A Simple Taste For Reading - Author Interview (June, 2019) https://simpletasteforreading.wordpress.com/2019/06/12/my-ten-acre-wilderness-a-misfit-girls-quest-for-home-by-jodi-l-auborn-author-interview/
Sierra: Tell us a little about yourself?
Jodi: Well, I’m single, and live in a small town in eastern upstate New York, settled in a valley between the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain. In the summers I work at a New York State campground, and at an apple-packing house during the winter. I love all types of pets, but currently just have a yellow tomcat and a white Appaloosa horse. Horses have been a big part of my life since my dad bought me my first one at age twelve.
I’ve played the guitar for years (not great, but I try), and also took up the ukulele a few years ago. My other hobbies include drawing and making crafts, cross-stitch sewing, designing houses, flower gardening, photography, and reading. Living and growing up in the Adirondack region has also given me a love for camping and hiking, canoeing and sailing. In fact, I work at the same campground where my parents had taken me for several childhood vacations.
Sierra: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Jodi: I was already writing (or at least making up) stories and poems by the time I was in elementary school. As I young child, I shocked my mother when I drew gory illustrations of a war that I imagined between noble unicorns and evil dragons. In third grade, a Christmas creative writing assignment prompted me to write a preachy short story called “The Little Tree Learns About Jesus,” in which a sad and rejected Christmas tree learns about the birth of Jesus, which makes him happy. (My mom thought it was wonderful and has kept it to this day, but rereading that story makes me cringe. However, the teacher liked it so much that she read it out loud to the class…in a public school, no less.) A few years later, I started writing a story about a boy who ran away with his horse and stowaway little brother, and always made up dramas that I acted out with my My Little Ponies.
I started writing my first book, “Stormwind of the North Country,” when I was ten years old. I got the idea from a strange dream I had one night. I recorded the dream into a notebook, but soon it inspired a long story that became the first draft of a book! I continued to write it, off and on, for over twenty years, and went through seven or eight drafts. I was in my early thirties when it was published in 2009. And the vision that I saw in the dream remains in Chapter Three, “Tragedy and Hope.”
Sierra: Tell us a little bit about your first book or the first book in the series.
Jodi: “Stormwind of the North Country” begins as a horse story in which a teenage girl, Kat, struggles to rescue Stormwind, her favorite horse at her neighbor’s stable. Stormwind and the other horses are being abused and neglected by their cruel owner, and when Kat hears that Stormwind is getting shipped to the slaughterhouse, she knows that she must act fast!
Meanwhile, her widowed father invites his long-distance girlfriend to spend the summer at their farmhouse in the Adirondack Mountains. Kat and her younger brother discover that the conniving woman secretly schemes to steal their valuable property so her family’s land-development company can build condos on it. When their father doesn’t believe them, Kat decides to run away into the wilderness with Stormwind and her dog. There, she befriends a fellow runaway, and their lives become intertwined in a way that brings all the aspects of the story together.
Over the years, it grew from a simple horse story for little girls to a tale of outdoor adventure and survival, friendship and love, and the importance of being true to yourself and your beliefs. It contains violence and themes of child- and animal abuse, but finally comes to a happy and hopeful ending.
Sierra: How did you choose the genre you write in?
Jodi: My books are Middle-Grade and the “younger” end of Young Adult. It just seems to me like an interesting time in everyone’s life when you’re old enough to do things on your own, but still free to do “kid” stuff. My story ideas just naturally grow out of my own experiences, dreams, and wishes. “Adult” issues really don’t interest me. I’m like a ten-year-old kid at heart.
Sierra: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write?
Jodi: In “My Ten-Acre Wilderness,” my favorite chapter was “Sally,” when my childhood wish for a horse came true. The summer that I described in that chapter seemed like such a magical time. It was a turning point in my life, and in the book.
