Interview with Hilary Walker

What's the story behind your latest book?
"The Jack Harper Trilogy" began as one short novella, "Riding Out the Devil."

The book was inspired by my son's heroic battle with ulcerative colitis. Witnessing his determination not to let this awful disease define who he is, I was moved to create a protagonist with the same illness. My son has proved that a normal life is possible, and I set out to show this through Jack Harper, a talented horse trainer and lapsed Catholic with a dark past.

My uncle read the book and said: "There is a much bigger book trying to get out."

He was right, and the trilogy was born!
What do your fans mean to you?
Feedback from fans of my books has been vital in encouraging me to continue writing, as well as helping me decide which direction my next book should take. I do listen!

For example: I was going to finish writing about Jack Harper after this trilogy. But so many readers have asked for more books about him that I am now working on his next trilogy! :)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I LOVE helping people.

Through my equestrian blogs and book titles I strive to bring knowledge and encouragement to horse riders, especially those just starting out on their great equine adventures. Horses have been a vital part of my happiness and social life. I want as many people as possible to enjoy being around these magnificent animals and the wonderful group of friends they naturally gather round them,

My Catholic faith is very important to me, and it saddens me that so many in this world lack the peace and joy that Christ brings into the lives of believers.

When someone reads one of my Jack Harper Trilogy books and tells me that my writing has brought them closer to God and made them re-examine their relationship with Him, I am overjoyed that I have been God's instrument in helping them understand and appreciate Christ.
What are you working on next?
The next Jack Harper Trilogy.

It has been very gratifying to discover that many readers are so emotionally invested in the characters that they want me to continue writing about them. I've also been given my orders about which ones to give a bigger role to!

This coincides with my own difficulty in moving on from the trilogy's cast of characters, so I am very happy to chronicle their next adventures.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
First, I have to feed my horses and muck out their stalls.They are free to come and go from the pasture as they desire, but I have to allow time every morning for potentially messy stalls!

Second, I like to go to daily Mass: it sets a wonderful tone for the rest of my day.

Third, I meet my husband for a competition to see who can finish the crossword first.

Then - time for a morning of writing!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Riding my horse, competing on my horse, meeting with horse friends or having coffee with friends from church.

I also volunteer at a pregnancy crisis center once a week. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to help an expectant mother decide to keep her baby.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was "A Perfect Christmas" while I was living in England.

An agricultural magazine was holding a writing competition and my instructor at the time encouraged all of us in her creative writing class to enter.

A fellow writer won the contest with a story more relevant to the farming theme (hers was about lambing) but I was awarded second prize because my tale was in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.

Inspired by my son's very naughty pony, Kimcote Carlos, you can read it for free on WattPad under my username HilaryWalker7.
What is your writing process?
I am one of those writers who likes to know where my story is going. Flying by the seat of my pants is too nerve-wracking.

I start with an overall theme - e.g. helping people with ulcerative colitis by showing how it is possible to live a normal life if certain lifestyle changes are made.

Then I create a protagonist, and throw a lot of realistic situations at him or her. I have found Andrew Mayne's book "How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours" to be very helpful with this. He advocates jotting down around eight bullet points, or main events, in the book, without getting bogged down in detail.

Once that's done, my creative juices start flowing and characters start to come to life in my head.

After that, a lot of my chapter synopses are written in dialogue as this makes the individual players more real.

With a detailed synopsis the first draft is usually written in about a month. Then the really hard work of editing and re-writing starts!

Those bullet points get
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Probably the same things that motivate most indie authors. I love having control over all aspects of publishing my work, and the swiftness with which anything I write can become an ebook and printed version.

Although it is hard work learning how to edit, format, publish and market my books, the labors bring with them a sense of accomplishment.

There is always more to discover and better methods to master, which keeps the process interesting!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
By making my books available to a wide audience which I couldn't reach on my own.
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author of all time is John Galsworthy, who wrote "The Forsyte Saga." I recently discovered that he, too, began with one trilogy but went on to write two more about the same characters. So I am in excellent company.

