Emily’s Ride to Courage: Interview with Author, Sarah Maury Swan

book cover for Emily's Ride to Courage by Sarah Maury Swan
Emily’s Ride to Courage by Sarah Maury Swan

“Emily’s Ride to Courage: Interview with Author, Sarah Maury Swan” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I am honored to have Sarah Maury Swan as a guest on my blog to talk about her books, Emily’s Ride to Courage and Terror’s Identity. Thanks for being here, Sarah. 

Sarah Maury Swan, Author

Thanks for inviting me, Joan. I am excited to tell you and your readers about my books.

Great. Let’s get started.

1.Why did you write Emily’s Ride to Courage?
Sarah: I started this book several years ago when we had to put down a very lame 9-year-old Appaloosa gelding. I was washing windows after they took his body away, because it helped me to process my grief.  Grandpa’s voice came to me, saying “Won’t have me no white hoofed horse. One white hoof, maybe, but never no four white hooves.” 

But since I write for children, I couldn’t use Grandpa as the main character, so along came Emily Gordon. Then on the advice of an editor at Peachtree, I added more tension by having Emily’s Army Reservist mom be deployed to Afghanistan and Emily’s dad already away from home for a year. Emily’s older sister is angry that she had leave their Chicago home just as she is entering high school and go away for a year. “Eew, dirt,” she says. She’s also angry because there aren’t any dance studios with room for new students.

2. What genre is it?
Sarah: It’s a middle-grade horse story.

3. Who has inspired you to not only write your stories, but to get them published?
Sarah: I’ve always made up stories and my family has a number writers and artists, so I suppose that was part of my inspiration. My father was always submitting–mostly unsuccessfully–stories and poetry and both of his parents were journalists. Both of them had books published. But the trade publishing industry has gotten very full of aspiring authors. So after two all-the-way-to-the-marketing-people rejections, I decided to self publish, especially since that is no longer sneered at. And because I’m 76-years-old. As Grandpa would say, “Time’s awastin’.”

4. What was the most difficult thing to overcome in writing this book?
Sarah: Listening to my critique partners. Though I’m glad I did for the most part. Critique partners catch things the writer doesn’t see. They read your stories from a new prospective.

5. What character traits does Emily have that you believe readers will relate to?
Sarah: No matter how confident a person seems to be on the outside, we all have moments of self-doubt. Lots of children give into fears they feel. As do lots of adults. And lots of children don’t see the value of a particular subject in school. For Emily it’s math Why? I tried to give solutions for the problems the reader is facing.

6. How did you get interested in horses?
Sarah: As far as I can tell, I was born with a love of animals, horses in particular, and both my parents liked to ride. One time, a neighbor who was taking riding lessons from me, asked this question: If I had to choose just one animal that I loved, which would it be? She seemed mighty disappointed when I said a dog.

7.Who did the cover art for it?

Sarah: CreateSpace did the cover art and design. They ended up with a good cover, but they charged me additional $79 because I wanted a change. They picked a bay horse with only 3 white hooves. Emily’s horse has to have 4 white hooves because that’s Grandpa’s major objection. They did add the final white hoof. If I were to use the company again, I think I’d use my own design. Still, all in all, I’m pleased.

8. Which company did you choose to publish Emily’s Ride to Courage?
Sarah: I chose CreateSpace because Sable Books, the company I used for Terror’s Identity, was too busy to work with me right now. I heard good things about CreateSpace and saw several of their recently published books and talked to the authors. The books were nicely presented and the printing seemed to be of good quality. It doesn’t hurt that their price is less than the hybrid publisher I used for Terror’s Identity. On the other hand, SableBooks.org is easy to work with and quite thorough.

Now available from in Kindle format on Amazon:

Emily’s Ride to Courage

9. Tell us about your first book. Terror’s Identity.

Sarah: My first published book was Terror’s Identity. It is about a sixteen-year old boy who has to go into witness protection with his mother and sister because his father is investigating a group of terrorists who are causing problems in the U.S. The terrorists target his family.

The book is selling quite well and getting very good reviews. I’m on my third print run with the publisher, having sold almost 400 books. It is available from  Amazon, and from me at dale4sarah at suddenlink dot net.

And I got a great response from the judge at the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Books contest. Though it would have been lovely to have placed, I came close.

Judge’s Commentary from Writer’s Digest Self-Published Books Contest:
Terror’s Identity presents with a haunting cover design and an equally enticing cover blurb that were both certainly enough to get me hooked. But I was really very excited when I discovered that the author has a fantastic writing style and a voice that is perfectly suited for the genre. This is a really good book. Witness protection, terrorism, and one very brave hero named Aidan, what more could you ask for? This book certainly kept me entertained and turning the pages. The author has done a great job with strong, fast pacing that doesn’t lag. And an equally great job of realistic dialogue that also presents with a nix mix of dialogue and narrative. A great ending and just really strong storytelling left me wanting more. In fact, I hope to read more from this author. A solid entry. My only constructive criticism would be to keep any eye of incorrect use of dialogue tags, overuse of punctuation, and repetitive mannerisms and “ly” adverbs. All of these things are quite common in fiction, but tightening them up whenever possible will only make this a stronger entry. Best of luck with this book and thank you for sharing your world with us.

I try very hard not to use adverbs, but I guess I missed a few. I’ll do better next time.

10. What pleases you about your books?
Sarah: I’m pleased to have people read my books and I’ve enjoyed writing them. I also like reading books, and since I write for children, I find it especially enjoyable to read recently published children’s books and then tell people about them on my blog: http://sarahsbookreflections.com. I also send the reviews to the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database.

11. What’s been your favorite way to promote a book of yours? 
Sarah: One of my favorite ways to promote my book is by going to our local farmer’s market here in New Bern, NC. I meet lots of local people and people visiting this lovely town. What could be better than being a writer observing people as they go about their business. Many opportunities for making up characters in my head present themselves, like the fellow wearing a khaki kilt and a t-shirt with the logo commenting on the slow medical care given to our veterans. His graying goatee flowing half way down his chest most definitely will show up in a story that I write.
Being the blabber mouth that I am, I happily tell anybody who’ll listen about my books. I’ve sold a lot of books that way, because I almost always have copies in my car.

Here are two other blog posts about Sarah Maury Swan:
“Terror’s Identity:” Interview with Sarah Maury Swan, Author and Reviewer
Please leave a comment or question for Sarah by clicking below and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

Sarah’s website: https://sarahmauryswanlovesbooks.com

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Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2018 Joan Y. Edwards
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