In “Stormwind of the North Country,” I’ve always liked the last chapter, “An Eventful Picnic,” when the main character, Kat’s, friend is attacked by one of the villains and Kat must ride for help on her horse. The chapter also introduces Jake, who became such a favorite character of mine that I made him the hero of the sequel!
Sierra: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Jodi: Everything in my memoir, “My Ten-Acre Wilderness,” really happened to me, but my three novels are purely imagination. However, the settings in “Stormwind of the North Country” and its sequel are based on real places that I knew and loved. Some parts of my life also made it into the story, such as my childhood and teenage adventures in the woods.
Sierra: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Jodi: Growing up: any and all horse books! Although, the horse vs. truck accident scene in “The Horse Whisperer” still creeps me out, since I’ve always ridden my horse(s) along the road.
As an adult: “Heaven,” by Randy Alcorn. It’s a fascinating look at what the Bible says about the afterlife and eternity. It made me unafraid of death and excited about the future!
Sierra: Do you ever experience writers block?
Jodi: All the time. My imagination is always working, thinking up the most exciting plots and conversations, but unfortunately, it’s during the times when I can’t write them down. Then when I sit down to write, everything goes blank.
Sierra: Is there an author that you would really like to meet?
Jodi: I would have liked to have met Anne LaBastille, who had written several memoirs about her life in a remote cabin that she had built with her friends on an Adirondack lake. She seemed like she would have been an interesting person to talk to. Unfortunately, she died several years ago.
Sierra: Will you have a new book coming out soon? If so, can you tell us about it?
Jodi: At this time (2019), I’m working on rewriting and republishing “Stormwind” and its sequel, “Secrets of the North Country.” After that, I’m planning a dystopian novel about an orphaned brother and sister who are searching for their long-lost older sister, while on the run from the government that murdered their parents. They are taken in by a band of “rebels:” un-brainwashed people who were banished by the government. The rebels lead a hard and primitive (but free) life outside the official “communities” to which most people are confined. But the siblings’ pursuers want them dead…and they don’t know who they can trust.
Sierra: If you could go back and do it all over again, is there any aspect of your first novel or getting it published that you would change?
Jodi: After years of submitting “Stormwind” to publishers and agents with no success, I was thrilled when it was finally accepted by (the now defunct) Publish America. I didn’t know about their bad reputation at the time. However, I never had any problems with them, except for the fact that they priced the books outrageously high. I’m grateful that they published my first three books, which gave me a local fan base and moderate success selling at book and craft fairs, but if I had known more about self-publishing, I wouldn’t have gone with them.
I had heard of CreateSpace, but mistakenly believed that they charged thousands of dollars to print books. After I learned that there was a big difference between “vanity” and Indie publishing, I decided to go for it with my fourth book, “Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point.” I’m glad that I did, since Publish America went out of business shortly after. It turned out to be a good thing, though, since it gave me the opportunity to revise and improve each book and charge a reasonable amount for them. That’s why I’m rewriting my first two novels, and plan to print them (and any future books) through CreateSpace/Amazon KDP. (Although I wouldn’t turn down a contract from a legitimate, big-time publisher! )
Sierra: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Jodi: Never give up on what you really want to do! Write what you’re passionate about, even if it’s not what’s popular at the time. Never lose faith in yourself and your book. Research publishers and agents to make sure they’re reputable. And whether you decide to self-publish or try to get accepted by a traditional publisher, always PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD before you send out your work!
Sierra: Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Jodi: Thank you to everyone who has read and/or bought my books! I hope you enjoyed the stories.
Feathered Quill Book Reviews Author Interview: Jodi Auborn
FQ: You wrote a lot as a child. Who or what was your original inspiration to develop that skill?
AUBORN: Basically, it was my overactive imagination that just naturally spilled out onto paper. My dreams, hopes, and wishes seemed like they could really come true, if I wrote stories about people who achieved those same dreams, and went off on the wild adventures that I imagined myself doing someday. Writing allowed me to create the perfect friends and life. As a horse-crazy child, writing about horses was almost as good as having one.
