A Horse for All the Right Reasons

     “Charlie and I just bought another horse,” I told a fan at the Rum River Library last weekend. “And probably for all the wrong reasons. She’s lame, and we don’t really need an extra horse, but I fell in love with her and she needed a home.”
     “Sounds like you got her for all the right reasons,” this woman replied.
     And so goes the logic of taking in horses who need a home, and our latest addition, a palomino quarter horse who we’ve named Ginger. She needs a home, and apparently, for reasons we do not fully understand, we need her in our lives, as well.
     I think this “follow your heart” or “follow your gut” approach to life is essential in the writing process. Often, for seemingly illogical reasons, a story idea tugs at my heart. I tried to talk myself out of writing a story set in the 1500s in the south of France, but it wrapped itself around my heart and led to Curse of a Winter Moon, which in turn led to writing another book set in France, this time for American Girl™ (Cécile: Gates of Gold), over ten years ago.
     I had never intended to write picture books, until a dog swam after the canoe I was paddling. The dog tugged at my heart and I knew he needed a ride. Had I not acted on those heartstrings, and had I not written down the early draft of One-Dog Canoe, I wouldn’t likely be celebrating the release of Some Cat!—to my astonishment—my seventh picture book.
     Listen to your heart. Follow your gut. These may be cliché phrases, but I have learned to live by these words.
     Ginger may or may not inspire a story, but either way, I look forward to her taking up room in my heart and following where life’s unfolding chapters take us!

Ginger with Mary’s daughter Kate Casanova


Mary’s Picture Books