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.

Jodi Auborn's "Stormwind of the North Country."