In high school, I had an English teacher who really helped and encouraged me with my writing. She had faith in me that I could really do it, and make something of myself.
FQ: When did you first realize you were, or could be, a “real writer”?
AUBORN: That was the winter that I was 10 years old, after I finished the original draft of my first novel, Stormwind of the North Country. I was so proud of that story and expected it would make me rich and famous! Thankfully, several years later I realized how childish and unrealistic it was, and decided to rewrite it. But the first time that I felt like a real writer was when I completed those two dog-eared notebooks that contained my handwritten first manuscript!
FQ: You are a religious person; do you find God and spirituality in nature?
AUBORN: Yes. I feel closest to God in nature, such as when I'm gardening, taking a walk, or camping (especially late at night), whether I'm alone or with a special animal such as a dog or a horse. I'm more apt to feel God's presence alone in nature rather than in a formal church setting surrounded by other people.
FQ: Is the memory of childhood part of what keeps you close to the outdoor world you grew up in?
AUBORN: Yes, very much! As I mentioned in my book, I've worked for the past ten summers at the campground where my parents took me camping as a child. Although I don't have kids, I feel that, in a way, by working there I'm passing on a legacy of wonderful camping memories to a new generation. Whenever I take a canoe out on the lake, unexpectedly encounter a wild animal, or even hear the call of a loon or squawk of a seagull, I feel like a kid again. And those childhood memories also keep my dream alive of buying (or building) a country house in Maine, and recreating the good aspects of my pre-teen years living in my family's Adirondack cabin.
FQ: What comforts and sustains you these days in the indoor environment of your cottage?
AUBORN: Throughout my house are photos and souvenirs from my travels and past. Each of the three rooms has a different decorating theme. I still have my childhood Breyer horses and dog figurines, etc. Even the silliest little knickknacks from past vacations still bring a smile and a memory. But it's not only the little things: I remind myself that my first house is a stepping-stone to my dream house that I mentioned in the question above.
FQ: Have you saved mementos of your grandparents and parents?
AUBORN: Yes, I have some of my grandpa's woods carvings, the step-stool he made me when I was a toddler, and his handcrafted dresser and bookcase. But the biggest “memento” (if you could call it that) of my grandparents is their whole house! My mom still lives there, and I visit often.
I have a guitar that my dad had given me, the bill of sale for my first horse, Sally, a hand-written vacation diary that Dad had kept, and several of his music binders. One of the most fascinating things of my parents is a case full of receipts and letters, real-estate ads, building-supply lists, and the blueprints of the log cabin featured in “My Ten-Acre Wilderness.” After decades of believing that it had all been destroyed in a flooded basement, I was thrilled when my mom found it not long ago. It was an interesting perspective of that time as seen from my parents' point of view, as opposed to my own child's-eye view.
FQ: Since you had social limitations as a young person, has the Internet been a help in communicating with your fans?
AUBORN: Yes, a big help! It brought me in contact with so many interesting people and exciting events! For instance, the first year that Stormwind of the North Country was published, I spoke to a 4th-grade class about my book and the writing process, and to a middle school class at the middle school that I attended as a pre-teen. The Internet helped me find local book fairs , book stores, and craft sales to sell my books and photography. My most unforgettable Internet/fan story was that it brought me in contact with the current owner of the Hadley cabin, (the house that plays a major role in My Ten-Acre Wilderness). She had read the first edition of Wilderness, (originally titled The Forests I Called Home, which is now out of print.) She e-mailed me, and we exchanged photos of the house: during construction and in the present-day. I was pleased and happy to see that the neglected wreck of a house that I described in the book was finally cleaned up and loved again.
FQ: Do you think your career as a writer was in some way spurred on by the drive to overcome your childhood disabilities?
