Welcome Members of the Media
It is our goal to make your job as easy as possible. You are invited to use excerpts from anything provided on this site, including all text and image files.
We have provided you with sample interview questions as well as personal answers from Bonnie Marlewski-Probert which you are welcome to quote from. See below for your convenience.
We have a link to dropbox where you can easily access all high res files for book covers, head shots and doc files with bios, background information and more for your convenience. That link is located at:
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(just double click on any file you are interested in and it will open on your screen. You can right click and save it to your hard drive from there.)Here is a link to a new interview Bonnie did recently in Canada. This interview focuses on helping writers/publishing/marketing:
Questions and Answers for Interviews
with Bonnie Marlewski-Probert
1. How did you get involved in horses?
"I was eight years old when my parents rented the upstairs apartment in our home to a young married couple with an infant son. The mother, Colleen, needed a babysitter to watch her son while she went riding. In exchange for babysitting, Colleen would pony a horse over to our home from time to time so I could ride in our backyard. That was the beginning of what turned out to be a life in which horses would always play an important role. By the way, Colleen has two stories in the Horse Tales for the Soul series of books and she also read those stories in the audio series which made it a full circle moment for me!"
2. What is your background as a horsewoman?
"I was professionally trained in Western and English disciplines for ten years in the Chicago area, before apprenticing as a riding instructor for one year. During all of those years, I mucked stalls, was a catch-rider on show and sale horses, exercised polo ponies, competed in both Western and English disciplines, cleaned tack, volunteered to do any job that kept me working with horses and learned everything I could, before striking out on my own in my 20's, when I purchased my own boarding/training/teaching facility in the Midwest."
3. When did you decide to go full-time in the horse world?
"I remember the day vividly, I was working for a major oil company in their headquarter offices in the Chicago suburbs, doing computer work. I was called in by Human Resources and there, sitting across the desk from me was a woman with a corporate hair cut and suit, just like mine. We could have been clones. She leaned across the desk and announced that in just three more years, I would be vested in the retirement program with the company. This news was intended to make me happy and much to my surprise, I found myself in a cold sweat. Suddenly, it was all too real. If I stayed for three more years, the gilded cage I was building for myself would be too strong to ever leave and I had a new-found sense of urgency to get out, strike out on my own and follow my life's dream before it was too late. Because I came from a training background in which you never leave anything until you can leave it on a good note, I stayed with the company for two more years. During that time, I focused on being the best employee they ever had and when I was sure that I was as successful as I would ever be in that job, I gave my notice and within six months, my life had changed 180'."
4. How has your life changed since leaving your farm?
"Many years after starting Whitehall (my farm's name) the farm became no longer financially viable due to two major factors; a tough economy and my inexperience at running a business, I decided to regroup. I went back to my computer background and set up a mail order system for my biggest horse-related competitor in the area. During that time, I started writing magazine articles for horse publications around the world. The magazine articles led to books, how-to videos and syndicated columns. During those years, I met my British husband Keith, and a few years later, we were wed. Keith's work in automotive design has taken us all over the United States in the past dozen years. He officially retired in his early 50's while I continue to follow my bliss and write for a living, rather than ride for a living. While I miss my time in the saddle, I must admit that writing is a lot less dependant on the weather than riding was and a lot easier on my bones!"
5. Have you ever been injured while working with horses?
"I am happy to say that my training taught me to work with horses safely and effectively and I stressed those skills in all of the thousand of lessons I taught over the years. During my 20 year career as a professional, I have never been injured and I have never had a student injured either. I believe that working with or riding horses does NOT have to be a dangerous sport, provided the rider is properly trained and is paying attention. However, I did sustain a broken vertebra in my back in High School gymnastics and it is that old injury which is the primary reason why I am no longer riding for a living."
