My Secret Passion
Horses and writing. I don¹t know why but they've always been linked at important turning points in my life.
Years ago, for instance, I was a wrangler on the set of a film (Ned Kelly) when I was asked to ride out with its star, Mick Jagger in order to make sure he didn't fall off. That led to my first published article. A big moment for me- I'd found what I wanted to do in life.
Later, I was on a seven day ride across Wales where I live, when I stopped outside a small church in the middle of nowhere, and noted a plaque to a girl who, in 1853, ran away with the Welsh cattle drovers in order to nurse with Florence Nightingale to Scutari.
I felt a bolt of excitement: I'd found the subject of my first book, The Water Horse. Would I have recognized it had I been in a car? I doubt it. I felt calm because I was on a horse, receptive, already in the rhythms of another century.
For East of the Sun, I hired a horse with a red bridle and went riding in Shimla, in the foothills of the Himalayas. The track was steep and beautiful, carpeted with wild strawberries and it was a horse, as usual, who set my mind free to dream.