Easter Sunday With Jenn J McLeod + Book Giveaway

Season Of Shadow And Light Please welcome author, friend and fellow animal nut, Jenn J McLeod, to Pilyara on this Easter Sunday. Her wonderful new novel, Season Of Shadow And Light, is coming out on May 1st. What a luminous cover! I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy and can tell you that readers are in for a real treat. Such a multi-layered, thought-provoking story about the best and worst of families, and it also features a horse! Over to you Jenn!


I was six the day a horse ate my buttons

‘We share so much more than a great name, Jen. For a start, we both love animals—all animals—and we hate seeing them neglected and mistreated.

If I had to pick a favourite animal it would definitely be dogs. And  I know you love dogs. But I REALLY, really, really love dogs. Every day when I wake up and my old (now blind) rescue baby is at the foot of the bed (staring and telling me to get up) I feel blessed and lucky to have her in my life, even though her vet bills are now slowly siphoning away my retirement savings!

Jenn J McLeod_54A1139 tI love dogs so much I wanted to feature one in a novel. So, the original Season of Shadow and Light plot featured a mangy mutt as the star of the story. That was until I started researching the world of animals as therapy and developed a fascination for the human/horse connection. Around the same time (coincidental or karma) I discovered a very personal horse-related project to test out a few theories—and it was almost next door to where I lived.

Looking at the final cover for Season of Shadow and Light, I hardly have to tell you that the horse theme, and not the mangy mutt, won in the end. My love of horses goes way back to when, as a young child, my Dad (a NSW Police Bandsman) would take me to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. He’d leave me in my special seat (ie in the horse float and hay stores area under the grandstand) to watch the NSW Police Band do a special performance called, The Musical Ride, in which the mounted police and the brass band would do a choreographed marching routine that weaved between the horses. When they finished several routines, the horses would return to the staging area while the band played on. It was all very thrilling—until the unthinkable happened.

One day a horse ate the buttons off my shirt! For some reason that incident traumatised me. I remember the moment as though it was yesterday—and as clearly as I remember the shirt that buttoned up at the back with little pearl buttons. After that incident, I still loved watching my Dad in The Musical Ride performance, and I still loved horses, but I couldn’t get up close to a horse any more. For years I was like a person who loves the beach but can’t be in the sun. In saying that, just as the might of the sea can still spellbind an observer, I remained awestruck by the magnificence of a horse.

I have since reconnected with horses and made a horse friend—all thanks to my research for Season of Jenn J McLeod Simmering seasonShadow and Light. Readers of Simmering Season might recall Maggie visiting an old horse that stood alone in a paddock in all weather—neglected, with no shelter, it’s blanket tatty and torn. There’s a bit of me in those scenes as it was a real horse that inspired that equine character. On my morning walk I would stop and chat to a lonely, neglected, nippy old horse being agisted on a nearby property. (Neighbourhood goss suggested the owner was not a local, nor a rider any more due to declining health.) Initially I called the horse, Ed (yes, the talking horse) and over a time (carrots helped) he let me get closer.

Jenn J Mcleod Horse 1I’d like to think that horse and I helped each other. He certainly helped me. When we sold up to hit the road in our caravan I was so sad to leave Ed behind I decided to write him into Simmering Season. As it turns out, Ed was no ordinary horse either. He was (more neighbourhood goss) once a prize-winning race horse and while his real name was Nevaeh, to me he will always be Ed. (Oh, and by the time I left the area, other locals had taken on the morning, noon and night visits and treats.)

Jenn J Mcleod Horse 2With trust and loyalty as the main theme throughout this novel I think it’s fitting that a horse be featured. Humans can learn a lot about both those qualities from horses (and from dogs). Animals put their trust in humans and I don’t think there’s anything sadder than a neglected animal. I do hope readers of Season of Shadow and Light will excuse my mini soapbox moment when I bang on about some animals being a life-long commitment, and with horses that life can be a very be long time. And look out for my tribute to Nevaeh.

