Horses with Annie Rose

Annie has a new book out Recipe for Mr Super! As part of her Recipes of Life Serise so I caught up with Annie to talk Horses????

 

All my books so far have had dogs in, but in Recipe for Mr Super, I’ve been allowed to indulge my love ofauthor horses. A quick disclaimer – all horses in this book are based on horses I’ve known, but, except for Charlie Brown, the Shetland Pony – that was his real name, names have been changed to protect the innocent!

The names weren’t the only thing I made up, okay, I’ll admit I never evented. I have acted as groom, helped at cross country events, been a dressage writer for many, many dressage tests including some major competitions over a long period of time, but I just couldn’t face competing. So, it’s fair to say the eventing world in Recipe for Mr Super is entirely imaginary, except that one event is held at Tweseldown – a real place, and my absolute favourite eventing venue. A place I have spent happy hours, helping, or watching, some talented riders compete. I’ve even gone cross country schooling there on my own horse several times and loved the experience, but never had any desire to compete at any level.

IMG_6811People always tell me that the adrenalin high you get from doing well in competition is the ultimate thrill and worth the anxiety of getting ready to compete. I never agreed. Even the clear-round competition at the local show would have me hyperventilating.

I can’t remember when my love affair with horses started. I was very young. I’d ride anything whenever I had the opportunity, but the only person we knew back then with a horse was my godmother.

My first book was Black Beauty. I still have that copy, the colour plates in it are amazing and it would be my desert island choice. I’ve had it so long; I can’t imagine ever being without it. Photos 2 on 8 Jul 2022 at 20_28_28I was 11 years old, when a lady, my mother worked with, who had a pony, which was a bit of a handful, asked her if I’d like to ride it. Her own daughter had outgrown it, so they’d bought her a horse and needed someone to exercise the pony. I’ve always assumed my mother didn’t understand what a bit of a handful meant at the time, rather than she thought she could afford to lose her eldest daughter. The pony was a rig, with a mind of his own – initially I spend a lot of time on the floor, but it was a great learning curve and I loved him to pieces, spending all my free time at the stables. Eventually, I outgrew him too, but was offered the ride on another horse at the same stables, a lot steadier, and a true gentleman, until a permanent home could be found for him.

I’d been married less than six months, when I finally had the opportunity to buy a horse. I’d been having Beziqueriding lessons and hacking out at a local stable for some time, but it wasn’t a considered decision. I didn’t go out that day having decided to buy a horse, but I was told during a lesson that the horse I was riding, would be going to go back to the dealers and not available for lessons the following week. She wasn’t popular with clients other than me, being a head shaker and very green about everything. The deal I struck with my husband was that if I gave up smoking for a month, I could buy her. I never smoked again, I couldn’t, because although I didn’t tell him, I’d already paid for her.

We went on to develop a really special relationship, (both horse and husband). She taught me so much about unconditional love and trust. I like to think I taught her to jump. She’d only ever been driven, until shortly before she came into the riding school, and responded well to simple voice commands like, “left” or “right” and you had to tell her to “jump” if you wanted her to go over, rather than through or round any obstacle!

My biggest problem with her was that she hated being tied up and could untie herself from just about anything and sometimes her mates! She was a real Houdini, but having done it, she wouldn’t move further than the nearest hay net or patch of grass. She just didn’t like to be attached to anything.

Sadly, she was fatally injured in a road traffic accident, which left such a huge hole in my life that I was finally persuaded to look for another horse and found a huge tri-coloured mare. The picture IMG_7917is by the very talented equestrian artist Lydia Kiernan. I’m not aware that she ever met my horse, but this is just the most picture, it hangs on my wall. It has her facial markings spot on and has really captured her expression. This horse and I clicked, and I just knew I’d found somebody special. There were all sorts of alarm bells that should have rung. She had sarcoids, a cracked hoof, an irregular heartbeat, a dust allergy – I could go on, but the vet took one look at her and asked me what I thought I wanted.

I told him, I needed a horse, no bigger than 16 ½ hands to take care of me, to rebuild my trust in riding. A horse I could hack on my own, and maybe occasionally jump.  

The vet turned and said, ‘Then she’s perfect for you. I’m not going to vet her, because she’ll fail. Just one thing, promise me you will give yourself a year with her to build a relationship. There will be times during that year when you’ll struggle – wonder what you’ve done and wish you’d never bought her. You’ll get her home, think she’s perfect, but give it three weeks and she’ll go through that difficult toddler stage. She’ll start testing boundaries. Don’t let her get away with anything. Always be kind, but firm and soldier on. It will be worth it. If after a year, and I really don’t think this will happen, but if you haven’t bonded then you owe it to both of you, to find her another home.’ He issued a passport for her, and in it said she was 16 ½ hands – years later my then vet said, you do know she’s a lot bigger than that – don’t you?

We did bond and had sixteen amazing years together. She put a broken person back together and we both learned to trust each other. She overcame her fears about walking through water and I learned to accept that if something was really frightening, in horse terms, it was better to walk, or trot past it backwards!

