friends gone missing & writing about horses

The hardest part and also the most rewarding in the writing of historical fiction is getting the details right; for that you need either a staff of research people, unlimited time, or helpful collaborators. While I was writing Into the Wilderness I had a great collaboration going with a few people I met on the research & craft board at Compuserve. It has been many years since I belonged to Compuserve, and I’ve lost track of most of those folks. It’s the down-side of the internet, the way people drift away.

Kaera H. was one of the people who was most helpful to me (I don’t know how helpful I was to her, but I tried), especially when it came to writing about horses. She had to steer me right many times, but it was always great when I finally got something right:

Me: “Richard was leaning out over the backs of the geldings, shouting to them, but they raced on, great gouts of ice and mush hurtling up from their hooves.”
Kaera: This is terrific. I just had to highlight it because it’s so perfect.
Nothing like an idiot, shouting at the horses, feeding their hysteria —
expecting them to settle down. He totally lost it, right along with the
horses! I loved it.

Don’t know where Kaera disappeared to, but I still think of her and consult her old emails when I’m writing a bit about a horse — as I was today. I wish her well and hope she’s content, whereever she has landed.

3 Replies to “friends gone missing & writing about horses”

  1. Well, I’m not sure how many people are still there, but you should pop back over to Compuserve. I’ve never been in a writing group, and I’m not a full-time writer, so I go there to get my share of like-minded people. Of course, the environment of your stories is probably second nature to you by now, but if you did have any questions… Recent ones include: How does it feel to be strangled? How can you poison a delivering mother without killing the baby? Can one twin be born premature while the other is carried to term? Um, okay, apparently we’re very morbid, but that’s not *always* the case.

    Either way, I love the books and gave a few co-workers a fright when I shreiked so loudly, hearing Thunder at Twilight was at the publishers!! What would it take to bribe you to do a signing in the Midwest?

  2. Christina, first, bribes are an underrated commodity, say I, BUT I’m afraid any chocolate sent my way won’t do a bit of good when it comes to touring. The publishers are cutting way back because the benefits (in terms of sales) don’t outweigh the costs. And besides that, I really hate touring.

    As far as Compuserve is concerned, I’m glad to hear the debates are still going strong. But I had such a terrible time getting out of there (a year of me asking for my account to be cancelled, and them charging me, and calling, and letters, etc etc) that I can’t venture back. But say hey from me, please.

  3. I may see what I can do about the chocolate (just ‘cuz, and, as we all know, a happy writer is a Good Thing). Also, I log onto Compuserve through the Net (too cheap to pay that much for Internet, and now that they’re owned by AOL, no way!). And I will pass on your greetings :)

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