Blog exclusive: Q & A with Lauren Brooke!

Posted on Feb 28, 2008

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This is the first of our 2-part Q&A series with Lauren Brooke, author of the Heartland books. We reached Lauren in London, England through Working Partners, the talented team of editors who put out Lauren's books. We asked her some of the top questions posted here on the blog and in Heartland's Facebook group. The busy Ms. Brooke kindly answered a lot of your questions.

We'll post part two -- where Lauren talks about her inspiration for her stories and characters, whether she's happy Heartland was made into a TV show and tackles your questions about the future of Ty and Amy in her books -- next week.

Q: Hi, I was wondering what Lauren Brooke thought about Heartland the TV show and does she watch it?
- Alex
Lauren Brooke: Hello everyone. I have indeed seen it, and although several things are different than in the books, I think it's great! The scenery is awesome and the characters work really well together. I'd love to have a walk-on part, perhaps bringing a troubled horse to be helped by Amy and Ty.

Q: Hi! I was wondering where Lauren Brooke got her inspiration for Ty in the books. I've read every book and I own them all! I can't put them down, sometimes. Ty, amazingly, maintained his awesomely awesome character up until "Beyond The Horizon." Then he just acted... odd. And I was also wondering if Amy and Ty will ever get back together. If not, will Amy date Matt, Will, or someone else?
- Eevee
LB: Ty was created as a counterpoint for Amy, who'd grown up in a relatively privileged home surrounded by horses and with talented, supportive parents who helped her pursue her equestrian dreams. In contrast, Ty's family doesn't have any connections with horses so Ty is pursuing a solo passion, sometimes with outright hostility from his father who thinks he should find a "proper" career. Ty doesn't have any formal training, but shares Amy's instincts for helping horses in a gentle, natural way, which makes them a perfect team. However, no one stays the same all through their life, and Ty was bound to change with the new pressures that keep life at Heartland so challenging. As for him and Amy getting back together, well, a troubled relationship is much more interesting to read and write about than one that doesn't hit any obstacles!

Q: Hey, I was just wondering if that stuff like join-up and t-touch actually work. Do they? It'd be awesome if they did! Keep writing books! I LOVE THEM!
- Horseluver101
LB: Yes, they do! A man called Monty Roberts has done a great deal to promote join-up as a gentle technique for breaking horses, but the methods have been around for as long as horses have been domesticated. However, join-up needs a lot more skill than just chasing a horse around a paddock and waiting for them to get tired, so I would recommend consulting an experienced professional before attempting anything like this with your own horse. T-touch is more accessible to amateurs because the horse is standing still and you can't cause any harm to yourself or the pony. There's plenty of information about T-touch techniques available in books and on the internet if you'd like to have a go!

Q: I'm not sure how involved you are with horses but I'm assuming based on the detail of your books that you are. My question is if you practice natural horsemanship? Have you ever worked with a problem horse yourself?
- Amanda Graham
LB: I was fortunate enough to grow up on a farm and have a mom who rode horses, so I learned to ride before I could walk. My mom had two horses when I was a baby: a huge brown and white carthorse-type called Dobbin, and a short-legged brown and white pony called Flash who had to be ridden bareback because he didn't like wearing a saddle. My grandfather made me a wooden rocking-horse and painted it exactly the same color and pattern as Flash! My nephew plays on it now. I was trained in classical equitation, specializing in dressage and eventing, but when I turned professional in my early twenties I became much more interested in natural horsemanship, especially with regard to training young horses. Because I am quite small and light, I worked mostly with children's ponies, preparing them for showing as well as everyday riding. I've worked with a number of problem horses, such as an Arab mare who reared every time she didn't want to do something, and a German-bred stallion who hated being touched.

Q: I was wondering what you thought of the new character, Mallory.
- Anneliese
LB: She's a great addition to the cast list. I'm very happy for more characters to be brought in - they just add richness and realism to the central situation.