Monday, April 20, 2015

Write What you Know

I’m going to make an assumption here and feel that I’m most probably right.  (Don’t we always do that when we assume something?).  Here it is:
You’ve never heard of the place Rodrigues.

Was I right?

Rodrigues is a small island found off to the far left of Western Australia, somewhere in line with the top end of Queensland.  Or to be more succinct, it is an island found 650 kilometres to the east of Mauritius.

My husband is a Rodriguan.  He often says to people that if they were to look at a map of the world and grab a pen, then they could put the tip of the pen below Mauritius to the right, somewhere below Madagascar and make a dot.  Then Rodrigues would be on the map.

How on earth does this relate to horses, writing and publishing?  Well, I think the best stories are those that are written by people in the know.  In other words, write what you know.  This can make it more convincing and interesting.  My next novel aimed at the mature reader is to be set on this tiny island.

On my first visit to Rodrigues I was intrigued – and maybe a little devastated – to find that this gorgeous tropical island had no horses.  No horses!

And yet, there were people who liked the animals, even had a love of them.  When I started to ask questions, it became apparent that people got to see horses if they travelled to Mauritius, and that it was from here that any horses would get to the island of Rodrigues – via ferry.

As I explored this mountainous and rocky island, I realised that horse owners would struggle for food, or at least for grazing for their equine friends.  The livestock I could see – goats and cattle, were a bit on the gaunt side and had to be travelled far to fill their bellies.  At first out of curiosity, I started to question how horses would come to the island, how they could be fed and housed and who would tend to them if they got sick, had foals or needed castrating.  The curiosity then became a challenge and a desire to write.

What if I could write the story of the horse crazy woman who follows the love of her life back to his home island, settles there and in a mad scheme, plans to import horses from Mauritius to Rodrigues and set up a trail riding business on a tropical island?  And here you have the basis for the current novel I’m working on.  I hope you’ll join me to see how it turns out!

In the meantime, stay tuned here at Horse Crossing as my next post will be provided to you while I’m enjoying a holiday in Rodrigues as my husband and I introduce our first daughter to her Rodriguan grandparents.  You can also follow along with the progress of the story over at my website, Horse Country.


  1. Christine - this premise sounds fascinating. I have been to a somewhat similar place (although not tropical) called Halibut Cove, which is a windswept, isolated place across the water from Homer, Alaska. It is, to my knowledge, only reachable by boat or float plane, and not very many people live there. I was mighty surprised to see a couple of horses there, and of course I had many questions also about how they even got there, and how they would care for them. Good luck with your novel! Can't wait to read it!

  2. Hi Linda!

    Glad to hear the idea has appeal! The big question I have is, if there are no equine vets, how skilled will you need to be as a horse owner??