AUBORN: In a way...subconsciously, I think I tried to compensate for my lack of athletic ability and math skills/aptitude with art, writing, and music. Although I credit my daily horseback riding with curing my early childhood medical condition (which caused weak muscles in my lower body), it didn't help the fact that I was uncoordinated and terrible at team sports (and thus was always the kid chosen last for teams in gym class). I wanted to prove myself to my classmates that I was good for something. By high school, I believe that any energy and emotion that I might've put into a social/dating life was channeled into my stories.
FQ: Your book seems to offer encouragement to young people struggling with identity issues - would you recommend your book specifically for Young Adult readers?
AUBORN: Yes – especially the middle-school/junior high kids who are trying to discover and accept themselves: the loners and misfits who are struggling to fit in, only to be labeled “strange” and “different.” If there's anything I hope they can take away from the book, it's to be yourself, and have faith that everything will work out, even if it's in ways that you don't expect. Don't be afraid to be the “weird” kid, the one with out-of-the-ordinary hobbies and seemingly impossible dreams...because someday, you may find that your life turns out more fulfilling than the lives of those who simply followed the crowd and did what was expected of them.
In much of my early school years, I struggled to discover who I was and how to relate to my classmates. I talk about this in Chapter 4, “The Winter Cottage.” When I started 5th-grade in a new school, quiet and introverted me invented a loud and wacky persona in an attempt to impress people and make friends. However, the things that I believed to be fun-loving and outgoing were actually creepy and annoying. Quite understandably, my antics turned people away rather than drew them in, and earned me years of mockery and a visit to the school psychologist. Although things slowly improved the next school year (and were much better by high school), I learned a lesson about being myself and not trying to act like someone I was not.
I also think that animal lovers, especially young horse fans, would enjoy the book.
Interview Questionnaire of Jodi Auborn
What made you decide to become a writer?
It's something that I've just always done since I was a kid. I've always had an overactive imagination, so my decision to become a writer wasn't really a decision at all. It just kind of grew. As I was growing up, I'd write stories and poems about places I wished I lived and situations I wished I could be in.
In high school, I had an English teacher who really helped and encouraged me with my writing. She made me feel that I really could do it.
How long have you been writing?
Other than Elementary-School writing assignments, I began writing on my own at about nine years old, when I first started what was to become "Stormwind of the North Country." So I've been writing for well over half my life, off and on.
Are you writing full time?
No, but I wish I could. I've always had schoolwork, or employment.
What are the good and the bad of being a writer?
I'd say the best part of being a writer is that it's a way to capture and remember certain parts of my life. To share vicariously in my characters' adventures, and do things that I never had the chance (or the nerve) to do. For instance, as a kid, I often fantasized about running away into the wilderness with my horse - but never did. Many of my own feelings, memories of my times in the woods, and experiences with my horses come out in "Stormwind."
Other good parts of writing is that the characters become so familiar to me, like friends, that even today I can't say I'm lonely when I can join in their lives. It's nice to be recognized on the streets of my small town, to hear people tell me that they saw my picture or article in the paper. And it's fun to be able to right the world's wrongs in a way that I couldn't do in real life, to reward my heroic characters and punish the villains.
I think the worst part of being a writer is getting stuck with writer's block. That's really frustrating. And I can't fail to mention the rejection letters for "Stormwind." I have a whole folder of them, including one with a handwritten note that says that nobody reads horse stories anymore.
You wrote the book Stormwind of the North Country. Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
"Stormwind of the North Country" is a coming-of-age novel for readers about 10 to 14 years old. The main character is a 14-year-old girl named Kat. She lives with her widowed father, Luke, and younger brother, Dave, in their remote Adirondack Mountain farmhouse.
