Friday, February 27, 2015

A HORSE FOR KATE - Miralee Ferrell - One Free Book

Welcome back, Miralee. How did this book come about?
A few years ago I attended a writers’ conference and met Alice Crider, an editor at a major publishing house. She asked what I wrote, and I told her my newest book, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California, had released earlier that year. She said she’d spotted it in the conference bookstore and planned to buy a copy, as the cover intrigued her. As we chatted, I discovered we shared a love of horses and riding, and I felt as though I’d found a new friend.

Sometime after the conference, I received an email from Alice saying she’d read my book and loved it. She suggested I consider writing a series of horse novels for girls, as so many young girls have always dreamed of owning a horse. I thanked her and said I’d think about it but tucked it back on a mental shelf. I had already made a change from writing women’s contemporary fiction to historical romance and wasn’t sure my career would be improved by adding another genre.

Several months later, during a Wednesday-night service at church, our pastor challenged us to pray about the direction our lives were headed and to ask God if there was anything He wanted us to change. I did, and I was surprised at the answer. I felt strongly that He was directing me to write the girls’ horse novels Alice had suggested.

Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
I had a clear picture of the covers for all four of the books in this series, and I knew the first one had to include Kate and her best friend Tori, along with a horse. Since horses and friendship are a part of each story, it was important to me that both be depicted on every cover. I’ve been extremely pleased with how the graphic designer has brought each of my concepts to life with the gorgeous covers he’s created. Book two and three are even better, and I can’t wait to share them as well.

I want to feature all of them on my blog. Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
Most of the book is fiction, other than the setting and the horse details. I’ve ridden for over 40 years and raised a horse-crazy daughter who took lessons growing up, so I’m very familiar with the equine world. I wove as much horse adventure into the book as I could, and placed the story in Odell, Oregon, a farming and orchard community across the Columbia River from my home, and nestled at the base of Mt. Hood.

How much research did you have to do for this book?
Not much. Because I live near Odell, and my daughter took lessons at a large barn in that area, I had a clear picture in my mind of what I wanted to depict. I’m also very familiar with both Western and English riding, so there was little research required. The only area I researched was the subject of autism. I’ve been around a number of autistic adults and children at church, as well as children of friends, but I went a little deeper by asking questions of a woman I know who is helping to raise her autistic grandson—a boy the same age as Pete—the autistic child in my story.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
Two things: I hadn’t planned much for Pete, Kate’s autistic little brother—he was going to be more of a background figure when I started, but he evolved into much more than that. I’ve had two advance readers already state he’s their favorite character, although I never intended to have him in the spotlight. The other factor was the friendship that developed between the three main kids, Kate, Tori, and Colt, who are very different in their own way. I’ve gotten to know and love these kids, and I didn’t expect to make such an emotional connection with them.

I love it when that happens with my characters. What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
My readers for this book are children ages 8-13, a bit different from the norm for my work. I’d have to say I hope they attain a better understanding of friendship and forgiveness, as well as gaining the ability to see handicaps and disappointments in a new light.

What is the next project you’re working on?
It’s actually book three and four in this series, Mystery Rider and Blue Ribbon Trail Ride. I just finished proofreading book two, Silver Spurs, which releases in three short months on June 1, and today I’m starting copy edits for book three, Mystery Rider, and in a few days, I’ll be working on the full edit for book four, Blue Ribbon Trail Ride. Then I plan to return to historical romance with a novella currently under contract with Barbour … beyond that, another three-book trade series set in the Old West.

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
Something that ties in quite well with the story line in this series—I go horseback riding with my daughter. I lost my Arabian mare a little over a year ago to old age, but I ride my son-in-law’s mare now, and my daughter and I enjoy many wonderful hours on the trails, spring through fall.

Please give us the first page of the book.
This was the absolute worst day of Kate Ferris’s life. Ever. She hunkered deeper into the back seat of her family’s Subaru Outback and glared out the window at the passing scenery. Why did God allow her dad to lose his job in Spokane? And, even more important, why hadn’t He answered her prayer about staying in the only home she’d known all her life? She dreaded trying to make new friends in this strange place. Staying at home with her dog and her family was so much easier.

Her seven-year-old brother sat up and thumped on the window. “Horses, Kate. Look.” The words were flat and expressionless, but Peter emphasized each one with another tap on the window.

Kate removed her ear buds and peered where he pointed. “Cool.” A pasture extended from the two-lane road and off toward the looming snow-capped Mt. Hood. “How many do you see?”

“Eleven.” He pressed his nose tight against the glass. “Four more. Look.”