C.S. Lewis is another beloved author. He had a wonderful sense of humor, an amazingly creative mind, and I love his 'reluctant' conversion to Christianity from atheism. His "Mere Christianity" is a down-to-earth, practical guide for anyone seeking answers in this secular world. And, no, he wasn't even a Catholic (unlike Tolkien) so I'm not playing favorites here!
Published 2017-01-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Horse Who Hated Christmas
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 5,410. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2017 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Holiday » Christmas, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Paula's mare gets colic every Christmas, but her owner has no idea why because she has to go away over the holiday. She always comes back to a very sick horse and a huge vet bill. This year Paula doesn't have to travel. Finally, she can get to the bottom of the mystery! Enlisting the help of a friend, she gets down to some serious detective work. What they discover is not at all what they expect!
Riding Out the Turbulence: Companion Short Story to The Jack Harper Trilogy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,110. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Christian » Short stories, Fiction » Christian » General
A short story. Financial adviser Tim is annoyed to be visiting his parents' farm over Thanksgiving. But instead of a boring country break, his trip becomes an occasion of grief and intense introspection. When he thinks he can return to normal life in the Big Apple, he witnesses two events which challenge his views on life. Will Timothy answer God's call? Or revert to his materialistic lifestyl
Shoestring Rider
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 9,420. Language: English. Published: December 7, 2014 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Emma’s horse Wisdom doesn’t calm down in front of his fences even after private lessons with the barn instructor Ms. Larimar and the trainer gives up on her. Emma is desperate to solve the problem so she can compete her horse in one day events, but lacks the money to take her horse to a professional for help. Enter Jason Etaloni, horse trainer and television star.
The Horse Who Went to Church
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 5,450. Language: English. Published: June 1, 2014 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
A rider hauls her horse in the trailer to church before the dressage show on Sunday. Shortly before Mass, the escaped gelding is galloping round the pews and terrifying the parishioners. Does the priest react by throwing the owner out of the church with her horse? And, most important of all, does she ever make it to the dressage show?
The Dog with Two Lives
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 5,360. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2013 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Animals, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Pets & livestock
Scamp is a Jack Russell of dubious breeding and unconventional colors who doesn’t let that stop him from being determined to come home with us. Once ensconced in our hearts, he embarks on a series of hair-raising adventures, one of which results in his premature first death.
The Horse Inside
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 6,300. Language: English. Published: June 18, 2013 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Inspirational
Low-level rider Catherine and her ex-racing mare don’t fit in at the dressage barn. She gets laughed at by the other boarders when she hopes to be chosen to ride on a team at the upcoming dressage show. But the day of the show proves a total surprise to everyone, especially Catherine.
Optimism Made Simple
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,780. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2012 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
This is a short anthology of five true, inspirational stories which illustrate the amazing power of optimism. Coupled with forgiveness and charitable thinking towards those who wish us evil, positive thoughts can resolve the toughest of situations to produce a happy result.
Invalid Argument
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,410. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2012 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General, Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
Shoppers mob a large man trying in vain to get out of his ostentatious vehicle, which he’s parked in a disabled parking space without a disabled sticker. But they’re in for a big surprise when they discover the truth.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,430. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Stunning Kirstin thinks physical perfection is essential to gain the true love. Losing a finger in an accident makes her feel imperfect and therefore unlovable. When the handsome Gordon falls for her on the Austrian ski slopes, Kirstin is quick to dismiss his feelings as fake. But in doing so, she risks losing more than her finger ...
Bridled Passion: A Horse Trilogy
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 6,250. Language: English. Published: November 23, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Pets & livestock
Three true stories. Two of them are about an old ex-racehorse who sheds her bad habits and serious behavioral issues to become a consistent winner, the author’s equine soul-mate and a teenage girl’s savior. The third follows the change in her son Cruz Bay from a rejected, accident-prone foal to winner of blue ribbons.
Hillie's Story
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,170. Language: English. Published: November 13, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Nonfiction » Science and Nature » Animals
Living in Germany made it difficult to find a Golden Retriever, a rare breed over there. My husband and I had to fly to Hanover to check out a new litter of puppies. Over the next fourteen years Hillie shared horse trail rides with us, skied with us in Austria, traveled to Italy and America and got arrested in England. She was a truly international family member!
How Not to Rescue a Racehorse
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 5,120. Language: English. Published: October 24, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
The tale of an attempted racehorse rescue behind a not-so-dumb husband’s back!
Unfairly Ewesed
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,270. Language: English. Published: October 17, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Humor
A family’s mission to clear their Golden Retriever’s reputation as a vicious sheep-killer has an unexpected outcome!
The Ulu Blues
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 6,110. Language: English. Published: September 1, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
The family goes on a fabulous Alaskan cruise. But far from being interested in seaplane tours, jumping whales, and seals basking on ice floes bathed in the glow of sunset, Grandmum has one thought -- and one though only: finding and purchasing a ulu. What exactly is a ‘ulu’ and why does Grandmum want one so badly?
A Dog Named Blue
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,260. Language: English. Published: July 25, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
When the author sets out to find a big companion dog, little does she expect to take home a huge Great Dane who knocks her over! As a beloved family member, Blue creates colorful memories and captures her four year old son’s youth in an unforgettable sunset tableau.
Cracklin' Ginger
Price: Free! Words: 1,780. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Working for a school project at a horse rescue facility, Nelson falls for the one horse which can’t be found a new home. Several years later, he visits the rescue center to see the mare who stole his heart -- only to find that Toscana is gone. What does ‘gone’ mean?
Felicity's Show Flair
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 5,220. Language: English. Published: May 18, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
After Felicity's groom ran off with her husband, the last thing she needs is the series of unfortunate riding incidents that befall her at a local horse show. So many things go so badly wrong in full view of the foul Caroline Smigean-Smythe, local reporter, who will take full advantage of the situation to make Felicity’s life even more embarrassing. But who’ll have the last laugh?
Bird Feathers and Horse Tails
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,110. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » General
This enchanting collection contains three short flash stories and one poem designed to be read while curled up in a comfy chair. Enjoy the romance of a stranger communing with a wild bird in Lugano, Switzerland. A governess cart ride through the snow to Midnight Mass at Christmas. The antics of a foal as he encounters snow for the first time. And dastardly deeds at the local horse barn!
The Naga of Lyon
Price: $1.99 $1.49 USD. (25% off!) Words: 5,140. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2011 by JMS Books LLC. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
An executive’s wife sees a camel running down the highway towards Lyon, a big city in France. Yet her husband refuses to believe her. That night she and the camel embark on a series of unforeseen and humorous adventures, but still her husband refuses to believe the animal exists. That is, until she gets the last laugh.