After making a shocking discovery one morning, Kat struggles to rescue Stormwind, her favorite horse at a neighbor's stable, from its abusive owner. Then her father brings home an unwelcome visitor with a secret that could destroy the way of life that the family loves. This upsetting change sends Kat and her dog, Hesperus, running away on a month-long camping trip in the wilderness with Stormwind. There, she finds a true friend in Randy, a teenage drifter with a mysterious past. After an accident forces them to return to Kat's house, she must deal with the family problem she'd left behind, and help Randy overcome the memories of his troubled childhood.
What influenced you to write Stormwind of the North Country?
The beginning of "Stormwind" actually came to me in a dream, so the next day, I wrote a short story based on it. At the time, I had no intentions of turning it into a book, and had no idea that that simple story would stick with me through so much of my life, as it evolved and added new characters and situations.
When I was about 12, my parents and I lived on a winding mountain road, surrounded by miles of forest. My favorite place to ride my horse was an old farm up the road, and it was here that I based Kat's house and property on. It had a big, rambling white farmhouse down a long dirt lane. There were rolling fields with giant sugar maple trees lining the road, a small pond near the house, and a view of the mountains in the distance.
The fictional town of "Sprucewood" is based on the small towns where I grew up, Hadley and Lake Luzerne, NY. Kat and Randy's lean-to at the pond is just like the ones you find today, built all along the Adirondack hiking trails. So, although all the people and events are fictional, writing the story was a way for me to revisit some favorite places from my childhood.
How did you come up with the title to name your book?
The first title was "Me, My Brother, and American Courage." Her brother originally played a larger part in the story, and the horse's original name was "American Courage." I finished that draft when I was 11. I started re-writing a new one a couple years later, "You Can Call Me Kat." That's what it remained for years, until I found, on Amazon.com, that there were already books with titles that began "You Can Call Me…". I wanted my title to stand out more, and hopefully incorporate the horse, whose name was long ago changed to "Stormwind." Not long after that, "Stormwind of the North Country" just sort of came to me.
What is the feeling you get knowing that your book is out there for the world to read?
It's a really satisfying feeling, knowing that it's out there for the world to read. It makes me feel good to know that total strangers are interested in reading and buying it. I often wonder what they think of it. One of the four area gift shops that are selling my book has visitors from all over the world, which makes me wonder how far Kat's story will spread.
What makes you feel that Stormwind of the North Country is an excellent book to read?
"Stormwind of the North Country" is an excellent book for readers who enjoy stories about horses and adventures in the outdoors. It was written for a female audience, although boys might like Randy, Kat's 15-year-old male friend.
At its most basic, "Stormwind" is a story about good winning over evil. It touches on themes of friendship, animal welfare, and protection of the environment. Kat's journey in the mountains is about nature, freedom, and self-reliance. In her adventures at home and in the Adirondack wilderness, she learns that friendship and love will solve her problems. Love for her animals, her best friend, and the forest that surrounds her.
Will you be writing more books?
This winter, 2009 - 2010, I plan to be working on the sequel. In this story, Jake, one of the adult characters from "Stormwind," is accused of a murder that he didn't commit. Kat, Randy and Dave help him hide from the police in a secret room in the house. But later when he's discovered, they all have to prove his innocence and track down the true criminal before he finds them. Kat's meddling Aunt Betsy (who first appears in "Stormwind"), and a corrupt cop stand in their way.
I also have a series of short stories, a couple novellas, several poems, and a comic strip that I hope to develop into books later on.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your book?
In spite of the gray Arabian on the cover, "Stormwind" is more than just a horse story, once you finish the first four chapters.
Saturday, February 20, 2010 - www.TeensReadToo.com
First off, thanks so much for joining us for an up-close and personal interview for TeensReadToo.com! My name is Jen, and I’ll be your server toda…oh, wait, wrong job! Anyway, thanks so much for taking time out of your writing schedule—which I’m sure is busy!—and answering a few questions for your readers and fans.
Hi Jen, I'm glad to be here.
Let’s get some of the typical interview questions out of the way first. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was 9, I wrote what would later become the first chapter of Stormwind of the North Country. It was just a short story that was based on a dream I had. I had no idea that that simple story would become a part of my life, as new characters and situations came to my mind.
