May 4, 2018
If you are a fan of mystery novels or books with horse racing themes, you are going to love Elise’s guest today on the Because Of Horses podcast, Sasscer Hill. She’s a novelist, former thoroughbred breeder, and an amateur steeplechase jockey, and her evocative storytelling is "can't-put-it-down" entertaining, with frequent comparisons to the legendary Dick Francis.
Sasscer sets her award-winning novels against a background of big money, gambling, and horse racing. Her first book in the “Nikki Latrelle” series, Full Mortality, was nominated for both an Agatha and a Macavity award. And recently, she has written a new award-winning series featuring protagonist “Fia McKee.” The first book in the series, Flamingo Road, was released in April 2017 and was just honored with the Tony Ryan Book Award... ironically, beating nominee Felix Francis – Dick Francis' son! Sasscer's second book in the series, The Dark Side of Town, came out just a few weeks ago.
Tune in to this episode with Elise and Sasscer Hill to hear more about her experiences as a young girl being mentored by incredibly kind and world-renowned equestrians; how she has explored her interests in racing, breeding, and writing; and about the process, plots, and characters behind her award-winning novels.
Topics of Discussion:
[:46] About Elise’s guest today, Sasscer Hill.
[2:19] What stands out for Sasscer when she looks back at the path that led her to become a distinguished author.
[4:50] Has Sasscer always known what she wanted to do? And did she always plan on having horses in her life?
[6:35] When did Sasscer have the epiphany that she could make writing her career?
[9:22] About the two people Sasscer dedicated her first book to (Rhoda Christmas Bowling and Alfred Smith Sr.) and what their kindness meant to her and to her career.
[16:10] Ways the Smith family continued to help Sasscer throughout her life — and the monumental race that she won in 1986.
[18:27] Reading listener feedback!
[19:52] Elise and Sasscer talk about the exhilarating experience that is steeplechasing.
[22:04] Sasscer’s story of buying a dubious mare who went on to change her breeding career.
[25:47] Sasscer’s take on crafting a well-realized plot with the added component of getting the “horse side” right.
[26:33] Elise reads one of Sasscer’s reader reviews that truly captures the appeal she holds for horse-loving book-people.
[27:27] What it means to Sasscer to read such fantastic reviews of her books and how she feels when she meets readers in person at book signings and other author events.
[29:15] Because of the characters' authenticity and how real-to-life her books are, has Sasscer encountered some readers who believe the books' plots are more fact than fiction?
[34:12] When Sasscer finds herself at a race track, does she envision future stories and plots? And how she gets subject matter expert guidance on plot elements and storylines.
[36:38] How does Sasscer meet horse racing and police experts, and gain their agreement to work with her?
[40:19] Thanking listeners who have recently made a donation to the podcast!
[41:14] How Sasscer originally found out about the TRPB and how she used them as inspiration in her newest book series with protagonist “Fia McKee.”
[45:26] Sasscer talks about the plot of her newest novel, The Dark Side of Town, and how it continues Fia McKee’s character arc from her last book, Flamingo Road.
[51:05] Sasscer speaks about her award nominations.
[52:28] A preview of next week’s Because of Horses, with guest, Paula Josa Jones.
[53:19] Beyond a “horse book” -- You don’t have to be in the horse world or be invested in horses to read Sasscer Hill’s (and Dick Francis’) books.
[56:22] Where to find Sasscer and her books online.
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