About the book:Tough-as-nails fourteen-year-old Sid may not have expensive boots like the privileged teen riders in Virginia, but she knows her way around horses. Working with her Uncle Wayne since childhood, she’s learned to evaluate horses, break and train them, care for them . . . and ride like a professional. Amid turmoil at home, she dreams of becoming a catch rider—a show rider who can ride anything with hooves. In this salty, suspenseful teen novel, an unexpected opportunity to ride a top-notch horse in an equitation show takes the small-town girl all the way to Madison Square Garden.
Interview with Jennifer Lyne
Welcome, Jennifer. Catch Rider is your debut novel. Do you have another job outside of writing?
I’m co-founder of Sharpshooter Pictures, a film and video production company in Manhattan.
Tell us a book you’re an evangelist for.
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
Sid, of course, but I also loved writing her best friend’s sister, Doreen. Doreen is either the greatest kid ever, or a budding sociopath, or a little of both.
I like writing characters who do and say things I never would, as well as characters who do and say things I wish I could. Do you have characters who fit into one of those categories?
Sid falls into both categories – when I showed horses I had a lot of stage fright, and I don’t think I would have made it as far as she did even with the same opportunities. She’s brash but she’s only fourteen and in a tough situation. She’ll learn to be more careful. I certainly did, although I’ve never had any fistfights.
Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.
I live in New York City, in the Bronx, by the Hudson River. The weird thing is that I can see Willie Mays’ apartment right out my window, and between my building and his is a baseball field. Right over the tree line is the Harlem Canal and Spuyten Duyvil, which means “spitting devil,” or “spouting devil” because the currents in that spot – where the Harlem canal meets the Hudson – are so strong.
If you could only keep one book, what would it be?
Jim the Boy by Tony Earley.
Your last meal would be…
A hot pretzel from a Central Park pretzel cart.
Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?
Library, which is one of the happiest places in the world for me. No one is trying to sell you anything, and no one cares what you’re doing, as long as you’re quiet.
You won the lottery. What’s the first thing you would buy?
A dark green 1950’s Porsche speedster. Strike that! Good health insurance.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“Sorry, Pete, I know we're kin, but they got this depression on. I got to do for me and mine!” – Washington Hogwallup, O Brother, Where Art Thou?
I LOVE that movie! What are you working on now?
Getting reviews and press for Catch Rider, raising my kids, running my production company, and writing a new book. I’d better find more time to write, or I’m going to become a menace to society.
Excerpt from Catch RiderIt was growing dark when Wayne pulled up in front of the house. The place looked terrible: the storm door was broken and swinging in the wind, bags of garbage were piled on the porch. My beat-up Taurus was parked in front.
“Thanks for my car,” I said again.
“It'll do for now. Put some ice on your lip,” he said. “We’ll get to work on that red horse tomorrow after school.” He winked.
I got out and stopped at the metal gate. “You coming in?” I asked, knowing the answer.
“I'll strangle that bastard, I lay eyes on him.”
I let the gate slam.
“Listen, you pay him no mind, you hear?” Wayne said. He seemed worried. I walked up on the porch, and he called after me. “He ain't worth your temper!”
He drove away.
I stood on the porch for a little while listening to Donald’s voice. They didn’t know I was there. I was waiting to see what kind of mood he was in. It was my father’s birthday, and if Donald blew up at me, I wasn’t sure what I would do.
I took a deep breath and walked into the house.
Melinda came out of the kitchen looking pale and tired. Her hair was dirty and she had on a stained sweatshirt. I could smell Windex - she cleaned when she got nervous. Donald was sitting on the couch polishing his new knife with his red bandana. He was one of those losers who only felt like a man when he was talking about his knives, polishing them, or reading about them in Blade magazine. I love a good knife, but it’s a tool, for cutting open hay bales and whittling a stick. Not for pretending you’re some kind of warrior.
Donald was skinny with a long face. He had heavy-lidded eyes, like a lizard. Some animal part of me saw him as a predator.
When I walked in, his little black eyes followed me. He had his dirty sock feet on my mother’s maple coffee table. He’d never done that before.
I walked right past both of them.
Melinda saw my eye and gasped. “What did you do?”
I kept walking.
“You don't answer your mama?” Donald said.
I stopped in my tracks. I could feel my face getting hot.
“Take those boots off and leave them outside,” he ordered.
I looked down at my paddock boots. “They’re not muddy,” I said.
“You heard me!”
“How about you get your dirty feet off of my mother’s coffee table?”
My mother’s face was frozen in fear. I headed for my room, and I was almost there before I felt his grip on my upper arm, pinching my skin.
“Let go,” I said through my teeth, without turning around.
He tightened his grip. I yelped, and he released my arm. He could snap my arm in two, and it scared me. I took my boots off and put them on the porch.
That was the first time he had ever laid a hand on me, and I don’t think my mother breathed the entire time.
About the author:Jennifer Lyne grew up riding horses in Virginia. When she was 24, she sold her horses and her Jeep and moved to New York City, where she worked as a location scout and wrote and produced two independent feature films. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.
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