Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Victoria Eveleigh interview & book giveaway!

If you’ve read Little M’s review of A Stallion Called Midnight, you’ll know that it’s a story about much more than horses and ponies.  You’ll also know that she loved it! But did you know that Midnight was based on a real Lundy island pony?

We’re delighted to welcome author Victoria Eveleigh to our blog where she answers some of Little M’s burning questions.  And at the end of the interview, we’re excited to host our first book giveaway!!

Author Victoria Eveleigh and a lovely friend!
Little M: What made you start liking horses?

Victoria: Some of my earliest memories are of horses and ponies. I was brought up in London, so the first horses I ever saw were police horses and the horses from the local army barracks who passed by the end of our road when they were being exercised. Also, there was a rag and bone man who used to come down our street with a pony and cart (that shows how old I am!) and I loved his pony.

I couldn’t wait to start riding, but I wasn’t allowed to have lessons until I was six years old. My first riding lessons were around Hyde Park in London on a pony called Jenny. I was fond of all animals, but horses were always extra special – and still are.

I can’t really pin down why I like horses so much, but here are some of the reasons: riding is great fun, horses are beautiful, I like their company, I love the smell of them and the sounds they make, they fascinate me and there’s always something new to learn from them.

Little M: Why is Midnight called Midnight when he is not a black horse?

Victoria: Phew! That’s an easy one: Midnight was called Midnight because he had midnight-blue eyes.

Little M: Did the real Midnight ever get properly tamed?

Victoria: No, the real Midnight was always pretty wild, and nobody managed to ride him. However, Peggy Garvey (the lady who gave him a home on the mainland for several years before he died) trained him to accept a head collar so she could lead him. She told me he was never easy to handle, though.

Little M: Did you or any of your children ever go to boarding school?

Victoria: I went to a boarding school in Kent when I was a teenager. I was very lucky because I made some good friends and enjoyed my time there. However, it can’t have been much fun for people who were homesick or found it difficult to make friends. Our children went to a local school every day. We live on an isolated farm miles away from the nearest secondary school. They had to spend two hours on the school bus every day, so sometimes they wished they were boarding!

Little M: Will there be a sequel to A Stallion Called Midnight?

Victoria: I’m not planning to write one at the moment, but you never know...

Little M:  When did you first start writing?

Victoria: I always enjoyed writing letters at boarding school, partly because if you wrote letters you were more likely to get some sent to you. (As in A Stallion Called Midnight, the letter rack was a very important thing at boarding school.)

However, I studied sciences for A levels and at university, so I wrote essays rather than stories for a long time. Essays are like stories to a certain extent, though, because they have a similar structure (introduction, main part and conclusion) so in some ways writing essays taught me how to write stories. I think my scientific training made me keen on facts and being precise, which is why I always try to get my facts right in my stories and make them realistic. I wouldn’t be comfortable writing fantasies, but I admire people who do.

I wrote my first story, about a girl and an Exmoor pony, during the foot and mouth crisis in 2001. It was a terrible time for livestock farmers. Our sheep and cattle didn’t get foot and mouth on our farm, but we were so anxious not to get it that we kept our children at home for a whole term, didn’t have any visitors to the farm and only went out when we really had to. The result was that I had the time to write the story which had been forming in my head for several years.  I published it myself.


Thank you very much Victoria!

Victoria is in the middle of writing a brand new trilogy for Orion.  Horses and ponies will still be a central theme but they will have a boy as the main character.  She also has a lovely horsey website.

Book Giveaway!!!!
Orion Children’s Books are sponsoring our first ever book giveaway! 
There are 3 copies of Victoria Eveleigh’s A Stallion Called Midnight up for grabs. So that means, 3 winners!!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post.
Or you can send an e-mail with A Stallion Called Midnight Competition in the subject line: wesatdown2 [at] gmail [dot] com.

The competition closes on Friday 6 July 2012 @ 17h00.
Winners will be announced on this blog, our Facebook page and on Twitter on Saturday 7 July 2012.
If you haven't left a way for us to contact you, please do check back to see if you have won.

This giveaway is UK only and is open to readers 13 and older.  If you are younger, please get your parent’s permission to enter (or ask them to enter for you). Winners are picked at random.

Good luck!!

PS. If you want to find out if you think you'll like this book, you can read Little M's review.


  1. Wow, fab interview, thank you! Really looking forward to introducing this book to our students; I just know they're going to love it.

  2. Interesting interview & great review too. Thank you. I think that the girls at my school would love this book. Lots of them love horses too.

  3. amjjiadoreponies!!:)28 June 2012 at 21:20

    gret interview cant wait to see what the books like!! really interesting. love horses sooo much! xx

  4. great interview, I love horses and love reading about them!

  5. Thank you for a great interview - so nice to hear about the real Midnight.

  6. Thank you everyone. This giveaway is now closed.