I have been DYING to tell everyone about this! Back in April, I was contacted by an editor at Puffin asking if I’d be interesting in working with equestrian influencer and YouTuber Esme (@ThisEsme). Being middle-aged and not remotely horsey, I asked the expert in my house, my ten-year-old daughter, if she’d heard of Esme. My daughter fixed me with a withering stare and said, ‘Of COURSE I know who she is, she’s got four ponies and three donkeys and guinea pigs and I was telling you about her ONLY LAST WEEK.’
I was duly chastened…to be fair, she follows several YouTubers and I can’t always keep track… Anyway, the minute I mentioned the project, my daughter practically started screaming with excitement so I went to watch some of Esme’s videos. What I discovered was a young woman with a lovely natural style and friendly manner, talking about the ponies she adores, explaining how to clean tack, reporting from horse shows around the world, and supporting some wonderful charities. She has an incredible following across social media, and is clearly a huge inspiration to many people of all ages, not just kids. Esme’s mission is to make equestrianism accessible and available to everyone, and as someone who feels similarly about books and reading, this is a mission I can definitely understand and get behind.
Here we are five months later and it’s been a very steep learning curve for someone whose equine knowledge was limited to a handful of riding lessons as a child and a large collection of My Little Ponies! I have to say though, the whole experience so far has been a joy. Esme and I now have ONE WHOLE BOOK going through copy edit in preparation for publication next March, and I am galloping my way (see what I did there?) through the first draft of Book 2, with Esme’s support and crucial insider knowledge.
THE STARLIGHT STABLES GANG will be published next year in paperback and limited edition hardback, and I am thrilled to be back writing for the 8-12 age group, the same audience as so many of my other books. Three books are planned, and each one will feature a different main character among our core group of friends at the stables. More in due course, but here’s Esme announcing the news to her fans on YouTube!