Dawn LeFevre Interview Published on: 13, Feb 2020

Where were you born? Since how long have you been living in South Jersey?

I was born in Charleston, South Carolina and have lived in South Jersey for over forty years. Which is your favorite memory from Cook College of Rutgers University?

Reading my first published article in the campus newspaper. Why did you begin working on the backstretch of Atlantic City Racecourse at the age of sixteen?

My mom went to college with a woman named Ruth who was working at Atlantic City and told her that I had experience working at show horse stables and loved horse racing. Ruth then got me a job as a hotwalker. How would you describe your experience of thirteen years spent training and racing horses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware?

It was the best time of my life, from meeting wonderful people like my mentor, Walter Medio to caring for the magnificent Thoroughbred racehorses. What is your reading comfort zone? How often do you read out of your comfort zone?

My comfort zone is basically anything with strong female characters from historical fiction to mysteries as well as non-fiction. I don’t read much science fiction or fantasy.

What inspired you to start writing "Backstretch Girls?" What comes first, the plot or characters?

I write the characters and their backstories first and then plot out how I’m going to wreck their lives. I wanted to write a horse racing novel about the real life heroes of the backstretch – the grooms, ponygirls, exercise riders, etc. instead of the rich horse owners that are featured in most books.

How important is research to you when writing a book? What was the most unusual fact you read about the world of horse racing while writing your first book?

I didn’t have to do much research for Backstretch Girls since I lived it for thirteen years. I did research equine hoof ailments and how they are treated because one of my characters is a farrier.

Who inspired the character of Teagan Sullivan?

Teagan is not based on any real person, she’s basically Xena: Warrior Ponygirl. She’s tough but has a soft spot for horses.

Who is the most supportive of your writing in your family? When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

My husband is my number supporter, beta-reader, and website designer. I enjoyed writing stories when I was younger but I always wanted a hands-on career with animals.

Would you say that your life has changed much after becoming an author? What are some important life lessons (doesn't have to be writing related) you've learnt since then?

One thing that has changed is that I’ve achieved a major life goal by having this book published. The major lesson I learned in my journey is the importance of perseverance and the generosity of others.

What is the sweetest fan-mail that you have ever received?

I haven’t received any official fan mail but I did discover overwhelming support for Backstretch Girls on several Facebook groups, especially Horse Books Addicts and Horse Books for Grownups.

How do you ensure to keep your readers wanting for more at the end of each book?

By having my readers form emotional attachments to the characters so that they’re rooting for them to accomplish their dreams.

What was the most challenging experience on your road to becoming an author? Got any advice for an aspiring writer?

My most challenging experience was finding ways to promote my book. My advice to aspiring writers is to keep at it! Write that crappy first draft, just suffer through it and get it down and then edit the heck out of it.

Which is the next book you are working on? Tell us about it.

I’m writing another equestrian fiction novel about a woman dealing with the sudden loss of her mother who then finds herself training a stable of misfit racehorses.

When did you first join AllAuthor? Has this site been useful to you? Do you have any feedback?

I joined AllAuthor in November and found it to be very helpful as a promotional tool. I love the banners and the cover contest brought a nice boost to my book sales.

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