Saturday, December 20, 2014

How Much of My Actual Life Is in The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde + Giveaway! (US/Can only)

The Language of Hoofbeats
Catherine Ryan Hyde

Page Count: 342
Release Date: December 9th, 2014
Publisher: Lake Union (Amazon)
Genre: Literary, Horses, Family

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of the heartbreak and healing power of family.

New to a small town, Jackie and Paula envision a quiet life for their kids: a young adopted son and two teenage foster children, including the troubled Star. However, they quickly butt heads with their neighbor, Clementine, who disapproves of their lifestyle and is incensed when Star befriends her spirited horse, Comet. Haunted by past tragedy and unable to properly care for Comet, Clem nevertheless resents the bond Star soon shares with the horse. When Star disappears with Comet, the neighbors are thrown together—far too close together. But as the search for the pair wears on, both families must learn to put aside their animosity and confront the choices they’ve made and the scars they carry.

Plumbing the depths of regret and forgiveness, The Language of Hoofbeats explores the strange alchemy that transforms a group of people into a family.

How Much of My Real Life Made It into The Language of Hoofbeats

When I wrote my very first novel, Funerals for Horses (it’s a bit darker and more literary than what I write these days), I had a horse of my own. His name was Cody, and he was an appaloosa pony with splashes of white on his butt. I used to tell people he was standing under the ladder when they whitewashed the barn.

I mention this because I think people are curious about how much of an author’s actual life ends up in her novels. In my case, not much. I’m certainly a student of human nature, and everything I learn goes into the books. But I don’t write my own story, or anybody else’s story. (At least, not anybody else real.) Still, there’s a level at which a reader can look into my books and see what’s important to me. Animals. Nature. Travel. Getting along with each other. Kindness.

When I was forty and he was eight, I sent Cody to live on a ranch that teaches the disabled to ride. I’d always had to board him—it wasn’t like I had land where I could keep a horse. He was young, and feisty, and he needed a lot of work and a lot of attention. I was trying to launch my career as an author. It wasn’t the time in my life to have a horse. And, looking back, much as I loved him, he wasn’t the right horse.

Now it’s years later, and I have a dream that maybe as soon as next year I can afford a little property just outside of town. And of course that means I’m dreaming of owning a horse again. In fact... let’s not put the land before the horse. That’s really why I want a piece of land: so I can keep a horse. And maybe even one of those burros you adopt from the Bureau of Land Management. (Or the Burro of Land Management as I like to call it.) Because… you know. Horses get lonely. Oh, okay, and also because burros are adorable and I love them.

And now that I’m dreaming of a horse again, I also have a horse on the cover of my newest book. Coincidence? I think not.

I don’t do it consciously. There’s no premeditation for my own interests finding their way into the books. But Comet is a major character in The Language of Hoofbeats. And Comet is indeed a horse. He’s nothing like the horse I hope to have someday soon. He’s “spirited.” I’m looking for just the opposite of spirited. I want the kind of horse that, if you fired off a canon near him, he’d twitch his ear and ask if someone was talking to him.

But Star, another character in The Language of Hoofbeats, isn’t afraid of spirit. She’s been farmed off (almost literally) every summer to the ranch of a relative who raises thoroughbreds. “You just have to be someone calming for them,” she says. Star’s not anyone I know in real life, either. But I understand the way she feels about horses. I was crazy for horses when I was her age. I took riding lessons for most of my teen years. I desperately wanted a horse but my parents couldn’t afford the board. That frustrated desire followed me into adulthood. I had to grow up and make my own dream come true.

So Star is hardly me, but I understand her. I know how it feels not to have many friends. To feel like you don’t mesh with the people around you. To wonder why everybody seems happy but not know how to get there yourself. And I know the bond with a horse is a tremendous relief for someone who doesn’t know how to bond with her fellow humans. They always just listen. You can need them and they’ll need you in return. And they’ll carry you through the world on their strong backs.

That much of my real life did form the seed for the novel The Language of Hoofbeats. The rest is pure imagination. But underneath the stuff I make up, I think there has to be a core of true emotion, something I understand from the real world. Because that way you’ll understand it, too.

About the Author

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the bestselling author of twenty-four novels, including the 1999 smash hit Pay It Forward, which has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and was made into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment.

In addition to her novels, Hyde is the author of more than fifty short stories and is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation. During her years as a professional public speaker, she addressed the National Conference on Education, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with President Bill Clinton.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Language of Hoofbeats—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
What pets have you owned in your lifetime? Which did you have the closest bond with?
I was never allowed to have real pets growing up, but I had a tank full of fish (around 10 total over a several years... each of which I had a very "deep" connection with LOL!), probably a frog at one point, and finally, Austin, my mini poodle who lives back at home at the moment. He's the love of my life ♥

Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Catherine and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the tour publicist and publisher—a huge thank you to TLC Book Tours and Lake Union Publishing!
Giveaway ends January 3rd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US/Canada readers only—sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for the list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!