Some books deserve to be shouted about and I was devastated not to have time to fit in reading Susan Mihalic’s debut Dark Horses because it sounds like a very moving and compelling story. However, I’m thrilled that Susan has agreed to stay in with me to tell me more about her book. Let’s find out more:
Staying in with Susan Mihalic
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Susan and thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
It’s my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve brought along Dark Horses, my debut novel, published just this year by Welbeck Publishing Group in the UK and Scout Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in the US. Although I’m working on another novel, this one is hot off the press, as they say.
How exciting to be out on both sides of the pond at once. Congratulations on your debut. What can we expect from an evening in with Dark Horses?
Dark Horses is a page-turner. Set against the backdrop of the equestrian sport of three-day eventing, it follows 15-year-old equestrian prodigy Roan Montgomery, but it’s more than a “horse girl” book.
Oh. Tell me more.
Roan juggles her Olympic ambitions with a terrible home life. Her self-absorbed mother is addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol, which is traumatic enough, but her father, who is also her trainer and coach and an Olympic champion himself, has been sexually abusing her since she was six. Despite Roan’s age, Dark Horses was written for an adult audience. I chose to portray the abuse explicitly, because I wanted the reader to experience, as closely as possible, what Roan experiences. I wanted readers to understand first-hand the choices she makes.
Dark Horses sounds very dramatic and all too resonant in today’s world Susan. I think it seems like a very important book.
So, what else have you brought along and why have you brought it?
I’ve brought my horse, an American Warmblood gelding named Goldmark.
My goodness Goldmark is handsome. How long have you had him?
I leased him for a few years before buying him last spring. Since then, I’ve ridden almost every day. Goldmark is to me what Roan’s horse Jasper is to her. He’s funny, smart, and well-trained, and he makes me a better rider. He’s trained in dressage, but he’s also a great trail horse. I think trail-riding is his favourite discipline. Both of us love riding out from the barn and getting on the trail, much as Roan loves riding out on Jasper—although she and Jasper live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the eastern part of the US and we live in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southern end of the Rocky Mountains, in the American Southwest.
Trail riding sounds the perfect antidote to the experiences Roan has Susan. Thank you so much for brining Goldmark along and for telling me all about Dark Horses. Dark Horses is on my TBR pile and I hope to get to it very soon as I think I’ll find it a disturbing and compelling book.
As selected by Jodi Picoult for #TeamWorkTuesdays
‘A heart-pounding, can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it debut’ O, The Oprah Magazine
‘[A] sweeping and raw story of courage, resilience, and clear-eyed grace [that] will never leave me’ Sara Gruen, #1 New York Times bestselling author
A dark, compelling story about one girl’s fierce struggle to reclaim her life from her abusive father. Perfect for fans of My Dark Vanessa and Room.
Fifteen-year-old equestrian prodigy Roan Montgomery has only ever known two worlds: inside the riding arena, and out.
Both are ruled over by her father, who demands strict obedience in all aspects of her life. However, the warped power dynamic of coach and rider extends far beyond the stables, and Roan’s relationship with her father has long been incestuous.
A ruthless ambition for the Olympics allows her to compartmentalise this dark aspect of her life, until she meets Will Howard, a boy her age, who brings everything into focus.
About Susan Mihalic
Susan Mihalic is a writer who lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has worked as an editor for a major publishing house and as a freelance writer. She has also taught therapeutic horseback riding. Dark Horses is her debut novel.
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