Worthing author Emily Williams has done it the hard way with her new young-adult novel Rafferty Lincoln Loves.
Emily is mum to a three-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old and is pregnant with a third child due in May. She also had to use dictation software to write the book, because of a wrist injury.
But she is delighted with the result.
Specially written for the charity The British Thoroughbred Retraining Centre, it was published by Lutino Publications, the story of four teenagers and their quest to keep the missing racehorse Profits Red Ridge hidden from the world.
Emily’s debut novel Letters to Eloise came out last year, and she has been pleased with the response. Now she goes in a slightly-different direction: “I had the idea some years ago, and I always wanted to write a novel for a charity. I have been a horse lover ever since I was a child, and they were the charity that I always supported. They were formed in the 1990s when I was a teenager. I have just always loved horses from when I was very little. My dad used to read us pony stories. I just love horses, I don’t know why. They are such powerful animals, and they bond really well with humans. They are also very loyal. I worked on a farm when I lived in Shropshire. My childhood was spent helping out with the horses.”
Emily has been the proud owner of a horse called Bella for the past 15 years; and it is Bella’s show name Profits Red Ridge that Emily has given to the horse in her new book.
“I wanted to write a modern-day horsey story. I wanted to write a horse novel, but I wanted it to be cutting edge and young adult. There are a lot of young-adult books around, but there are not many of them about horses.”
Rafferty Lincoln doesn’t like horses. Not one bit. But when the girl of his dreams pulls him into a world of lead ropes and horse brushes, who is he to say no. Except this isn’t any old horse. This is the missing racehorse, Profits Red Ridge – the horse Rafferty and three of his friends are hiding from the world.
“It starts with a newspaper article about a missing race horse. There was a car accident, and this racehorse just goes missing. That’s at the start of the novel, and the novel opens with a teenage boy on his paper round stumbling across this horse in a country lane. The book is about four school children that make friends as they decide to keep the horse. It’s a slightly-foolish adventure that they get sucked into because all the while everyone is looking for this racehorse.
“It has got some humour and it has got some tragedy. It is basically a young-adult contemporary novel with all those things and a bit of mystery. It’s about the children and the friendship that they make. They are all from different walks of life and wouldn’t have been friends anyway. When I wrote it, I just followed this story where it took me. I went where it led. I had the initial idea and then just followed it.”
And now, it seems, there could be a sequel. The charity certainly feels that there should be, not least because Emily leaves it all on a cliff-hanger...