Interview with Bonnie Marlewski-Probert

How did you start your writing career?
I started writing after owning my own horse farm in my 20’s. I was forever frustrated that I could only work with a small number of riders per day. One day, I was at a large horse show with my clients and students who were showing and having a great time. While standing at the rail watching a little girl riding her pony around the course, she fell off and rather than her trainer or her mother encouraging her to proceed, the trainer screamed at the top of her lungs, berating the child for having embarrassed the trainer in front of all these people. That was the moment when it dawned on me that the way I taught my students was 180 different than the way others did it. My students were winning blue ribbons all day long and having the time of their life while others were terrified of their trainers and being yelled at. My frustration over only being able to work with a small number of students grew after that day and eventually led to me writing how-to magazine articles for major horse magazines. I realized that by writing articles for horse publications, I could reach hundreds of thousands of riders through my writing. That realization led to syndicated columns, book deals, how-to videos, speaking engagements and many opportunities outside of the horse world. And it all started the day I watched that little girl come off her pony on a hunt course.
Describe your desk
My desk reflects how my brain works. It is usually difficult to tell what color the wood is on my desk because every square inch is covered in papers and books. I am forever working on dozens of projects at the same time. While some would find that problematic, I appreciate the idea that my brain can juggle dozens of projects at the same time which ensures I will never be bored!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in the Midwest and raised by three generations of business owners (my parents and grandparents on both sides). I learned a Midwestern work ethic early by being raised in our family grocery story, but also learned the loneliness that occurs when your parents are working from 6 am until 10 pm in that same family business. I was fortunate to have a family friend who introduced me to the world of horses as an eight-year-old and it was that introduction that led me on a lifelong path that included teaching, training, showing, writing, authoring more than 20 books myself, speaking and now, the proud owner of a book publishing firm. My Midwestern work ethic, combined with my passion for horses and teaching came together in a very logical, predictable path which led me to becoming a fulltime writer.
What's the story behind the Horse Tales for the Soul series of books?
The idea for the Horse Tales books came in 2000 while writing one of my two syndicated monthly columns for the horse industry. This particular column focused on one of my school string horses named "Leo". He was an ex-Polo Pony/now school horse who had a heart of gold and was so generous and laid back that, as I mentioned in the column, had he been a guy, he would have been the kind of guy you went out for a beer with on Friday nights. After that column appeared in magazines around the country, among my normal reader mail, I received two very special letters from readers that touched my heart and changed my life.

These two letters stood out because both of them included stories about the special horse in their life and ended with a similar statement, "after reading your column, I knew you would understand my story." And they were right, I did.

Each of those stories had been written by a normal, caring horse lover who had lived through an amazing, life changing event with their own horse and had never shared the story with anyone before. Both stories were overflowing with life lessons that anyone could relate to (whether you were into horses or not). Both stories were so heartwarming and wonderful that no one would have read them without CRYING! After having a good cry, I wondered how many other fabulous stories were out there that no one knew about because no one was sharing them? That was the day the Horse Tales for the Soul books were born!
What motivated you to become an author?
Frustration! I was teaching riding and was forever frustrated that I could only teach so many students in a day. That frustration was step one on my road to becoming an author. The next step was writing for horse magazines, that led to columns, how-to videos, speaking engagements and my first book, which led to the next and the next.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
For me, writing is both an emotional as well as a mathematical exercise. I know that probably sounds odd but it makes perfect sense. It is an emotional exercise when I know a reader has connected with a story on a level that will change who they are, change the way they view the world, change the way they feel about something. Being privileged to touch people on that level is a gift that I never take for granted. On a mathematical level when the structure of a story or a book all comes together like the pieces of a puzzle and you just know, like a math problem, your work added up to the right answer and all the pieces fit together perfectly. I guess some would refer to that as the left and right brain coming together in harmony.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
As odd as this may sound, it is the solving of puzzles that gets me out of bed in the morning. Every article, book, project is a puzzle and the challenge is to find all the right pieces, put them all together in a way that works, in order to solve the puzzle. Whether I'm working on one of my own books or one of our author's books or whether I'm helping an organization with their marketing, it is all a puzzle and the fun is in finding the right combination of pieces (characters, stories, editing, marketing ideas) that solves that puzzle.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
As the founder of Whitehall Publishing and someone who was raised with a Midwestern work ethic, if I'm not sitting at my desk working, my head is still hard at work. I am always thinking of new ideas, new projects, new solutions to the puzzle of the day. Oddly enough, I was never interested in school. While my grades were very good (making honor role), I found it boring and couldn't see the value in sitting in a classroom all day long being schooled by people who hadn't pushed their own envelope. However, now that I run my own business and write for a living, I am a voracious student - studying successful business people and authors and others who have a proven track record of success.
Published 2015-06-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 7
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 55,010. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
This is the final book in the series of 7 Horse Tales for the Soul. 44 true, heartwarming stories from horse lovers around the globe are sure to touch your heart.
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 6
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 57,330. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
Among the other 42 stories in this volume is one called Good on Cows by Laine Raia. This is a hysterically funny story about taking a cow horse for a ride on the beach and the funny and surprising things that happened on that ride.
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 5
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 58,280. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
Volume 5 brings you 46 new, true stories from horse lovers around the globe, including Deb Granger's funny, heart warming story of how she went to a dude ranch with some girlfriends in her 50s after not riding a horse for decades. It is a funny story with a touching ending you will love!
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 4
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 66,910. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
54 amazing, true horse-related stories that are sure to remind you of why you love horses so much! Volume 4 opens with an amazing, true story written by the book's cover designer who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Although she was not a horsemen, she quickly discovered that the entire Horse Tales for the Soul family of authors came together to support her through her amazing journey.
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 3
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 71,190. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
Volume 3 in the series brings you 58 new, true heart warming stories from horse lovers around the globe. Also, the amazing story of Elizabeth and Ginger is completed in this volume. This very true story has an ending you could never have imagined!
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 2
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 55,540. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 2 brings you 46 true stories of fun, adventure, sorrow and life lessons from horse lovers around the globe.
Horse Tales for the Soul, Volume 1
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 48,820. Language: English. Published: July 3, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Sports & outdoor recreation » Equestrian
45 true, heartwarming stories from horse lovers around the world. This is the first of seven books in the series.