When I reached “The End” of Fresh Start Summer, I thought about the promise Grace made to take Maggie pony trekking.
I’d already outlined Autumn Changes (due out Autumn 2012), and knew it wouldn’t fit, so I had a quick production meeting with myself. “Self,” I said, “this would make a perfect novella.” So the short story, Grace & Maggie Across the Pond, was born.
I enjoyed developing the characters, Emma and Fiona, and reliving our years in England while Gary was in the Air Force.
Like the Brits, we frequented our own local, The Barley Mow, where we’d tip a few with our mates after a long day of riding, or flying, or what not. I usually tipped a few ice waters, which, by the way, I personally taught the barkeep how to make. Gary gamely attempted to develop a taste for bitters.
But mostly we enjoyed the custom of noshing with our neighbors, discussing politics (they love to discuss American politics and know A LOT), and the Royals (we were there for Charles and Diana’s wedding) but learning not to disparage the queen in any way. Ahem. (But seriously, what does she carry in that handbag?)
And, yep, that’s me on the horse. That’s actually a mare I rode before moving to England where I was a working student in a British riding school, Newton Hall. I was pursuing the prestigious British Horse Society levels qualifying as an instructor.
Think “The Army meets Horse Camp.” Without people shooting at you.
Correction, there were barbs, not bullets flying. But all in your best interest, designed to make you the best rider possible. Or else.
Under the headmistress’ strict tutelage, I earned my level 2 out of 4 possible levels before Gary’s orders moved us back to the States. The experience riding there was priceless.
And I might have picked up a bit of an accent. So much that my “clients,” as the day riders were called, thought I was a Brit.