High school was about the first time that I really considered writing for a living. In my senior yearbook, I predicted that in ten years I'd be "a rich writer living on my own island with a horse and dogs." I'm not there yet, but it's still fun to dream about!
Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publishing?
Twenty-two years passed since I began Stormwind of the North Country: years of writing it on-and-off throughout high school and college. In 2000, I began sending it out to publishers and agents with nothing to show for it but about 25 rejection letters. By then I was running out to suitable places to send it, so I put the manuscript in my desk and forgot about it for awhile.
After I was laid-off from my job in December 2008, I decided to use my new free time to do a major re-write and revision of the manuscript. It was the perfect opportunity to make it a story that I could be proud of.
I submitted the final manuscript to Publish America after finding them on the Internet, and it was accepted within days. About two months later, April 2009, Stormwind of the North Country was officially released.
Tell us a little bit about either your latest or upcoming release. If you could only tell your readers one thing about the story that had to convince us to buy the book, what would it be?
In Stormwind of the North Country, readers can join Kat, her dog, Hesperus, and her rescued Arabian mare, Stormwind, in their adventures in the Adirondack Mountains. The summer that she is fourteen years old, Kat must protect Stormwind from abuse at a nearby stable, save her father's land from a greedy real estate developer, and help her best friend come to terms with his troubled past. When Kat runs away into the wilderness with Stormwind and Hesperus, she befriends a fellow runaway who ultimately saves her from a violent criminal. When they're forced to return to Kat's house, she must adjust to life in high school, and deal with the family problem she'd left behind.
Despite the gray Arabian on the cover, Stormwind of the North Country is more than just a horse story. Readers who enjoy stories about animals and outdoor survival and adventure would like this book.
What, or who, has been the greatest inspiration for your stories?
My greatest inspiration for this book was my life growing up in a small town in the Adirondack Mountains. When I was ten, my parents built a log cabin on a mountain road. Miles of forest surrounded our ten acres. Up the road was a big old farmhouse, in fields surrounded by the woods and mountains. That specific place inspired the setting for Kat's enormous old house. I only lived along that road for a few years, but I never forgot my time living there, and much of that comes out in my stories.
My experiences with my horses have also inspired much of my writing. The things I learned with my first horse, (which was given to me when I was twelve years old) and the one I have now (which I mention in the next question) gave me many ideas that make the descriptions of Kat's times with Stormwind more true to life.
Let’s hear about your family, who I’m sure are thrilled to have a published author among them!
I'm single and live about three miles from my mom, who is my biggest fan. And then there's Summer, my shaggy little dog, two cats, Honey and Rio, a tank of goldfish, and my old but still spirited Arabian/Quarter Horse gelding, Solomon.
I was an only child until age fifteen, when my half-sister was born. Now a teenager, she is also a writer. I suspect that we get that from our father, who tells the greatest campfire stories. They live in Florida with my recently adopted teenage brother, and my step-mother. I also have a step-brother in the Air Force, whom I haven't seen in several years.
Now for some fun facts. What’s your greatest comfort food?
Macaroni and Cheese - whether it's boxed or homemade, I love it all! I also can't resist a big plate of spaghetti, or fettuccine Alfredo - especially with shrimp.
What are the first three things you do when you wake up in the morning?
Stay in bed until the very last minute, then go turn on the computer, and eat a bowl of Honey-Nut Cheerios.
If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
The deer skull sitting on my closet shelf, which I haven't yet figured out how to hang on my kitchen wall.
Everyone asks the question about “if you could be a tree, which tree would you be?” so I want to know: If you could be a color, which color would it be, and why?
Since I love both the mountains and the ocean, I'd have to say both green and blue. Green, for nature and the forest. Blue, for the water and sky, to symbolize my summer vacations to Cape Cod as a teenager, and one special summer when I lived there near the sea. And both colors could represent my favorite vacation spot: Monhegan Island, ME.
