And the Winner of the Isabel Horse Pack Is . . . Natalie L.
The results were 108 contestants and 1,049 bonus entries. Wow, what a response! An email has gone out to the contestants who did not win, sort of a consolation opportunity. A 20% off discount coupon code: ISABEL20. This code is good for 20% off anything on Jan’s site. So, if you did not win but would still like to try out the Isabel books (with or without the paper dolls), go here: Isabel Horse Pack (with paper dolls) >> or here: Isabel two-book Reading Pack >>
I’m excited to introduce my author friend, Jan May. She writes horse/girl books, like I do. However, her Isabel series is set in modern-day Colorado on Angel Ride Horse Ranch. She writes Christian fiction, and her main character, Isabel, has this life motto: “Winners never quit, and quitters never win, for I serve the mighty God who lives deep within!”
As a bonus, Jan is giving away an Isabel Horse Pack to one lucky winner. How to enter? After reading the interview, click on the button at the bottom of the page. The giveaway runs for one week, October 5 – October 12 5pm Pacific Time. The winner will be notified via email and also announced on the blog on Thursday, October 13. Plus, an email will be sent after the contest ends to all entrants with a special 20% off coupon code to Jan’s bookstore. So, even if you don’t win, you can get the books at a good price!
Here are the two books you will find in the giveaway. Don’t they look fun? Also included is a book with an Isabel paper doll and a “closet” full of fun clothes you can create for her–from ranch clothes to “princess” clothes. Fun for all ages! Isabel Horse Pack.
In Isabel’s Secret (click to read an excerpt) everything is going fine until a holiday visit from Grandmother Biltmore reveals a mystery about a family secret. To top it off, Gran wants to take Isabel back to Boston for a school for girls to straighten out her tomboy ways. Isabel’s faith is tested in this fun-loving mystery that girls are sure to love.
In Isabel’s Fun Fair Fiasco (click to read an excerpt), our heroine is back. She visits her friend Jason on the Native American Reservation and is shocked at the poor living conditions. But no worries! Isabel and her best friend Holly put their heads together and come up with a brilliant idea to host a Burger Bash for Cash to raise money for the reservation. Sounds like a plan? It is, until the girls discover someone is mysteriously trying to sabotage their efforts.
Al-righty. Let’s get started with my questions and Jan’s answers.
Author Visit with Jan May
1. First of all, welcome to Andi’s blog, and thanks for taking the time to visit with us. Also, thanks for offering the awesome giveaway.
Thanks, Susan. Besides the giveaway, I have a fun, free download of my Holiday Treats and Crafts book. Keep reading and you’ll find the link to get it.
2. That’s great! I’m sure readers will enjoy some holiday fun. So, Jan, what made you want to write the Isabel books in the first place?
I was teaching a creative writing class in my home. To illustrate the different writing techniques, I started writing a short story, where all my students were the characters. It ended up being so much fun that I thought, I want to write more! After that, I attended several writing workshops and took an online writing course. I thought, What would be more fun than writing about a tomboy on a horse ranch with a BFF? So, as my friend and I walked out of the our last writer’s workshop class, we brainstormed ideas for a series that would encourage kids to believe in God in every situation they faced, no matter how big. For an added hands-on activity, my friend would draw a paper-doll book. Thus, Isabel was born, as well as the New Millennium Girl Series.
3. What genre (audience) are the Isabel book series?
These books are mystery/faith/ adventure books. Isabel lives on Angel Ridge Horse Ranch in Colorado. She enjoys riding all over their ranch but especially loves Dinosaur Creek. Here she and her BFF Holly dig for treasures, catch frogs, and bask in the summer sun. They race their horses, Starlight and Patches, through the sweet-smelling, clover-filled meadows. Her new Native American friend Jason visits with his sleek, black horse Thunder. They find plenty of adventure on the ranch!
3. Nice summary, Jan. Thanks. And now . . . we “horse” authors always get asked this question, so here you go. Do you have horses?
No, but I always wanted one! I have a dear friend who has several horses. I love to help her groom them. They are so big yet so trusting and beautiful! I just love being around them! I love their smell and the way they feel. Just makes me happy! And I love just being outside! This one is Shiloh – My friend rides him in a lot of local parades. Once we had to pull out the burrs from his and Miss Tallulah’s tails and manes-It was quite a job! Then the following week when we went back to the barn, they had gotten into the burrs again! Shiloh rolled in the dirt after we were done!