I have just started having lessons again and recently met a lovely horse – a real black beauty!IMG_6999

 

 

 

Recipe for Mr Super by Anni Rose

 
Where’s a hero when you need him?
 
In Autumn Rigden’s case, enjoying semi-celebrity status on the other side of the world. Although Nick Flynn is no superman – talented horse rider and Super Sportstar of the Year he might be, but he has a habit of leaving Autumn in the lurch when she needs him most.

Anyway, Autumn is too busy with her new career to care about Nick. Okay, so she’s had to give up her OIympic dressage dream, her childhood home and beloved Shetland pony – and all to the benefit of Gordon, Nick’s money-grabbing father. But Autumn’s new ambition is to become an heir hunter extraordinaire, and with a promising commission and only a few weirdos demanding she prove they’re related to royalty, she’s all set.

But when Mr Super returns, will Autumn find that forgetting about horses and the Flynns is harder than she could have ever imagined?

 

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Which Books… Annie Rose

Anni Rose is my favoutie Choc-lit author but that only has something to do with an oven and Bristol Ikea. (I’m in Nottingham) So I am especally excited to interview her on Monday before her next novel “Recipe for Mr Perfect”

Which book do you wish you’d written. author

There are so many. You’re talking to a great Jilly Cooper fan. I’d love to have written Riders, Rivals, Polo, Score etc. Jilly always tells a really cracking story and Rupert Campbell-Black is such a great hero.

Which book cover have you looked at and gone that’s amazing.

I like books that feel nice as well as look nice. One of the ones in my bookcase that springs to mind is “A multitude of Sins” by Richard Ford.  The title is slightly raised and it’s on a matt paper, so feels lovely to handle. The picture on the front is of station but done beautifully using minimal colours. It’s a picture I’d happily hang on my wall. That’s the only downside these days with electronic books, I seem to take less notice of covers than I used to.

 

Which book character/s would you protect from the world?

I am not sure about protect from the world, but I’d maybe make Cinderella aware that foot fetishists might not be the best people for long term romances.

Which was the last book that broke your heart.

I cry quite easily, but the last book to make me cry was “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead – the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It is loosely based around a real-life true case of systemic abuse at a boys’ detention centre in America, so worlds away from the sort of novel I would normally read. But it is beautifully written, very emotional and thought provoking.

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Which book would you make your child/ren read.

I don’t have children, but as a young child I loved both Tom’s Midnight Garden and the Secret Garden. I’d have loved a friend like Dickon, then I moved on to Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series and wanted to be able to go to boarding school. When horses became an important part of my life so did the Pullein-Thompson sisters and their stories.

Which book would you rewrite in a different genre.

Tess of the D’Urbervilles as a romantic comedy! No, seriously, I’m not sure about different genres but I would definitely give all Thomas Hardy novels a happy ending.

If you could write any genre which one would it be?

I love reading romantic comedies and that’s what I love writing, so I am happy. I also enjoy reading crime novels if they are not too bloodthirsty, but I’m not sure I’d be able to write one.

If you could redesign any book cover which one, would you choose?

Jon McGregor’s – “Lean Fall Stand”. I hate this cover. It’s one I’d give Berni Stevens to sort out.

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Which book taught you the largest lesson about life.

Good Housekeeping Cookery Compendium – I have my grandmother’s copy and it’s still full of her newspaper cuttings and recipes, including her famous Toffee Crispies, which we make regularly. It’s still our go to book for Christmas dinner, although if you’re making Toad in the Hole, use equal quantities of egg, flour and milk and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Which three books would you take on holiday in 2021?

I have most if not all my fellow choc lit authors’ books on my kindle, so, excluding them.

there’s “V2” by Robert Harris, that came out last year and I still haven’t got round to reading it. Mark Billingham’s latest “Rabbit Hole” came out in July and “Redhead by the side of the Road” by Anne Tyler are still on my “to be read” pile.

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Hilarious and heartfelt. The perfect romance

How do you know if you’ve found Mr Perfect or Mr Perfectly Useless?

Jess Willersey realised things with Martin weren’t perfect, but it’s still a shock when he leaves. Is she destined to a singleton lifestyle with only her cat for company, or could a certain hat-astrophic encounter with a handsome stranger at a rather unusual wedding signal a turning point?

At the same time, Jess’s best friends and work colleagues, Maggie and Sarah, are going through their own personal disasters – from shocking family revelations to dodgy dating app-related drama.

To top it all off, it seems that the handsome stranger won’t remain a stranger – and when Neil Jackson turns up at the friends’ offices with yet another bombshell, how long will he stay ‘Mr Perfect’ in Jess’s eyes?

 

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You can keep up with all things Anni related

 

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Meet The Family – Anni Rose

Anni is one of Choc-lit’s new authors and I couldn’t wait to sit down with her to discuss her debut…

Welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” Anni…

What inspired you to write “Recipe for Mr Right?”author

Okay, I should say at this point, I have a fantastic kitchen. I love my kitchen. It was designed and built by my sister and of course, the book is entirely fictional, but a bad experience with a new kitchen a few years ago might have been the inspiration. And once I did enter ten competitions a day, but only for a month not a year. I did have some success – I became the proud owner of a “Write your own Will” book, a pair of rubber gloves, Ideal Home tickets and two tickets to a Donny Osmond Concert!

