horses can teach us so much—about communication, kindness, trust, assertion, confidence. My daughter Sara, like fictional Sera in the story, spent time with Wager every day, not just riding him, but working with him, teaching him, just as he taught her. Eventually we moved Wager to a schooling barn where they both took lessons, just as Sera and Wager did in the story. During all this time they played, challenged, succeeded. It was a joy to watch, and to draw upon.

Wonder Horse is a made up story woven from what if and fun, but at its heart there is truth, as there is in every story. Emotional truth. This is what connects us as human beings, fellow travelers in life, no matter where we live, what our circumstance.

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