Saturday, May 10, 2014

World of Writing, interview

 -- World of Writing -- 

* Today we have the pleasure of hosting an interview with author H. Alan Day - a rancher and cowboy for most of his life. He and his sister, Sandra Day O’Connor, co-authored the New York Times bestselling memoir, Lazy B, about growing up on a southwestern cattle ranch. In his new memoir, The Horse Lover: A Cowboy’s Quest to Save the Wild Mustangs, released this past March by University of Nebraska Press, Alan shares his story about creating the first government-sponsored wild horse sanctuary and caring for and training 1500 wild mustangs. Alan’s website is

Q: What have you learned about working with your co-writer?
I’ve now co-authored two books and they have been different experiences. For Lazy B, Sandra and I agreed that I would write my stories about growing up on the ranch and send them to her. She did some editing and that was about it. For The Horse Lover, which I co-authored with Lynn Wiese Sneyd, the process was very different, but it was a process that worked very well. So I guess the bottom line is that you have to decide how you’re going to work together. It’s like cowboying – every partnership differs.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in writing your books?
The Horse Lover story arc was a bit of a challenge to create. I had written a draft about the wild horse sanctuary and knew what I wanted to include, but that story didn’t quite make for a long enough book. So we had to figure out what else to incorporate. We decided to weave in stories about ranch horses I rode and loved from childhood through adulthood.

Q: Are you satisfied with your publisher, publicist, co-writer?
I’m lucky that my co-writer is a professional writer and a book publicist. She knew how to write a book proposal and also craft a good story. Now, we are in the midst of publicity and Lynn is leading the way. Our publisher, University of Nebraska Press, really embraced the book and brought it out 6 months earlier than they normally would have. They’ve been contributing as much as they can to publicity and marketing.

Q: What are some of your favorite writers’ resources?
I joined Western Writers of America and have enjoyed their bi-monthly publication. Some years back I attended the Taos Writer’s Conference in Taos, New Mexico and learned some key things – like adding detail – that improved my writing.

Q: Tell us about your journey to publication… (How long have you been writing? Why did you decide to pursue writing?)
 I hadn’t really intended to write a book, but then Sandra asked me if I wanted to co-author a memoir about growing up on our family ranch. She already had lined up Random House, so basically all I had to do was write stories that were near and dear to my heart. I figured if I could write half a book, I could write a whole book. Turns out I needed some assistance. Fortunately, I found a talented co-author and we made a pretty good team. I’m not sure that I’ll write another book, but I do have a good idea for a novel rattling around in my head.

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