Mixing a Little Fiction with Real Characters

When I wrote The Silver Heart I wrote it from my heart and the characters for the book are the names of people I knew.  I used my middle name as the main character because my dad used to call me Susie growing up and it was my nickname from him.  It still gives me a warm feeling when I think of all the things we did together and the time we spent on the farm.  Some of the things in the book are from my past, like sitting under the old Oak tree with our German Shepard watching the water run down the creek or the feeling of going home to the farm for family celebrations.  There are just those books you write that you put your heart into and a piece of yourself.

One of the characters in my book is Pete Oen.  When I wrote the book Pete was 16 or 17 years old and he was training Quarter Horses, in Ohio.  Pete was training a mare we had, Shesa Two Timin Date, for my daughter, Jaime. He lived on a small farm with his mom and dad and two sisters.  Pete and Stacy were the ones who showed horses.  Stacy showed everything from pleasure to contest horses.  Pete has always had contesting in his blood and he has succeeded at it.

When The Silver Heart was in the beginning phases Pete was showing in 4-H with all his friends.  He showed his horses in Showmanship classes and did very well at it.  One of the stories I remember was with 4-H advisor, Larry Monnin.  He was leaning on the fence watching a young Pete Oen show his horse in Showmanship. Pete was probably nine or ten years old at the time.  The judge was done and was tabulating the results for the class.  Mr. Oen had taken his hat off, placed it on his horse’s back and was leaning up against his horse.  All the other 4-H members were still in show stance.  Larry looked at Pete and just laughed about how confident Pete was with his horse and as the years went  a lot of respect developed between Pete and Larry.  Pete later joined the 4-H club Larry Monnin was an advisor for. Unfortunately, we lost Larry in a tragic construction accident.  The accident was so sudden it hit the kids pretty hard.  Larry had a huge personality, helped anyone and the kids loved him.

As I was writing this book I came to the part where I needed a horse trainer.  There was only one horse trainer I could think of who would fit into the book perfectly, Pete Oen.  Little did I know at the time how much Pete would grow in the Quarter Horse business.  He has gone from being a small town trainer to owning a ranch in Oklahoma with some of the best horses in his stable.  He has won awards all over the United States and this month he is on three pages in the Barrel Horse News Magazine.  Rumor is he will be on the front page of the Barrel Horse News with an article about him.

As you put the first word on a page you stop and think about where you want the story to go.  My novel takes all kinds of turns and it has names in it of people that have meant so much to me in my life, those that have left an imprint in me and who I am.

Have a wonderful day!

Samantha Sheridan

Pete Oen palomino pic
Pete Oen, Pete Oen Barrel Horse Ranch, Ardmore, OK

If you want to learn more about Pete Oen check out his website at http://www.peteoen.com or check him out on Facebook.


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