Nothing gives me more pleasure than introducing my friends on this blog. I met Orly Konig years ago when we were part of a writer’s group that no longer exists — but that evolved into the Women’s Fiction Writers Association with Orly at its helm.
What fascinates me with novels is how authors take a tidbit from their own life and blow it up on the page into something completely different, new, and enchanting. Below you’ll read about Orly’s love of horses, which is obvious when you read The Distance Home.
I hope you’ll welcome Orly to WFW and congratulate her on becoming a published author!
Author Orly Konig Turns Her Love Of Horses Into A Heartfelt Debut Novel
Amy: As much as I want to know the springboard for the novel, what I’d like to know first is when your love of horses began! Will you share that with us?
Orly: Ahh, my love for horses. I think I was born with the horse-lovers gene. My mom claims it started because she was given a horse figurine when she was pregnant. An odd gift considering she’s horribly afraid of horses. Maybe someone knew what was coming. J
I started riding when I was 4. We were living in England at the time and one of my father’s colleagues had a horse. She took me to the stable and I was hooked. I even rode the back of our couch. I drove my parents crazy!
Amy: How did your love of horses transfer into wanting to write about horses in your novel? What was that spark?
Orly: I wanted to write a story about fitting in and the things we do – and are willing to put up with – for that. Horses were my safe place growing up. When I was at the stable, it didn’t matter that I had a different accent or dressed differently or wasn’t part of the in-crowd. Even as an adult, the stable was my “therapy”.
When you’re working with an animal that size, you have to be fully engaged. Whatever stress or frustrations I was dealing with, were put on hold for the time I was riding. And I always left feeling more grounded. As the story started coming together, it was a natural fit to have it revolve around horses.
Amy: Much of the novel takes place at a therapeutic riding center. Do you have experience with a place like this? If not, was your research like for this setting?
Orly: During graduate school, I volunteered at a program similar to the one in the book. I was so touched by a couple of the folks I worked with – especially one young boy who became the inspiration for one of the characters in the book – that I wanted to include that connection between horses and humans as well.
Amy: So many ways to write novels, so little time, right? What was your process for writing your debut and how has it evolved over time?
Orly: The Distance Home is actually my fourth finished manuscript. My writing style and process has matured so much since that first book.
My process is what I call ‘pantser-with-suspenders’. An idea comes to me and after it’s had time to come together in my brain, I start writing. Blank Word document, chapter 1. And I don’t look back until I’m done with that first draft. I do some research as needed but most of the time, I write notes for things I need to get back to with more detail. Once the first draft is done, the plotter suspenders go on. That’s when I analyze the scenes, make color-coded scene cards and revise accordingly.
Amy: Can you tell us what you’re working on now?
Orly: My second book, releasing summer 2018, revolves around the restoration of an antique merry-go-round and the unraveling of family secrets.
Amy: What’s your best advice for aspiring authors of women’s fiction?
Orly: Find your tribe! Best thing I ever did for my writing. Early on, I was part of a couple of writing groups that were not dedicated to women’s fiction and while I learned a lot from them, I also realized that not everything was relevant for what I was writing. Having other women’s fiction authors to share experiences and questions with has been a sanity saver.
Orly Konig is an escapee from the corporate world where she spent roughly sixteen (cough) years working in the space industry. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats.
Connect with Orly!