Oh, that old chestnut! Much maligned advice in the writing world these days. Don’t just stick to what you know, they say, push your boundaries. Well, sometimes I grant you, that’s the way to success. But personally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing on subjects which are near and dear to you. God – or the Devil (take your pick) – is in the detail, after all.
My first writing success was a short story in PONY magazine back in the day (the day being sometime in 1990 – though the story had been accepted about 18 months previously – writing teaches you nothing if not grim patience!). I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d done everything right with that first submission. I knew my market inside out (I was a long-time subscriber to the magazine and an avid reader of pony books of any kind). I was writing just the kind of story they were looking for. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to realise how I’d come to be successful with this magazine, and to be able to emulate that success with others.
Roll on 25 years, and lo and behold – I have another horse story in print! This time in the current Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special.
And in the intervening years, I’ve acquired two beautiful ponies of my own.
So I count myself very lucky to have two great joys in life – writing and horses – and especially lucky that they mix so well! 😉