What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

Having been on their “tasting panel” for about five or six years I knew how Choc Lit worked. I liked the fact I could submit a manuscript directly to them for a review by their “tasters”. I was completely blown away when I got the call to say the panel had liked my submission and they wanted to offer me a contract. Having read and loved so many of their authors’ books over the years, I felt a bit overwhelmed to be joining such an amazing line-up, but everyone has been so supportive and professional that I have enjoyed every step of the journey towards publication. And have you seen my gorgeous cover? This is just such an exciting time for me.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

I think believe in yourself and enjoy the journey would be good advice. I’d also say, make sure you carry a notebook. You never know when an idea for a story will pop into your head, or you’ll see or overhear something really cracking that you just know you will want to play around with later.

meeting-1245776_640How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Rejections hurt. I know people say you shouldn’t take them personally, but it’s difficult not to. When you’ve spent so long working on a book, it does feel personal. I am lucky to be part of supportive writing groups who always encourage me to keep going.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

Do it. There are plenty of courses and advice out there to help you with technique and give you encouragement, but they don’t have your imagination and can’t write your story for you. You need to start getting those words down on the page. And I’d say, join a writer’s group. Getting honest critiques from your peers is really useful and helps you develop as a writer far more than getting your mother to review it. “So many words dear, you have worked hard” was not the most helpful advice I’ve ever had.

If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

I work in Registration and Bereavement Services, but love photography and am a huge fan of Great British Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing. While you’re unlikely to find me dancing (no sense of rhythm), if I’m not working or writing, I can usually be found behind a camera, walking my dogs or eating cake.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

back-to-school-2707089_640I write whenever I can, so it can be any time of the day (or night). I try not to go back and read what I’ve written the day before. There’s plenty of time for editing once the first draft is finished, otherwise I get caught up with rewriting and editing and before I know where I am, a couple of hours have passed in which time I haven’t written anything new. I do write directly on to a computer, but really love writing in long-hand and tend to revert to that if I get stuck on a particular bit. That’s my justification for buying new stationery – actually there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for a new pink notebook or gel filled pen! Oh, and I find I am most productive when not too far away from a large mug of tea.   

Which authors inspired you to write?

There are so many, I wouldn’t know where to start. I have always loved losing myself in a good book. But I guess crime (as long as it’s not too gruesome) and romance would be my favourite genres. Romance wise I was always first in the queue for a new Jilly Cooper or Jennifer Crusie. These days Jo Watson is always on my kindle, along with all my fellow Choc Lit writers’ books.

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

Now that’s a fabulous thought! Lily James and Cillian Murphy would have to be at the top of any short list for Ruby and Adam. I see Ruby as feisty and determined, but quirky and fun.

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They’d closely followed by a young Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. There would definitely have to be chemistry between my leading characters, so if either Lily or Cilian couldn’t make it, I think they’d be perfect. 

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I have so many ideas swirling around in my head. They are all in various stages of completeness. Book two, is with Choc Lit and due out later in the year. All my books are set in my fictional town of Redford, they are standalone, but some characters do appear in more than one. Book two centres is another romantic comedy set around three women Jess, Maggie and Sarah who work together. Each woman suffers a personal catastrophe and can’t help but bring their personal problems to work. Are their working relationships strong enough to help each other through their own crises, while having to deal with an office merger that looks set to put them all out of work?

 

More About Anni

Born and raised in Berkshire, Anni emigrated to Wiltshire six years ago, where she lives with her husband, sister, two dogs, a cat and Midge, the grey speckled hen.


As a child, she could usually be found either reading or writing fiction, producing reams of stories over the years.
On leaving school, the need to earn a living sort of got in the way and her writing was limited to financial reports or employees’ handbooks, but a local writing course and an encouraging group of writing friends re-ignited the fiction flame many years later and Anni went on to have several short stories published in various magazines.


Anni would describe her writing these days as mainly modern romantic love stories with a healthy dollop of humour thrown in. Away from writing Anni can usually be found behind a camera, walking the dogs, enjoying one of her husband’s curries or one of her sister’s bakery treats.

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A sprinkle of luck and a dollop of fate …

Ruby Brooks is a little sceptical when her horoscope say she’s going to have a fabulous year – especially when she loses a boyfriend and a job in quick succession. Plus, a rogue kitchen fitter has run off and taken everything, including the kitchen sink!

So, Ruby takes luck and fate into her own hands with an unusual resolution – she’ll enter ten competitions a day, whether they’re for her dream Japanese holiday or a year’s supply of dog food (she doesn’t have a dog), and win her way to happiness.

But when a Valentine’s Day prize from a local restaurant results in chef Adam Finder (and his dog, Brutus) appearing in her life, is that luck or fate? And will Ruby ultimately find out that true happiness doesn’t need to be won?

 

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