4. Do you ever go back and read your books?
Yes! Sometimes I pick one up and can’t put it down. Even though I know what’s going to happen, I love rereading it again! I especially love book 2, Isabel’s Fun Fair Fiasco, during the chase scene!
5. Is Isabel anything like yourself when you were young?
Yes! I was a big tomboy and loved to climb trees, swim in the lake, and fish. Isabel is also a lot like my daughter a when she was younger. She was very athletic, and her father would tell her “winners never quit and quitters never win.” Today, she is a physical trainer and can lift 250 pounds! She likes horses too! Here she is riding Shiloh.
6. Did you write as a child?
Surprisingly, no. I did enjoy book reports, but it wasn’t until I got to college and took a writing class that I realized how much I loved to write. I have many young students in my writing classes now that are so good that they could publish someday, if they continue to practice at it.
7. What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to write! Lol I like to teach, as well. I teach creative writing and art. I like to garden and drive in the country with my 90-pound golden lab Hunter. I just finished making pickles with the cucumbers from my garden. They are delicious!
8. What is your favorite part of being an author?
I love it when kids come up to me and say, “I loved the part in your book where . . . Or “I just read your book three times. Do you have any more?”
9. Do y0u have a favorite part of the writing process?
Yes! I love it when the creative ideas just flow out. I also love when my characters do funny things – I find myself laughing out loud. When I find a funny thing that happened to me or someone I know, I think, I need to put that in a book. Kids would really love it!
10. Do you have any activities to go along with the books?
Yes! I always like to add ways kids can connect with my books, so I get my characters involved with crafts and cooking first. I created a holiday craft and cooking book alongside the little girl who modeled Isabel. You can get a free download of the Holiday Crafts and Recipe Book by clicking the image.
For those of you more “studious minded,” I also have a free study guide that goes with Isabel’s Secret. But you might need to buy the book or win it in the giveaway to get the best use of the study guide. Isabel’s Secret Study Guide >>
11. How many books are in the Isabel series?
So far, the two books in the giveaway, Isabel’s Secret and Isabel’s Fun Fair Fiasco. There is also a third book, but it’s not finished yet. Isabel and the Boston Tea Party takes Isabel to her Gran’s mansion in Boston, Massachusetts, where she stumbles on a secret room and a hidden staircase. Two sisters, Ruby and Lily, the cooks’ granddaughters, help Isabel unravel a riveting secret (while having lots of tea parties in the attic).
12. Readers are always interested in covers. How did your cover designs come about for the Isabel books?
As a self-published author, I needed models so my illustrator could draw and paint the covers. I asked which girls in creating writing class would like to pose for cover photos. I also used my young friend to help me test out the recipes. Together, my illustrator friend and I chose the photos that represented Isabel the best.
12. How fun! So, besides the two Isabel novels, have you written any other books for girls?
Yes! I have a middle-grade novel called Callie’s Contest of Courage. Eleven-year-old Callie Fleming collects sharks’ teeth and once rescued a baby seal. Her bedroom looks like a nature museum. She writes for her Critter Connection website because animals are the coolest critters in the world. When her Marine Corp Dad is deployed overseas, he becomes strangely silent to her emails, and Callie finds her world crashing down, even though her family prays Psalm 91 for Dad’s protection. God uses a wild bear and a lesson about George Washington’s coat to teach Callie about trusting Him.
13. What words of wisdom do you have for any young, aspiring authors?
Writing takes diligence and hard work, but it can also be fun. There is a creative side when you let your words fly off the pencil. But you can’t neglect the technical side. You will grow leaps and bounds if you find a good course like Susan Marlow’s writing workshop and keep learning the craft. In the words of Martin Luther, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen!”
Enter the Giveaway!
Enter Jan’s giveaway to win this fun Isabel Horse Pack, which includes books 1 and 2 in the Isabel series, Isabel’s Secret, and Isabel’s Fun-Fair Fiasco. Click the button and follow the prompts to enter and to learn how to earn extra entries. One lucky winner!
Thanks, Jan. And for those who do not win, stay tuned for a special email (after the giveaway ends) with a discount code to start your own journey with Isabel, her family, and her friends.