I wrote to Ms. Campbell when I ordered the books and asked if she would be willing to do an interview with me. She agreed, and I am so thankful that she has taken time out of her busy life to write to me. Below are my questions and her responses. I hope you enjoy (:
1. Have you always wanted to become a writer?
I've always loved putting words together, in my head or on paper. Even when I was a pre-teen, I thought about what it would be like to write a book. I also did extremely well in English -- it seemed to come naturally (except for the spelling, which I worked on). Yet it wasn't until I was in my twenties that I actually say down to write a book after reading one and throwing it down and thinking, "I could do better." Eventually that first book, an adult novel, sold, and my career was started.
2. Why did you choose to write children's books and did you have to do a lot of research?
My first horse books were written as a sideline to my adult work, and I published several individual titles before being asked tow rite the Thoroughbred Series. All of my horse related novels were based on my own love of horses and my experiences with them. I've owned two horses and took lessons in equestrian and open jumping, which I loved. I had to do extensive research when writing the Thoroughbred Series to buck up my knowledge of Thoroughbred breeding and racing so that the details I wrote would be accurate and believable. It was more pleasure than work. I went to live racing at Saratoga, Gulfstream and Belmont and one year went to the Breeder's Cup.
One of the things I keep foremost in my mind when writing for the young adult audience is never write down to my readers. Some of my editors have told me, "the won't notice," but I've found my readers notice everything, and I respect their intelligence.
3. What do you love most about horses?
I respect and love horses for their beauty, athleticism, grace and native intelligence. When estimating animal intelligence too many humans forget the fact that animals use their brains to best survive, and because of that they see the world differently than we do. Most animals must think we, as humans, are crazy for some of the silly things we do...and ask them to do.
4. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I don't have any magic answers for aspiring writers, but I do stress that a strong working knowledge of English grammar and punctuation is essential, as is a desire to write and tell a story. A great imagination wouldn't hurt either. And, of course, as with most other things - practice, practice, practice both reading and writing. Study the works you love and figure out what makes them special to you.
5. Where would you love to travel to?
There are several places I haven't been and would love to go - a river cruise through central and eastern Europe for starters - and I would always love to go back to England, South Africa, etc. If you haven't guessed, I love to travel.