6. Where did the idea for the Horse Tales for the Soul series come from?
"I wrote two syndicated monthly columns for ten years. One was entitled, Tips for the New Horseman. In that column one month, I wrote about a school horse of mine, named Leo. I mentioned that he was such a good-ole-boy that if he were a human, he would be the type of fellow that you would go out for a beer with on Friday nights after work. In response to that column, I received an e-mail from Melonie Brewer. She wrote to me about her own horse and mentioned at the end of the story that while she hadn't shared the story before, she knew after reading my column that I would understand. The following week, I received a beautifully hand-written letter from a father who wrote about the trials between himself and his teenage daughter. He wrote about how the family had a mare who was pregnant and how he and his daughter did night watch over the mare as she neared her delivery date in spite of the fact that like all teenagers, there was tension between father and daughter. While staying in the barn all night long, this father and his daughter had the chance to talk, to get to know each other and when it was time for the mare to deliver, the pair was fortunate enough to be on night watch and to be the first humans to touch the new arrival. The two shared this wonderful experience and have created a bond between them that will last for the rest of their lives. He sent me this wonderful family story and then mentioned at the end that after reading my column, he knew that I would appreciate his story. I was so moved by both stories that I wondered...how many other horsemen were out there who had equally wonderful stories that focused on important life lessons and had never shared them with anyone because they doubted that anyone would be interested. When those two letters arrived, that was the birth of the Horse Tales for the Soul books."
7. How many Horse Tales books are you planning on doing?
"Frankly, I was only planning on doing one Horse Tales for the Soul book, but the response to my invitation was so overwhelmingly successful and the stories submitted so wonderful that I felt a personal obligation to continue doing these books until all the stories were told. When I realized that so many of these stories had never been shared with anyone before and that these horsemen entrusted me with stories that had altered the course of their lives, I was honored and felt privileged to be a part of this process. So far, we have done seven books in the series and have now published the first, Dog Tales for the Soul book."
8. Where did the idea for the Horse Tales for the Soul Audio series come from?
"While I was on a major book tour in October 2007, I met Lauren McGinnis who is a visually impaired rider with a NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) program in Maryland. Lauren asked if the books were available on CD and I had to say, "not yet!". However, I promised Lauren that I would make it happen as soon as I got home and that I would send her the first set of the entire 7-book audio series as my gift to her. In June of 2008, the complete set of audio books was sent to Lauren and the official audio books were released to the public in late July 2008."
9. Why did the actual authors read their own stories in the audio books?
"When I returned from the book tour, committed to produce all seven books into an audio series, I found an e-mail from Horse Tales author Debbie Granger. Deb wrote to thank me for publishing her two stories in the series and went on in her note to say that it was so important for her to be able to leave something behind for the grand children she didn't already have, just in case she wasn't here to meet them when they arrived. Deb said that she wanted her future grand children to know two things: 1. Their grandmother had spunk and that 2.They came from the same stock. After reading her e-mail, I realized that the only thing more powerful than leaving her stories behind in the Horse Tales for the Soul books, was to have HER reading those stories in the audio books. At that moment, I realized it was essential to invite the actual authors to read their own stories for the complete audio book series of 340 + stories!"
10. How hard was it to have the authors read their own stories for the Horse Tales for the Soul Audio book series?
"Fortunately, I had no idea how hard it would be, until it was too late to turn back! We have authors in every corner of the world so the logistics of producing high quality audio recordings under those circumstances came froth with challenge. Interestingly enough, the day I decided we were going to do it, I received an e-mail from a colleague who mentioned a new software that was designed to be used for teleseminars. While I wasn't interested in doing teleseminars at the time, I realized THIS was the software that I was looking for and the rest, as they say, is history."
11. How long did it take to complete the audio books?
"Because I had never tackled an audio book before, let alone doing seven at a time, it took longer than expected. I started the taping sessions in January 2008 and the project was completed in early July 2008. I personally sat in on every taping session to make sure our authors were comfortable and felt safe that their story was in good hands. I also sat in on every editing session for every story in every book, again to make certain our authors were in good hands! In all, we taped more than 300 hours of stories and when all the editing was completed, the final series of seven audio books resulted in more than 36 hours of 340 + stories. It is an historic project as no one else I know of in the publishing world has ever attempted such an undertaking!"