Kate grinned, amazed once again at his ability with numbers. His autism kept him from communicating in other ways, but ask how many of something he saw and he got it right every time. “What colors are they?”

Peter hunched down deeper, and the humming started again.

Kate’s mother draped her arm across the edge of the front seat and glanced back. “How
many brown ones, Pete?”

“Six.” He kept his face toward the road and gently rocked in time to the tune.

Dad smiled at Kate’s mom. “Don’t worry, Nan. He’s going to be happier once he’s out in the country. It’ll be so much better than being cooped up in that apartment.”

Kate reached over the back seat and stroked the coat of their German shepherd. The dog licked her hand as though sensing her distress. “Rufus will be happy too.” Everyone will be happy but me. “It feels like we’ve been in this car for days.”

Her dad laughed. “It’s only been six hours since we left, Kate. We’ll be home in another five minutes.”

I’m loving this story, Miralee. I want to feature all four in the series. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m always expanding my website, and I’d love to have new subscribers. They can sign up for my newsletter as well.

I can also be found on my Fan Group at Facebook at

And follow me on Twitter at

Thank you, Miralee, for sharing this new book with us. I'm eager to start reading it when my copy arrives.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Horse for Kate -
A Horse for Kate (Horses and Friends) - Amazon
A Horse for Kate (Horses and Friends Book 1) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Caryl McAdoo said...

This is exactly the kind of book I would read when in grade school. My librarian used to order every new horse book she could find for me, and I couldn't wait for the next one! I did finally get my own horse and named him Twinkle Toes because he reminded me of Merrylegs in Black Beauty. He rode home in my lap in the back seat of Daddy's car - a Shetland foal :) We were best friends! Looking forward to reading this one!

Melissa M. said...

This looks good. :) Please enter me--thanks!

-Melissa M. from TN

Miralee Ferrell said...

Caryl, I love your story of bringing Twinkle Toes home in the back seat of your car, that's precious! I was the same--I read every horse-related book I could find.

Melissa, thank you for stopping by. I hope you get a chance to read it, or give it to a girl who might enjoy it.


Deanna Stevens said...

Another good book review... I'd like to read this Miralee ! !
Dee from NE

Melanie Backus said...

Miralee is a great author. Thank you for this wonderful interview. I would love to read her book.

Melanie Backus, TX

Miralee Ferrell said...

Hi Deanna and Melanie, it's so nice to see you gals here. Thanks for stopping by!!

mongupp said...

I'd like my daughters to read this book.

Miralee Ferrell said...

mongupp said...
I'd like my daughters to read this book.

Thank you! If you don't win a copy, I hope you'll consider getting one for them.

Brenda Arrington said...

This looks great. Please enter me.

Miralee Ferrell said...

Thanks, Brenda! I appreciate you stopping by.

Mary Preston said...

This promises to be a very interesting read.

Mary P


apple blossom said...

Oh, I'd love to share this book with the students I teach. Thanks for the chance to win

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Unknown said...

Horse books! My favorite! Thanks for the giveaway :D


Vera Godley said...

Sounds like a good book to add to our Christian school library. I'd love to win it for them.

I'm in NC

Bonnie Leon said...

I really enjoyed this interview, Miralee. You are keeping busy.

Your new book sounds like one my granddaughter would enjoy. I'd love to win a copy for her.

Blessings to you.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in this awesome giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Miralee Ferrell said...

Thank you, ladies! I love that you're interested in having your school libraries and grandchildren read it, or want to read it yourself. I hope you'll consider spreading the word to anyone you know who has a child this age that you think might enjoy it. Blessings!

susanlulu said...

I grew up with horses, and I've always like reading horse stories.

susanlulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Library Lady said...

A horse for Katie sounds like it would be a wonderful addition to the children's section in the church library.
I would love to win the paperback version of it.
Janet E.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful book for tweens and horse lovers! I have read one of Miralee's historical fiction books and loved it, so I am sure this book is a winner too!
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Beth Gillihan said...

My daughter would love to read this book! Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Miralee Ferrell said...

I love hearing the comments from so many of you ladies who read horse books when you were young. I'm tickled you're interested in A Horse for Kate, for a girl in your life, or your school or library, or even to read for yourself. Thank you all for taking the time to stop and leave a comment.

A Cooking Bookworm said...

My daughter is at the 'horse' stage and devours every book she can get her hands on! I am sure she would love this!

Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com

Miralee Ferrell said...

Stephanie, I hope your daughter gets a chance to read A Horse for Kate. Thanks!