Welcome, Sarah Sundin, author of the Wings of Glory Series (all of which I’ve had the pleasure to review). See news about her next (and most certainly) amazing book at the end!
Five young girls pedaled bikes up the winding road, past rustling eucalyptus trees. My bike was shimmery red with a basket and a bell. We went because our moms wanted us to get fresh air, because of the single steepest hill we knew—which stole my breath and thrilled my heart when I flew down on my Schwinn.
But mostly we went for the horses.
My childhood home in California had a backyard big enough for a dog and a Doughboy pool, but not a horse. However, our suburban neighborhood lay tucked at the base of hills. Horse country.
In my upper elementary and junior high years, I was horse-crazy. I drew horses everywhere, especially on the back of the church bulletin. I devoured horse books, with a fondness for Marguerite Henry. And my friends and I journeyed up those hilly roads to pat velvet noses and peer into large wise eyes.
The population of my elementary school came partly from my tract-home neighborhood and partly from the horsey hills. Girls who owned horses shone like celebrities to me, and when they invited me to visit and—ride!—oh, heaven!
In fifth grade, I attended a young readers’ conference at the Claremont Colleges. One of the visiting authors was Marguerite Henry. I got her autograph. I still have it. I believe I smiled at her like a ninny and said something profound like, “I like your books”—if I managed to speak at all. Horses? Books? My favorite author? I’m surprised I managed to stand!
What is it about horses that enthralls? My mother says girls are drawn to horses when they’re too old for Daddy’s lap and too young for a boyfriend’s arms. In my case, that was true. There’s something inherently, romantically masculine about a horse—with deep apologies to all female horses. The overwhelming size and ruggedness and outdoorsy scent. The quiet strength and deep intelligence and occasional surprise of humor. And we love them for their speed and loyalty and elegance.
For me, too, horses form a connection to the past, to history, to slower and more personal times.
While I never owned a horse and only rode occasionally, horses formed an important part of my childhood, and the qualities they embody are qualities I continue to admire. I’m still enthralled.
Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter (available to pre-order), coming September 2012 from Revell, the first book in the Wings of the Nightingale series. No horses, but the second book, On Distant Shores (June 2013) features a horse-loving heroine. Her first series, Wings of Glory, includes A Distant Melody, A Memory Between Us, and Blue Skies Tomorrow. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sarah lives in California with her husband, three children, a dog and a cat, but sadly, no horse.
With Every Letter: As part of a morale-building program, World War II flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake begins an anonymous correspondence with Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, they develop a deep friendship. But when they’re both transferred to Algeria, will their future be held hostage by the past—or will they reveal their identities?