Toni Mari has taught dressage for twenty years. She owns and operates High Spirits Farm. She has coached riders in local and regional competition. She resides in New Jersey with her two children, two dogs, five cats and five horses. High Spirits Farm is currently producing a natural horse treat called Benecubes.
Describe your desk
I have a corner desk in my bedroom sitting next to sliding glass doors that lead onto my deck. Beyond the deck are my horses. I can see them as they eat, graze and sunbathe. It is as close to being outside as I can get without being outside. I do have to admit to closing the curtains on that window when there is snow outside. I'm not a fan of snow, it makes more work out in the barn, it covers the ground making for a very boring day for horses who like to graze and it usually thwarts riding since I only have an outdoor arena. I resort to looking at the framed photos and paintings of horses I have hanging around the desk. But when the sun is shining right in on me, it inspires me and my fingers fly across the keyboard. The faster I get my allotted words in; the faster I can get out into that sunshine.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
When I was in middle school, my family moved from the suburbs to a small farm. We started collecting discarded animals, an old horse and pony being among them. I was hooked and my lifelong passion for horses began. The more I talked about my days with non horse people, the more I realized how exiting and different my routine day was. But it wasn't until I was a little older that I was able to focus those experiences into writing. I was too darn busy living the equestrian sports lifestyle. I love writing, but am easily distracted by a sunny day, a dirty barn or an unridden horse. It may take me longer than average to produce a novel, but I put my heart, soul and experience into it.