Interview with Rebecca Hubbard, author of “The Gift”

 

Rebecca Hubbard Author PhotoHello 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.

The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard

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?

I am on Twitter at @rebeccajhubbard. My website is rebeccahubbardlmft.com. My Facebook page is Rebecca J. Hubbard LMFT. I have a blog Hopeful Scribe and I guest write blogs for Natural Lifemanship.

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.

Rebecca encourages readers to connect with her via her Website and Amazon Author Page.

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“The Gift” by Rebecca Hubbard Book Tour & Raffle

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The Gift by Rebecca Hubbard

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  • Paperback:62 pages
  • Publisher:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 23, 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1515181839
  • ISBN-13:978-1515181835

ABOUT THE BOOK

All eleven-year-old Pip wanted was a best friend. When Pip gets a horse for her birthday, she’s delighted. She thinks that the horse she names Buck will be her best friend from the moment that they meet. But she finds out that friendship does not come that easily.

Pip’s father gently guides her so that Pip can discover for herself how to make Buck a true friend. Pip’s new friend, Buck, has a story of his own. After leaving his own herd, to move to Pip’s house, he is looking for a relationship that will help him feel safe. He, too, learns that making a friend takes patience and understanding.

Told from the perspectives of both Pip and Buck, The Gift is a heartwarming and valuable lesson about friendship, trust and love that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

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AND NOW FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL

Character Interview with Pip’s Dad

What was it like for you to watch Pip struggle to make friends with Buck?

Unfortunately, I have had a lot of practice with watching someone I love struggle. Pip’s mama was diagnosed with cancer when Pip was three years old. I watched her fight for her life for two years and watched Pip grieving her loss. It was excruciating to see them both hurting so much and to know there was little I could do. That experience more than anything else, taught me that I cannot take away someone else’s pain, and the only thing I can do is control own emotions.

It’s hard for me to hear how hard things are for Pip and see her confused and upset. I don’t want her to experience any more pain in her life. Losing her mama is more than enough pain for a lifetime. When Pip was smaller I hated to see her cry. The sound of it caused my heart to break. When she was little I did almost anything I could to keep her from crying. That meant I did a lot of things for Pip that maybe she could have done herself. Pip’s mama always said, “There’s no harm in struggling. The harm is in struggling alone when you’re a kid.” I always try to remember that since she isn’t here to remind me.

The truth is it is still hard to see Pip cry but I do things differently now than I did then. I realized that by doing things for Pip I was keeping her from learning. Not only learning how to do things but learning about herself. Pip is a smart kid but she is short on patience. I reckon the way to build patience is to have things that try your patience. But it is hard to watch, that’s for sure. I know it’s my job as her dad to be supportive of her so she has what she needs to be successful in life. I could have gone down to that pasture and worked with Buck myself, but if I did that Pip wouldn’t be any closer to a friendship with him. If you want a friend you have to make a friend yourself. Nobody can do that for you, no matter how hard it is.

Did you worry that it might not be safe to allow Pip to interact with Buck alone?

 No, if I were worried about that I would have never done it. Horses are pretty good at taking care of themselves. The way I see it, if they feel unsafe in a situation they usually run. Unless a horse has been hurt by someone or has something wrong in his brain, he will run if given the chance. If they can’t run for some reason or feel that running isn’t going to solve the problem then they might strike out with a hoof kick or even bite you or run you over. That horse of Pip’s has a good head on his young shoulders. He just hasn’t had much handling, that’s all. I have no worries about Pip’s safety.

What made you give Pip a horse for her 11th birthday?

 I promised Pip’s mama that I would get Pip a horse when Pip was old enough. I think I probably waited too long, eleven is kind of old. I was worried about how hard it would be on Pip and I wanted to protect her. I guess I will always want to do that. Something about your child losing a parent makes you even more protective of them. I wanted to make sure she could handle the feelings I knew would come up and the challenges having a horse would bring. I never worried about the responsibility part of it. Pip is a responsible kid. She gets herself up in the mornings and she does her chores, but she has a hard time hanging in there when things get tough. I knew she was ready to learn how to be responsible for Buck and her eleventh birthday was the perfect opportunity.

How do you know so much about horses?

 Honestly, I don’t think I know that much about horses. My family had a few horses on the farm where I grew up. One of those horses was Kink, a black horse my daddy won in a bet. Kink and I became friends. My daddy and I had a few arguments about how I should treat Kink. He said I should show him who was boss. That just didn’t feel right to me. So I set out to have the kind of relationship with Kink that I wanted. I learned a lot about life from Kink. He taught me how to see things from another set of eyes. When I’m working with a horse, and trying to figure out what to do, I just ask myself what I’d want if I were him.

Do you think Pip’s friendship with Buck will help her throughout life?

 I strongly believe that Pip’s friendship with Buck will help her in many ways, like learning how to pay attention. Paying attention to things is important and that horse is really teaching her how to do that. In this world, paying attention to things is half the battle. If you can pay attention to what you are feeling and thinking then that’s good. If you can do that and pay attention to what someone else might be feeling and thinking then that’s even better. As Pip grows up with Buck they’re going to learn a lot from each another. That friendship will teach her things that friendships with people just can’t.

Like what types of things?

 Well, Buck is teaching Pip how she presents herself to others and what that tells them about her. He is also teaching her how to control her body, her feelings and the intensity of her feelings. From Buck, Pip is beginning to understand her impact on others.

I try to help Pip understand that inside each of us, and all around us, is energy. I think that’s important for her to understand because that’s how animals understand us. For example, when a mountain lion is hunting he has an intense focus on his prey and a strong desire to kill it but on the outside he appears calm. A horse doesn’t pay attention to the outside calm. He feels the intensity from deep inside the mountain lion. That’s the energy he’s responding to when he takes off running so he can keep himself safe.

Horses are very good at noticing when the outside of something and the inside of something don’t match. You can’t feel really angry and pretend that everything is okay and expect a horse to come to you. They won’t. They can feel the anger that’s inside of you in the form of energy. The outside of you isn’t matching the intensity on the inside of you, which makes them even more suspicious and wary of you. Buck is helping Pip understand her energy and the importance of her inside and outside matching.

You know how people are really good at taking something until they can’t take it any longer? It’s confusing for kids for an adult to accept a certain behavior for a long time then one day start hollering at them because the adult is sick and tired of it. Well, horses don’t do that. If they don’t like something from the start they let you know. They might let you know in a small way at first but they’ll keep showing you until you understand that they don’t like it. Horses are real honest and that helps us learn things from them that’s hard to learn from people.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

 Yes, just one more thing. I hear people say that horses are magic because peoples’ lives change from being around them. Believe me, it isn’t magic; it’s hard work. Really getting to know a horse and seeing him as an equal partner in your friendship changes your life. It changes how you communicate, how you interact with others and how you see the world. When you stop trying to control someone else and just control yourself things go much better for everyone. Sometimes you have to help horses learn that they can control themselves, but heck we have to teach our children that too. Relationships with people can teach us the same things if we let them. But most of us won’t let that happen with people. I suppose that’s because people hold on to things and horses give us more opportunities to do things over without bringing the past into it.

Rebecca Hubbard Author Photo 2

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.

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. Rebecca encourages readers to connect with her via her website and Amazon Author Page.

 

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