With early reader reviews already in like this one “Jenn J McLeod is an author for all seasons  . . .  and all readers.” Shelleyrae, wwwbookdout.wordpress.com, I am super excited about this story of secrets and love, of family loyalty, and of trust—the kind that takes years to build but only seconds to wash away.

Cheers, Jen. I look forward to seeing you at my place soon for my #WriteRoundOz Author Series.’

Jenn J McLeod bannerI can’t wait Jenn, and thanks for dropping by today! Readers, for your chance to WIN all THREE Jenn J McLeod novels* simply leave a comment below. From now until the end of May, Jenn drops into some of her favourite author blogs to say hello to readers old and new. She’ll then collect the comment names from each author blog post, picking a lucky winner from one major draw and announcing the name at the end May of on her blog

If you’d like to find out more about Jenn and her contemporary women’s fiction about small towns keeping big secrets, head on over to her website or, like me, follow the Facebook and Twitter fun.

Website:   www.jennjmcleod.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JennJMcLeod.Author
Twitter:     @jennjmcleod
*Book Pack: House for all Seasons (#5 Top Selling Debut novel, 2013), Simmering Season, and Season of Shadow and Light. (Australian postal address only)

And now to announce the winners in my Turtle Reef prize draw! So many books to giveaway today :). Congratulations to Karla Oleinikoff and Kim Foster. I’ll email you soon for your postal address. Many thanks to all who left comments.



21 thoughts on “Easter Sunday With Jenn J McLeod + Book Giveaway

  1. Hi Jenn, I laughed when I read the story about your pearl buttons. I too admire horses, but I have a bad horse story in my past as well. It is far more ignominious in that I was attempting to ride – my first time on horseback – and the horse simply slid me over its head and dumped me on the ground. I stick to tennis these days …

  2. From a little girl, I always wanted to own a horse until my sister took me to Palamino Coral at French’s Forest and the horse bucked me off. Parents were quite pleased about that. I still love horses but kind of scared to be close to them. Give me dogs anyday 🙂 I can’t wait to read your latest book when it comes out in May…..all very exciting for you too 🙂

  3. Thankyou for your introduction like a lot of others in an animal nut having grown up on a farm passion and respect was fostered at an early age
    Looking forward to getting to know more of your works
    Happy Easter 🐰 hope you got a nice egg to nibble whilst reading

  4. My daughter adores horses and having a disability it helps calm her. It makes me laugh when I read about the buttons, as the horse my daughter gets to ride, enjoys trying to touch her clothes. Thanks for writing these fantastic stories.

  5. Hi Jenn, I really agree with you about the loyalty and therapeutic qualities of all animals but particularly dogs and horses. I grew up with both, thanks to the adventurous nature of my gorgeous dad who also was a country town publican, like Maggies. We always had several dogs and horses amongst a menagerie of other animals. One time dad was saddling up our horse Princess for me to ride. She had always been a bit temperamental, hence her name, but as I patted her neck and dad tightened the girth around her ample belly she whipped around bit my thigh, needless to say my carefree nature around horses is now a bit guarded. I hope now after reading your story I can restore my faith in the beautiful bond between horse and person and find my own Ed to heal my scars! I love your books so much, it feels like reading about home. Thank you for sharing your talents through your wonderful stories.

  6. Thanks so much Jennifer and Jenn for a wonderful interview. It’s wonderful to read such amazing Australian stories, but even more wonderful when the author seamlessly creates connections to nature and all it’s beauty. Especially our beloved fur and feathered friends.
    I, too, was fortunate enough to grow up with pets, and I really do believe that they are an integral part of life. Due to circumstances, my children have grown up without a pet, until last year, when all of a sudden, we had a fish, crazy crabs and a puppy. As frustrating as things can be at times, our lives have all been enriched that much more by being able to share our lives with our animal friends.
    Looking forward to reading Season of Shadow and Light, Jenn. In fact, it is my Mother’s Day request this year.
    I also treated myself to Turtle Reef for Easter, Jennifer, and am looking forward to getting started.

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