Wednesday, September 28, 2016

RIDING CHANCE by Christine Kendall

I had to feature Christine's Kendall's upcoming debut--it's beautiful, and it has horses! I really hope all libraries get a hold of this one, and that plenty of teens, particularly in urban areas, get to read it. It releases on October 11:

Troy is a kid with a passion. And dreams. And wanting to do the right thing. But after taking a wrong turn, he's forced to endure something that's worse than any juvenile detention he can imagine-he's "sentenced" to the local city stables where he's made to take care of horses. The greatest punishment has been trying to make sense of things since his mom died but, through his work with the horses, he discovers a sport totally unknown to him-polo. Troy's has to figure out which friends have his back, which kids to cut loose, and whether he and Alisha have a true connection. Laced with humor and beating with heartache, this novel will grip readers, pull them in quickly, and take them on an unforgettable ride. Set in present day Christine Kendall's stunning debut lets us come face-to-face with the challenges of a loving family that turn hardships into triumphs.

According to your website bio, you studied music growing up. In what ways, if any, has music influenced your creative process?

Listening to music is a part of my daily life. Many writers prefer to work in silence but music helps me bridge the gap between the real and fictive worlds. I sometimes listen to a favorite tune as a warm-up to a writing session but, more often, I have music in the background as I write. 

It's a great way to renew creativity too. RIDING CHANCE has been described as a "heartwarming tale of redemption and second chances." Why, in your opinion, is it important for readers to see hope within the stories they read?
Stories are a reflection of our lives and their many challenges. Hope is what enables us to keep moving forward and to remain optimistic during tough times. It's something characters, both real and imaginary, must have in order to thrive. 

I couldn't agree more. I love how Troy finds solace in horseback riding. What do you hope readers will gain from his story, and what about it was the most fun to write?

I hope readers will develop a greater appreciation of the powerful bond between humans and animals. In the book, Troy struggles to be himself until he lets Chance into his life. What happens after that—the love and respect they share—seems magical, but anyone who has spent time with animals knows how deep the relationships can be. Writing about the link between the young man and his horse was the really fun part. I did a lot of research on horses but recalling my experiences with my first cat, Lhasa, was also delightful.

Animals are such wonderful creatures, and I'll bet Lhasa was a great cat! What are some of your current projects?

It's coincidental that Riding Chance has a male protagonist but I'm working on another coming of age story with a female leading character. I'm also continuing to develop a collection of short stories.

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