Who is your favorite cartoon character?
Calvin and Hobbes. Also Garfield, who reminds me of one of my cats.
Which cartoon character is most like you?
Calvin again. Like him, I have an overactive imagination. I can relate to him daydreaming in school, and playing outside with Hobbes in their own little world, imagining themselves in weird situations.
If you could beam yourself to anywhere in the world (“Beam me up, Scotty!”), during any time in history, where and when would it be—and why?
Definitely the Old West, sometime in the mid-1800's. I could imagine myself living in a cabin that I built myself, growing my own food, and riding or driving a horse everywhere. I think I was born too late.
So what’s your favorite type of music to listen to? Favorite musical artists? Do you listen to music while you’re writing?
Although I enjoy (or can at least tolerate) most types of music, my favorites are folk and Celtic, classic rock, rock, country, classic country, bluegrass, and Christian. These are only a few of my favorites:
FOLK AND CELTIC MUSIC: Gordon Bok, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, Stan Rogers, Dougie Maclean, the Tannahill Weavers, Loreena McKennett, Archie Fisher, James Keelaghan, James Taylor, Cindy Kallet, Indigo Girls, Richard Shindell, Nickle Creek, Sarah McLachlan…
COUNTRY: Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Alabama…
ROCK: Journey, REO Speedwagon, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Train, Crosby Stills and Nash, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Five for Fighting, Creed, Nickleback, Third Day…
I don't listen to music when I'm writing; I can't concentrate. But sometimes I'll hear a song that reminds me of a certain character or story situation, and it helps me to think more deeply about them.
Do you have any favorite T.V. shows? Movies you watch over and over again? What was the last movie you saw at the theater?
I never miss American Idol. I also like Extreme Makeover - Home Edition, The Amazing Race, Cops, and reruns of Friends. And I get hooked into watching America's Next Top Model when they have the all day marathons of it. As a kid growing up in the '80's, my all-time favorite show was ALF.
My favorite movies are Titanic, (my best friend and I watched this over and over at the movies when it first came out) Forrest Gump, Big, Toy Story, Cars, Hoot, Mrs. Doubtfire, Secondhand Lions, Fried Green Tomatoes, Dances With Wolves, Nim's Island. And I thought that Mall Cop and the Shrek movies were hysterical.
The last time I was at a theater was before 2005, when I moved up here to my small town, which is a 90-minute drive from the malls. I think the movie I saw was Because of Winn-Dixie.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?
Have a dream for your life. Do something that makes you happy, even if it may not pay a lot of money.
One last question. What stories can we look forward to from you in the future?
I'm slowly working on the sequel to Stormwind of the North Country. When Jake, one of the adult characters from the first book, is accused of a murder that he didn't commit, Kat, her brother, and friend help him hide from the police in a forgotten secret room in their house. When he's discovered, they all must fight to clear his name and find the true criminal…without becoming his next victims.
I also have a series of short stories about the same characters: 10-year-old country boy Jack, and his best friend Rock, a former city kid who moved in up the road. Jack and Rock get into mischief and adventures when they capture an escaped convict, meet a mysterious hermit known as Old Man Jason, and much more.
Finally, I have Tugboat Tales, a lighthearted fantasy story about two homeless, landlubber brothers - responsible and straight-laced Amoelo, and carefree surfer Bruce - who end up living on a ramshackle old tugboat with a very…big…secret.
Again, thanks so much for joining us at TeensReadToo.com!
Thank you for having me on your website!
Posted by Jen Wardrip at 5:24 PM
6/29/10 - www.horse-books-pony-stories.com
Interviewing Author Jodi Auborn
Sharon: I am pleased to have the chance to interview Jodi Auborn author of "Stormwind of the North Country."
Sharon: Jodi why did your write a horse book?
