Not everyone writes a second book for the same audience as their first book. I'd been hoping that my "second books" series (guest posts by authors about their sophomore books) would be able to feature someone who switched genres. And in walked (or emailed, rather) E. F. Watkins, whose story is below!
And Now, for Something Completely Different...
By E. F. Watkins
My second published book was totally different from my first one. It’s also my only book so far published under my full name, “Eileen Watkins.”
I avoided having to write a follow-up book on deadline because I already had half a dozen unpublished manuscripts sitting around in my files! The first one accepted, by Amber Quill press in 2003, was my vampire thriller DANCE WITH THE DRAGON. Dark paranormal; lots of action; a fair amount of sex and violence.
During the editing process, I discovered that my editor and I shared an interest in the same kind of horseback riding: dressage. She also mentioned that Amber Quill had published a well-received line of romantic mysteries involving horse people, but sadly that author had passed on. She asked if I had even written anything along that line.
Amazingly, I had. A couple of years earlier, I'd attempted a “horse novel” for grownups. My usual paranormal format wouldn’t work, so I tried a murder mystery. I wanted to write about dressage but didn’t feel I knew enough about the rarefied world of horse shows; better just to set it on a farm that bred and trained the animals. To add glamour, I made the horses Andalusians, a breed fairly rare in the U.S. but known for its beauty and spectacular movement.
I added a PG-13 romance between Diego, the hunky, widowed Spaniard who owns the farm, and Kelly, the young American woman who hires on as an assistant trainer. When things at the farm start to go very wrong and it’s clear someone’s trying to undermine the operation, suspicion falls on Kelly. She becomes desperate to clear her name and help find the real culprit.
RIDE A DANCING HORSE is still selling well today, especially on Kindle, even though it’s not the same “brand” as anything else I’ve written. Clearly, there are a lot of other adult readers out there who share my love of a good horse story, especially with some mystery and romance thrown into the mix!
E. F. Watkins is the author of DANCE WITH THE DRAGON (2004 EPPIE Winner, Best Horror Novel), RIDE A DANCING HORSE, BLACK FLOWERS (2006 EPPIE Finalist, Action/Thriller and 2007 Indie Excellence Award Finalist, Mystery/Thriller), PARAGON, DANU'S CHILDREN and ONE BLOOD. www.efwatkins.com