Your newest e-single, The Fire Horse, tells the story of an equestrian eventer, Boyd Martin, and his ornery, but talented horse, Neville Bardos, during a death-defying eventing season. You also have written a full-length book, Three Strides Before the Wire, about the jockey, Chris Antley, and his dramatic Triple Crown attempt on the horse, Charismatic. And yet, we hear you are not an equestrian yourself. What explains your interest in these horse-related stories?

I think you answered that question somewhat in the words you used about the stories — “death defying” and “dramatic.” Both true stories are intense examples of human beings grappling with the most challenging circumstances of life and figuring their way amidst the turmoils. I originally became intrigued by horse racing through my own challenging circumstances, described in Three Strides: My boyfriend had been granted a brief reprieve of health during a battle with leukemia, and we decided we should go to the Kentucky Derby as an adventure; it turned out to be the year that Antley rode Charismatic. My boyfriend and I had a joyous time at Churchill Downs, which remained an ecstatic memory through some of the more difficult, heartbreaking days that were yet to come.

The flames had been gorging on the barn for forty-five minutes. Fire trucks from twelve different stations blocked the perimeter, sirens screaming, water cannons aiming thick shots at the thirty-foot flames rocketing up out of the roof. At least fifty firefighters surrounded the conflagration, outfitted as if they could land on Mars, with oxygen tanks and masks. A couple of frightened horses ran the perimeter. Some of the True Prospect grooms and riders, including his own, were in hysterics.

Boyd raced up the drive toward Dutton, who was standing, stunned, watching the old barn groan with the flames.

Lillian Heard, Martin’s head groom, who had been staying in the apartment upstairs for the weekend, had woken to the smell of smoke wafting through the floorboards. Silliman and her boyfriend, Ryan “Woodsy” Wood, a four-star Australian eventer who worked for Phillip Dutton, lived in the apartment full-time. They heard her call out.