THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Holding The Horse by J L Williams

When I started this new blog post series, I did it with the idea of sharing the WHY I created my stories, but then I thought…why not share OTHER authors STORY BEHIND “THEIR” STORY? I put the call out and soon I had tons of authors who wanted to share their backstories with my readers. This week children’s book author, J L Williams, is sharing the WHY she wrote her book, “Holding The Horse”. Take it away, J L…

Holding The Horse by J L Williams

I began writing Holding The Horse in 2015. My dad and his brothers were getting older and frailer and I realized that their generation would soon be gone. Dad and his brothers told me about their happy childhood years. My gran told me about the tough times. I wanted to celebrate their lives and to record the courage and determination of post-WWII families as they faced emotional turmoil, financial hardship and the physical struggle of life.

After a while self-doubt crept in, and the research seemed daunting. My dad found out that he had cancer, and I put the manuscript aside. Looking back now, I think that writing break was necessary. While I thought I’d forgotten about the story, it was quietly growing inside my head and in my heart. In 2018, after my dad had passed away and family life had moved on, I recovered my drive to finish the story. The research now seemed easy and the emotional ride of writing was enormously satisfying. I sensed that I had an important story to tell, and not just for my family. When Storylines New Zealand announced a new award – the Janice Marriott Mentoring Award, I scrambled to put together an entry. I was chosen as the winner, and in 2019 I had the honor of receiving my award (by post, because Covid19 had finally reached New Zealand.)

Janice Marriott is an award-winning author of fiction and memoir who runs an international author tutoring program called Go Write Now. She set up the Storylines NZ mentoring award to encourage writers of junior or middle grade fiction in New Zealand. The experience of being mentored was truly life-changing. Janice gave me the confidence to complete the manuscript and assured me that my story was certainly an important story in terms of historical fiction and fiction that explores the relationship between fathers and sons, especially in times of difficulty and hardship.

In 2019 I completed the manuscript and entered it in the Storylines New Zealand Tom Fitzgibbon award for an unpublished junior fiction manuscript. I wasn’t the winner but I was shortlisted and attended the award ceremony in 2020. Holding The Horse was then placed with a children’s book agent for several months and then I was told that they were really looking for authors with ‘a body of work’ and not just one book. That was the beginning of my self-publishing journey. Holding The Horse is now available as both print and eBook through Amazon and through Kobo, Nook and many other platforms. My dream is to have my book available in libraries and schools.


Book blurb:

A boy, a horse, a dream and a secret plan.

Set in rural New Zealand just after the second World War, Holding the Horse is the story of fourteen year old Sid, who dreams of becoming a famous jockey. Sid had expected everything to be easier after Dad’s return from the war, but now that his father is back, things seem to be worse in many ways. Dad is moody and unpredictable. And for some unknown reason, he is dead set against horse-racing. When Sid is invited to go to the races with his friend Rick, he has to invent other places he’s going to. And when he gets a job offer, working with horses, Dad refuses to let him go. Dad’s crazy friend Jack, his war buddy, agrees with everything Dad says. So does Mum, or at least she acts like she does. Sid’s family own’s a horse called Hugh, but he’s slow and steady, and very old.

A jockey needs to be able to ride fast, so Sid makes a plan to ride a fast horse. It involves telling lies, sneaking out at night, and riding a horse he doesn’t own. Can he achieve his dream? Or will his secret plan lead to disaster?


About The Author:

J. L. writes stories that take you to another place and time, and another world, even though they’re set right here on planet earth. She believes that forgiveness is one of the greatest powers we can exercise, and that when our loyalties are tested, and we have the opportunity to forgive, it’s more than an opportunity. It’s a must. J.L. hopes her stories will make you laugh and keep you on the edge of your seat, as well as make you think about some of the deep stuff when you close the book.


Universal Book Link for wide publishing:

Donna L

Hybrid award winning author; aspiring sketch artist; and 4th Degree Senior Certified Taekwondo Instructor. Host of BOOK NOOK REVIEWS. Member of SCBWI. Mom to fabulous son and adventurer delving into the tricky world of indie-publishing.

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