Lee Hope on the Jordan Rich Show

Lee appeared on the Jordan Rich Show podcast on February 16th. Click here to hear the conversation.

Interview with Author Caroline Leavitt

CL: What I so love about your novel is the storyworld–the way you bring  us into a world that is as exotic as it is compelling, and even dangerous. Why do you think this particular world gives rise to both the spiritual and the sensual?

LH: In a high risk sport, or any high risk physical activity, really, you risk your life. Cross country riding, or jumping horses, is that dangerous.  At any moment you could be thrown, your horse could trip, you could break bones, your neck, get a concussion, be brain dead.  And risking death can be spiritual, you must confront your fears, and persist.  It takes a certain irrationality, yes.  One eventer said that cross country riders, eventers, are a little crazy.  But I would say such riding also takes an inner strength.  You use your body, as in any sport, but in riding you also connect with the body of the horse…you sense your body so vividly in its vulnerability and strength each time your horse jumps, or competes…it’s a union that brings together, if you’re tapped into it, the sensual and the spiritual.  And this union is what Nikki knows, and Gabe, her trainer, knows it, and her husband Cliff, senses it, the power of the body/spirit connection.  So Cliff quickly comes to wish he had never hired a trainer in the first place, but it is too late.  The passion of the sport, of winning, has taken hold and propels all four main characters into spiritual territory, both dark and light.

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Interview with New Rivers Press

NR: How much of the novel was inspired by an actual murder case?

LH:  I would say the thrust of the plot is heavily influenced by the murder case. But in the actual case, the protagonists were musicians. I don’t know all that much about music, so I changed the characters to horse people. I had a small horse farm and had owned a variety of horses for some years, so this world had been part of my life. In including the horses, of course, much of the original story shifted, although there is still that plot tension, the sense of an impending crime.

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Interview with Kelly Sarabyn for Book Club Babble

KS: There’s a great deal of tension in this book—tension in Nikki and Cliff’s marriage, tension in the danger of horse riding, tension between Nikki and her horse trainer Gabe. When you were writing, did you already know the ending, or did that unfold as you wrote?  I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending is very dark—did you ever entertain a lighter ending, or did it seem inevitable these characters were headed toward some kind of a catastrophe?

LH: This novel is inspired by an actual murder case that fascinated me because of the tensions between two married couples. If these two marriages had not intertwined, if jealousies had not grown and erupted, all would have proceeded within boundaries. But the relationships take their own course, like a horse given its head.

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Interview with Richard Hoffman for Fiction Writers Review

RH: This is a sexy serious novel, also a seriously sexy one! There’s a kind of near mysticism at the heart of it, a tantric knot. Sexuality and spirituality seem inextricably bound together in a way I have never before encountered.

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