12. Funny stories associated with the Horse Tales series of books?
"Before leaving on our cross country trip, my husband and I decided to purchase a new truck. Because I am married to a very polite British fellow, I handle all the nasty business negotiations, including car and truck deals. As a result, I went on my own to purchase our truck while he was at work. The salesman at the Texas dealership near our home at the time drove a hard bargain and we were both so equally matched and were both enjoying the "truck buying dance" so much that it became funny. When the deal was done, he asked me what in the world I did for a living? I told him and then pulled out a copy of Horse Tales for the Soul, volume one out of my briefcase. I left the book with him when I headed out to pick my husband up at the office and return to sign all the paperwork. When we returned, I entered the dealer's office only to find him teary eyed, reading the book! He was reading a poem from an author in Florida that touched him so deeply that a car salesman was weeping at his desk! Powerful stuff for sure!"
13. Touching stories associated with the Horse Tales series of book?
"The graphic artist, Kristen Spinning of Kromatics in Tuscon Arizona, who is responsible for designing all the covers for these books was diagnosed with cancer while we were working on volume four in the series. While Kristen had never met any of the authors within these books (at the time), our authors have become a part of an extended family and Kristen's book covers are the warm blanket that wrap all of the stories together in each volume. When Kristen shared the diagnosis with me, I sent an e-mail to all the authors to let them know and Kristen was quickly inundated with personal e-mails, cards and letters from fellow Horse Tales for the Soul family members who openly shared their concern, prayers, good thoughts and wishes for her speedy recovery. This has absolutely changed Kristen's life for the better. Kristen is a single woman who is usually a fairly private person. These authors come from different age groups, different ethnic and religious backgrounds and when the call came in for help, they stepped up to the plate and delivered. Some organized prayer chains, others called upon their church for help, while still others did meditation, some relied on the Internet to rally the troops for good thoughts and prayer and still others sent Kristen personal notes describing their personal struggle and success over cancer in their family. Not only was Kristen's life transformed by this single act, but so were the lives of the authors. Incidentally, two years later, Kristen is cancer free, is working on her own Horse Tales type book for cancer survivors who can share their personal stories with others and best of all, Kristen's life has opened up so much that she adopted a baby girl in need and is now a parent who is sharing her life wisdom with the next generation."
14. The power of the Horse Tales series.
"When I saw the quality of the stories that were pouring into my office, I was so moved by them that I wanted to do something in their honor. The best thing I could think to do was to make donations to Handicapped Riding Programs across the country with a portion of the proceeds from each book. I invited authors to recommend a local Handicapped Riding Program in their area and decided to make the donations in the name of the author who recommended the program. Because I see my role in this entire process as just the facilitator who brings good things and good people together, I wanted all the emphasis to be where it belonged, on the Handicapped Riding Program and on the authors who recommended the program. To date, we have donated thousands of dollars to NARHA (what is now called P.A.T.H.) programs across the country in the name of authors in the Horse Tales for the Soul series and now I'm proud to say that we went on a 23-city tour in October celebrating the release of Volumes 6 & 7. To celebrate, we invited local P.A.T.H. chapters to partner with us along the way so we could help them raise money for the great work they do everyday."
15. Biggest challenges involved in doing the Horse Tales for the Soul series of books?
"Now that we have successfully completed seven volumes in the series, you will be surprised to find that what was hardest on the first book, remains hardest on the seventh book - reviewing each of the stories and selecting which will be shared with the world and which won't. Each story submitted represents a piece of the heart and soul of the author and with that reality in mind, it is very difficult to go through the selection process. I personally read each and every story myself!"
Members of the media: If you need any future information or would like to set up a personal phone or in person interview with Bonnie Marlewski-Probert, feel free to contact our PR director at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 870-210-8741 and someone will get back to you asap.