Hi everyone! I'm so happy to welcome Shannon Kennedy to Honestly YA. She's graciously providing us a giveaway of her new release, NO HORSE WANTED, but first...
By Shannon Kennedy
If my life actually was a high school musical, I think it’d be a variation of Oklahoma since I grew up on a pony farm and now live at the family riding stable in the Cascade foothills. My daily chores include feeding 32 horses, cats, dogs, and organizing the staff all before my first, much needed cup of coffee. That’s in the summer – during the school year, I’m a substitute teacher. I feed horses and then go off to school, grateful the mocha stand is on the way!
I love the movie version of Oklahoma with Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. I grew up on a pony farm in north Everett and my mother, a single parent took my sisters and me to visit my grandparents every week. It was one of the rare chances when I got to be a kid, not in charge of the universe, the pony farm and my sisters while my mother worked to support all of us. Because of all my responsibilities, I didn’t have many opportunities for extracurricular activities at school. The ponies and other livestock always came first. Then my sisters! Occasionally, it was the other way around.
On those visits, my grandfather introduced me to Louis L’Amour westerns and I absolutely adored the cowboys who rode through those pages. If it was a cowboy, guaranteed Granddad would watch the movie, even musicals. When Gordon MacRae sang to Shirley Jones, I pretended it was me. Who wouldn’t want a hero who could make you feel that “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow and everything’s goin my way - - -?”
My grandfather told me stories of growing up in Sequim, Washington in the early 1900s. His widowed mother used to cook for various farmers and logging outfits around the area. She’d put him in his little red wagon before dawn. Then, she’d pull him over trails, muddy tracks and gravel roads to the farm kitchens to start a long work day. At nightfall, when the kitchen was scrubbed clean, she’d pack the leftover food and my grandfather in the wagon and take them back home.
My grandmother taught me to make doughnuts from her 1908 edition of the Fannie Farmer cookbook – a history lesson in itself. I loved the real stories of what happened in the past. At Washington State University, I learned my grandmother who worked side by side with my grandfather in motels, taverns, hotels and on farms wasn’t an aberration. I read stories about women like Charley Parkhurst who drove a stagecoach through the Sierra Nevadas and Little Jo Monaghan who mined in Idaho .
My grandparents encouraged me to follow my dreams and I still do. I love reading stories about women who do things and those are the kind of books I write. No Horse Wanted, the first book in my Shamrock Stable series will be released this week from Fire & Ice YA. It’s the story of sixteen-year-old Robin who desperately wants a 1968 Presidential blue Mustang for her birthday, but her parents aren’t willing to buy her an expensive sports car. She can have a horse instead, so she vows to bring home the worst one she can find.
Shannon lives and works at her family business, Horse Country Farm, just outside of Granite Falls in Washington State. Teaching kids to ride and know about horses since 1967, she finds in many cases, she's taught three generations of families. Her life experiences span adventures from dealing cards in a casino, attending graduate school to get her Masters in Teaching degree, being a substitute teacher, and serving in the Army Reserve - all leading to her second career as a published author. Visit her at her website, www.shannonkennedybooks.com to learn about her books.
The only thing that Robin Gibson wants for her sixteenth birthday is a 1968 Presidential Blue Mustang. Following their family tradition, what her parents promise her is a horse of her own, one with four legs, not four wheels. Mom competes in endurance riding, Dad does calf roping, her older brother games and her older sister loves three-day eventing, but Robin proudly says that she doesn’t do horses. She’ll teach her controlling family a lesson by bringing home the worst horse she can find, a starved, abused two-year-old named Twazeim.
Robin figures she’ll nurse him back to health, sell him and have the money for her car. Rescuing and rehabilitating the Morab gelding might be a bigger challenge than what she planned. He comes between her and her family. He upsets her friends when she looks after his needs first. Is he just an investment or is he part of her future? And if she lets him into her heart will she win or will she lose?