Hello readers! I’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Hubbard. Rebecca is a native Texan, who enjoys spending time with friends and family, including her two dogs, Idgie and Sully, and her two horses, Cash and Cloud. She also loves to read, paint and garden.
Please tell us a bit about your book, The Gift:
“The Gift” is a story about a young girl, Pip, who receives a horse for her birthday and her desire to have a best friend. She believes that the horse she names Buck should be her best friend because he was given to her. She learns that in order to have a friend she has to develop a friendship. She struggles with how to do this and misinterprets Buck’s behavior. From her father she learns how to understand Buck’s perspective and how to develop a friendship with him. The story is told from the perspective of Pip and the perspective of Buck. From Buck, we learn how he interprets Pip’s behavior and how he feels about the things she does to try to make friends with him. We also learn about the things that bring him joy and what causes him to feel afraid. It is a story about understanding one another, patience and developing a true friendship.
Where did the story idea come from?
The seed of the idea came from an interaction that I witnessed between a girl who desperately wanted to be friends with a horse and the horse completely ignored her existence. Something about that interaction and the heartbreak the girl felt played over and over in my mind. My business partner at the time kept asking me to write a story about a kid and a horse but I felt I didn’t write those types of stories so I tried to ignore her request. She, however, would not allow me to ignore it. She asked me frequently when I would write the story, keeping the idea of a story about a kid and a horse in the forefront of my mind. So when my muse struck the interaction between the girl and the horse became my template for “The Gift.”
The Gift is told from two distinctly unique POVs – first from Pip’s POV and then from Buck’s. What made you decide to write the book this way?
This is going to sound silly but I never considered telling the story any other way. I feel that in order to fully understand the story you must hear from both characters. If you only hear Pip’s side of the story, then Buck appears ornery, belligerent and maybe even snobbish. When you hear Buck’s side of the story, you have compassion for him and understand his behavior and may feel that Pip is selfish and ungrateful. Having both points of view makes you appreciate the dynamic that occurs between the two of them. In addition, telling the story from two points of view gave me the flexibility to help children understand that things are not always the way we think they are, and that there are many reasons for the behaviors of others. It also opened up the ability to help children with learning perspective taking and understanding from another’s point of view, allowing for increased sensitivity and compassion.
Can you tell readers a bit about your background with horses?
I was born with the “horse gene.” Folks say you either have it or you don’t. Horses are in my blood. As a child I spent as much time with horses as I possibly could. I would ride my horse for hours pretending I lived in the old west traveling to the mountains or pretending I was a Comanche with excellent horsemanship. I grew up in a rodeo family, so I competed in rodeos on weekends. When I left home for college and started my career I wasn’t able to be around horses. That was a very sad time in my life. I remember the first time I was able to be around a horse after many, many years. I was overcome with emotion. I buried my face in his neck and cried. Later in my career I was able to marry my two loves, horses and therapy, and now I am around horses almost every day. When I drive onto the ranch I am greeted with the site of horses grazing and playing. My whole workday is surrounded by horses and it makes the day so much less stressful than doing traditional therapy.
What types of books do you like to read?
I love to read mysteries, crime novels, westerns, children’s books of all kinds, and some fantasy. When I was younger I would read anything I could get my hands on. My papa set a good example for me about reading. He was an avid reader. He would stay up all night to finish a book. Sometimes I would find him asleep in the chair when I woke up in the mornings. I love books that pull me in and paint such vivid pictures that I lose myself in them.
What would readers be surprised to know about you?
ually an art that develops with mentoring, time and experience. It takes an enormous amount of time and effortPeople who know me very well know I am extremely shy and I avoid being in the spotlight. People ask me how can I can be shy and talk for a living. Well, usually I am only talking to a few people at a time. But early in my career, even doing that was hard. This project has been so important to me that it has pushed me outside my comfort zone but it has been so worth it.
Many authors struggle with self-promotion. Has book marketing and promotion been difficult for you personally?
In August my book will have been out a year and I feel like over the last six months I have just begun to better understand the importance of marketing and how to do it. I think marketing is act
Being shy I struggle with self-promotion. It would be much easier for me if all I had to do was write the books and somehow they sold themselves. But promotion is important to do so I use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I developed a blog, had a book trailer made, and talk about my book at events when asked. I also write guest blogs for Natural Lifemanship.
Should readers be expecting a follow-up Pip and Buck story in the future?
When I wrote “The Gift” I did not intend for it to be a series. But after completing “The Gift” Pip and Buck continued to stay with me. I am working on the second book now, “Pip and Buck: Saddle Up!” I am considering adding to this book the point of view of the father. This book focuses on the importance of relationships over tasks and things.
How can readers connect with you?
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
The best advice I could give is to write often, write about things you are interested in, things that make you wonder, things that make you think, and things you dream of. Practice describing what you see, what you feel and what you think. Practice perspective taking, spend time observing people and things around you and allow yourself to just feel those things in the moment. Read as much as you can. Every moment in which you are truly present makes your life richer and in turn will make your writing richer too.
MORE ABOUT REBECCA HUBBARD
Rebecca J. Hubbard is a master’s level Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience working with children and their families. She began writing short stories as a child for her own amusement and enjoyment. Rebecca discovered that she could facilitate the healing of her young clients by writing stories for them.
Currently, Rebecca works at Spirit Reins as a clinician and as the clinical supervisor where she practices Natural Lifemanship, ™ a Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy™ model.