Many thanks to author Jane Ayres who has kindly agreed to do an interview for the ponymadbooklovers blog. Jane is the author of a number of pony books including The Great Horse Rescue, Gallery of Horses and the Mattie series.
Hello Jane and thanks for talking to us!
Can you remember what made you fall in love with horses?
No, but I have always loved horses. I do think they are especially beautiful and inspiring creatures.
What were your favourite pony books and authors as a child? Do you have an all time favourite pony story?
I loved them all and luckily we were spoilt for choice in the 70s! I enjoyed the Pullein Thompson sisters stories and still have most of my pony books in a huge box under the bed! I really liked Jago by Hazel M Peel.
Do you still read pony books?
Yes, when I get the time. The most recent books I read were from the Heartlands series.
What is the best book you have read recently (horse-related or otherwise)?
The last (non-horsey) novel I read was Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce, a fabulous book which appeals to children and adults.
Did you always want to be a writer?
How did you become an author and what was your first published work?
I had my first short story published when I was 14. It was called Dream Pony and was about a psycho show pony that attacks another pony at a show! It was published in Pony World magazine (no longer exists) and I was paid £10! That was the start. I kept writing pony stories and then serials, and when I was in my twenties I was lucky enough to be taken on by my wonderful agent, The Luithlen Agency after which I produced a collection of short stories called Horses in the Gallery for Collins Armada. And I’ve just kept going ever since.
Do you write any books other than pony stories. If so what?
I’ve written poems, articles and short stories on a range of topics. I also wrote a book for Stabenfeldt called Coming Home which was about 2 Norwegian Forest cats.
Are any of the horses and ponies in your books based on real life horses you have known?
Yes, lots, ranging from Binky, the little dapple grey I rode as a child who would bolt and then stop dead, shooting you over his head, to enormous bay Soames, my favourite riding school horse, who taught me how to do smoother transitions.
Do you have a favourite amongst your books, and/or a favourite character?
Transitions is probably the book I am most happy with. But I also enjoyed writing the character of Matty in the Matty series as she is fun to be.
Do you have any other books due to be published in the near future? Or are you working on one?
Last Chance Horse comes out in March (Stabenfeldt) and includes the US (not UK though). I’m now thinking about ideas for the next book.
How do you feel about the fact that most of your pony books are published outside of the UK?
I do wish that the books were published in the UK too.
Do you think that British publishers are ‘anti-pony book’ and if so do you have any explanations for this?
I don’t think they are anti, but it is a shame that there isn’t the huge pony book market here that existed when I was a teenager over 30 years ago.
Do you agree that pony books provide good role models for children, in particular girls, and if so why do you think this is?
I think they can do but it depends on the book.
You have written both traditional pony stories and some with fantasy elements.
Do you think that fantasy is somewhat taking over pony books, and indeed children’s books in general?
I couldn’t really say as I have not read enough, but fantasy is certainly very popular right now, especially vampire stories. I don’t think that’s bad though.
Do you have a favourite past-time (other than books and animals!)?
I love hula hooping! I go to a weekly class and have 2 hoops and know a few tricks.
Do you have any horses or other pets of your own?
Not at present. I used to have an amazing silver tabby called Biffa who we sadly lost when he was only 6 months old. I also owned a Welsh cob mare called Mellyn for a brief period.
Although I am unable to have a pet at present I am a keen supporter of the Brooke Hospital for Animals http://www.thebrooke.org/ and would urge all animal lovers to look at the work they do.Many thanks for your questions!
Jane Ayres Bibliography:
GALLERY OF HORSES
THE GREAT HORSE RESCUE
MATTIE AND THE MOONLIGHT HORSE
MATTIE AND THE PROBLEM PONY
THE HORSE ON THE BALCONY
THE RUNAWAY HORSE
ZEPHYR OF WILD HORSE ISLAND
I have reviewed some of these in my last blog post. You can also find out more by visiting the Jane Ayres page on the website.