Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Almost Double Digits: My 9th Equestrian Novel Arrives

by Natalie Keller Reinert


Next week, I send my ninth book into the world.

My ninth. Book. What? That's madness. But there they are, lined up on my author pages at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, my own website... nine books!

Turning For Home - my newest release
I started this craziness in 2011 with the publication of The Head and Not The Heart, but of course there were years worth of books written before this. Notebooks and floppy discs and CD-Rs full of other books. From the moment I could put words down on paper, I was writing stories. I remember writing a very detailed anthology of Black Beauty family stories in a pair of three-subject notebooks. That might have been fourth grade? I remember writing a full-length novel set on a farm in Virginia in a heavy early-model laptop that subsequently died, taking my first novel with it. That was the summer I turned sixteen.

I'm so lucky -- we're all so lucky -- to live in an age when publishing's gatekeepers are falling to the wayside, and anyone who wants to tell a story, can tell a story. I don't know about you, but I was getting pretty tired of what passed for horse stories not too long ago. In mass-produced fiction, horses always seem to be background noise to a love story or a murder, and they always seem to be doing the same thing -- colicking, foundering, winning the Triple Crown despite incredible odds.

Now we have a thriving world of equestrian fiction written for equestrians, where horses are stars in their own rights, not some pieces of landscaping in the background. This is exactly where I want to be -- right smack in the middle of a publishing revival, writers writing about what they love, connecting to readers who feel the same way.

Telling stories is my greatest pleasure. I don't try to write difficult, trendsetting, culturally subversive works that make readers change the way they look at the world. I'm not going after literature prizes here. Don't get me wrong -- I like literature. I like difficult, trendsetting, culturally subversive works. But my job is to tell stories, mainly about Thoroughbreds, because I love them, and I want everyone else to love them too. (Is that so much to ask?)

I guess in that, I'm riding a trend a little bit. After all, retired racehorses are coming back in a big way! Look, they're even getting their own magazine!

Photo: Retired Racehorse Project
Retired racehorses have always been my passion, but this is the first book I've written about the actual moment of retirement, and the question of "What do we do with this horse now?" Turning For Home centers around Tiger, the horse that gave Alex new hope in The Head and Not The Heart, and the challenges surrounding his retirement from the track.

Turning For Home also takes a look at the good, and the bad, in both racing and Thoroughbred aftercare.

I don't know if Turning For Home answers any questions, or if it is culturally subversive, or any of that previously mentioned literary gobbledegook. I do think it's a good story, and a story that so many equestrians like me can relate to.

What happens to our horses? Where do they all go? How can we protect them? When Alex asks those questions, I know she's not alone. I know there's a chorus of us out there, those words echoing in our brains.

In my acknowledgements, I thank a couple of retirement organizations for their help, whether they inspired scenes in the book, or have been an integral part of my writing career. Here's a shout-out for them now:

The Retired Racehorse Project, who seemed to rise up just as I was getting out of the training business, and their Thoroughbred Makeover. I want to do a Thoroughbred Makeover so bad. I have to be content with inventing one for Alex.

Thoroughbred Retirement of Tampa (T.R.O.T.), who helped me with my very first author event, right at Tampa Bay Downs. Their volunteers inspire me every day.

Hidden Acres Rescue For Thoroughbreds (HART), whom I see a lot less often than I would like. Just a few miles from the woods and fields where I used to ride my first Thoroughbred, they're busy bringing in Thoroughbreds who need help, teaching them manners and jobs, and finding them forever homes. I promise I'll be back really soon!

And before I go, a shout-out to my wonderful cover designer, who created Turning For Home's striking cover image, and asked that I make a donation to an equine charity in lieu of payment. You're amazing, and I'm making that donation to HART, my hometown's Thoroughbred aftercare heroes.

Turning For Home will be released in digital format everywhere you buy books on March 3rd is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Page Foundry, and elsewhere, with a paperback edition coming soon. You can read the first chapter here at my website, and order a Kindle edition at Amazon from the link below.

I'm so excited to share this one with you! Be sure to keep in touch and let me know what you think. I'm writing these for all of us. And I'm about to get busy on book number ten...


  1. Hey, Natalie - good for you! I loved your other novels, and looking forward to reading Turning for Home!

  2. Congratulations on 9 published books! Love the sound of your latest to be released - and of course the topic! ;)