Dutch Henry is a freelance writer and novelist who resides in Virginia with his wife of 35 years, horse, dogs, cats and chickens. He is also a staff writer for the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA). You can find Dutch on the Web at http://www.dutchhenryauthor.com/.
We'll Have The Summer: The doctors say she’ll be gone by fall, but they have one last summer. One hot summer to consummate a lifetime of love, to cry together, laugh together … remember together. When a troubled teenage girl and an injured horse turn to them for help, Mary and Sam Holt find enough room in their own large and breaking hearts to show the girl life’s glories and restore a champion’s will. We’ll Have The Summer is a magnificent story about life, love, and horses.
Welcome, Dutch! Thanks for stopping by. Everyone who has read We'll Have the Summer says the same thing--that it's a touching story and a box of tissues is required while reading it. As a male, how tough was it for you to reach deep down inside and write a compelling story about love and loss?
When I wrote We'll Have The Summer, I wanted to write a story about an uncommon love so enduring it could overcome insurmountable obstacles. I believe in the power of love. I really don't believe this is a story about loss. But it is about love. In her review Carole Herder (Owner of Horse & Rider Inc.) said, "Everyone who has felt the bitter sweet pull of love and loss should read this book."So perhaps it is about loss as well, but I think my strength to write it came from the love between Mary and Sam.
I don't really believe the feelings about love and loss are gender specific. My love for my wife and our long wonderful life together certainly effected my thoughts as I wrote.We've had 35 years of experiences, good and bad, and I pulled from that ... And besides, I'm a very emotional guy ...
Horses play a big role in this story. Can you tell us a little about that role? And what role do horses play in your own life?
My passion for horses and the way they can enrich a person's life needed to be part of the story. People like me, who are deeply involved with horses, know the power of the spirit of the horse. There is a parallel between Mary, who is dying, and Comanche the horse she is nursing back to health. His spirit not only gives strength to Mary, but also helps the young girl to realize life is worth living. Chester, the old lesson horse, teaches Barbara that she can find challenges fun and worth pursuing.
My connection with horses started at a young age. As a foster child growing up on a dairy farm the first friends I ever remember having were the heavy work horses. As an adult I helped rehabilitate horses who had had a rough go of it. I've competed in long distance endurance racing. I currently have one mare who I ride for my own enjoyment and actually my physical therapy.
In We'll Have the Summer, one of the characters only has a short time to live. From your Facebook statuses, I know how much you love your wife, the Ravishing Robin. Was it emotionally trying for you to immerse yourself into a world where a man faces losing the great love of his life?
Well the power of our love helped me to write this story. There were times when writing this I had to stop because I couldn't see the screen for my tears. And even in the editing and revision process, those same scenes held their power over me. I never got used to them. Yes, Rhiannon it was very emotionally trying . We are all going to deal with loss. It is my hope that by sharing this story of such a powerful love readers might understand that a rich and unwavering love can see you through.
Dutch, can you tell us a little about your childhood?
As a very young boy I had a rough life. Then at the age of eight, I was Farmed Out. That is to say I was placed on a farm and worked for my keep. We had no electric or running water, but we did have a nice outhouse. There was no love, either. I fell in love with the horses. Oh I loved the cows, the chickens and my dog, too. But it was the horses who saved me. I didn't know it then, but I had been exposed to the "Spirit of the Horse."
What did writing this book teach you?
How many wonderful folks are out there who are willing to pitch in and help! My goodness Ive met some fabulous folks on this journey. Like yourself, Rhiannon. When I started writing my first novel, five years ago, I didn't know the difference between then and than. I thought every sentence had a quota of at least a dozen comas. I had never touched computer, still type holding a pencil, one letter at a time, but I'm up to almost twenty words a minute now. I studied agents and writer's blogs, made friends who read and critiqued my early struggles and taught me many, many things.
Writing this novel has given me other opportunities, as well. It was the constant drumbeat on blogs of, Platform, that caused me begin writing for the American Competitive Trail Horse Association. (ACTHA). You know, build a platform to sell your book. Because of that I contribute regularly in a column in a national magazine, and have had feature articles published in five others. I also have a page on their website ACTHA Spotlights by Dutch Henry,with a link to my novel, where I write stories about People and Horses Helping Horses and People. You can check it out here.
I suppose the immediate next is to try to sell books! I'm having fun right now with a lot of friends on Facebook about it. I'm going to continue to write for ACTHA, and now also Best Of America By Horseback.
I have two novels started, one I like more than the other. I like to write about love and horses, so we'll see where these characters take me! And of course I'll spend as much time as God allows loving my sweet wife,the Ravishin' Robbie, riding my mare, Kessy and birdwatching.
THANK YOU, Rhiannon for this opportunity!
Check out Dutch's touching story about love, life and horses! Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon, also in e-book formats on Smashwords.