Jodi: When I was a horse-crazy nine-year-old, one night I had a dream that became the beginning of Stormwind of the North Country. In the dream, a girl was chasing a horse that was running away from a run-down looking farm, and from an angry, screaming woman who had been abusing it. The next day, I wrote a short story based on the dream. At first, I never intended it to be a book; the story just sort of grew as I thought of more situations to write about. I worked on it, on-and-off, throughout my school and college years. Today, that original dream appears in Chapter 3, "Tragedy and Hope."
When I started writing the story that became this book, I almost felt that writing it could, somehow, magically conjure up a horse of my own…at least in my imagination, anyway. As I wrote the story, I lived vicariously through the main character's adventures with her rescued Arabian mare, Stormwind.
Sharon: I understand living vicariously through horse books. I did a lot of that in my youth. When did you become fascinated/involved with horses?
Jodi: Like many girls, I wanted one as soon as I knew what they were. I begged my parents for riding lessons after I saw kids from the nearby stable riding down the road behind our house. Later I began English lessons at that stable, first on a blaze-faced bay pony named Ivanhoe, then on Kid, a tall black Thoroughbred, and Candy, a palomino mare. After my parents and I moved to the Adirondack Mountains, I loved to go to the "dude ranch" stables near Lake George (NY), where they gave guided Western trail rides.
When I was 12, my dad bought me my first horse, a retired Standardbred pacer named Sally. I loved to canter her bareback through the woods surrounding our house, and trot over the snowy moonlit trails on winter nights. I was devastated when she died a little over a year later, and then it wasn't until I was 20 that I was financially able to buy Solomon, a bay gelding who I still have today.
Sharon: Is your horse in your book or did he inspire a horse in your book.
Jodi: No. Although Stormwind's foal is an Arabian/Quarter horse cross like Solomon, I had made up Stormwind long before I had gotten either of my horses.
Some of my own experiences with Sally and Solomon made it into the story though, like when the main character, Kat, and Stormwind are exploring unknown trails, getting caught in a thunderstorm…and even the times when Kat's thrown off!
Sharon: Which horse in your life taught you the most?
Jodi: Sally taught me to never take anything for granted. Getting her was a dream come true, and many years later, I realized that my experiences with her were some of the most unforgettable times of my life. But back then, I sometimes found myself wishing that she were a little more flashy and spirited, instead of the quiet kid's horse that she was. I didn't always appreciate her. After her sudden death from a heart attack, I grieved for years and learned to treasure the good things in my life, since they may not be around tomorrow.
Sharon: Have you always drawn horses? Did you draw them on your schoolwork?
Jodi: Yes, especially when I was younger. Like the horse stories I made up, I felt that drawing them was a way for my daydreams to come to life. My strange-looking steeds with the bulging cheekbones, oversized eyes, and frowning mouths slowly evolved into good-looking line drawings of all different breeds. (The doodles in the margins of my schoolwork gave me plenty of practice!) I plan on including some of my own illustrations in the next Stormwind book.
Sharon: What is your favorite horse activity?
Jodi: Trail riding! When Solomon was younger, the two of us would go out riding for hours, down miles of country roads and wooded trails. During the five years that I worked on a farm, I often rode him to work, sometimes with just a halter and leadrope. Someday I hope to get into endurance riding, and maybe even ride across the United States! That's my biggest horse dream.
Sharon: What do you want readers to learn from your book?
Jodi: I hope that Stormwind of the North Country inspires my readers to have a dream and go after it, like the characters in the book do. Fourteen-year-old Kat dreams of buying her neighbor's abused horse, Stormwind. Her auto-mechanic father dreams that his local rock band will become famous. And Kat's best friend dreams of reuniting with the man who had raised him for five years.
I also hope that the book shows readers that if people fight for what they believe in, then good can overcome evil. Kat's struggle to rescue Stormwind is only the beginning of her adventures that summer.