Talking With Candace Wade

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When you run across a book entitled, Horse Sluts your

Tell us what a typical day in your life is like:

My brain jangles with “What shall I write and where can I sell it?” If I have an assignment, it’s “How can I give them what they want and still sound like me?” I’m a joyous and dedicated recreational rider – in my 60’s – with a high insurance deductable, so exercise is vital. Riding-targeted exercise helps keep my body “riding ready.” Exercise focuses my brain. My daily trek to the gym is as “no excuses” as brushing my teeth.

I start writing by 9:30 a.m. This is my job. Discipline and organization is vital for me – much like the equestrian arts, right? 3:00 is quittin’ time. Brain fried — bum numb — the dog needs to walk, etc., etc., etc.

How did you get started with horses?

The intro to my book Horse Sluts reveals that answer. Okra is not a fair trade for abandoning orgasmic fresh croissants and authentic Chinese and Mexican food of San Francisco. I felt learning to ride would be a more regionally enriching pastime than swilling sweet tea given the massive life change of moving to Middle Tennessee.

Tell us about your horses and why you chose each of them:

I don’t own – I rent/take lessons. I help other people pay their feed bills. I’ll ride any horse that is sane and willing to put up with me.

What impact have horses made on you as a writer?

Got an hour? Discipline, health, sanity, of course. But, the “are you kidding me” saga of learning to ride as an adult led to the book, Horse Sluts. Horse Sluts was an entrée to magazine articles and the Equus Film Festival NYC. A woman at the festival championed me as a candidate to write what turned out to be a series on the rescue and rehab of an ex-big lick Tennessee Walking Horse show horse. Theo, of “Saving Theo,” has been my inspiration, my teacher, my sacred duty, my beautiful boy. His story won me a WINNIE Award for writing at the EFF NYC. And, so it goes.

What made you want to be a writer?

(Shrug.) Seemed like something I could do. I’m not an, “I always wanted to be a writer” or “It’s my passion.” I do crave the constant honing of craft, the editing for quality, the limitless education. To me, quality writing is vital for effective communication. It is a duty. Bad writing is an affront.

What would you consider your biggest milestones so far as a rider and as a writer?

I did not give up last year when barn after barn, my riding resources closed down. After a series of sorrowful not-the-right-fit tries, I found riding nirvana. My instructor is taking me past the “adult rider” fears. I am eager to learn to jump, to canter bare back, whatever she offers to me. I know I have improved and am thrilled to keep going. As a writer, besides being entrusted with Theo? Hmmm, I would say being willing to walk away from a $1000 article fee when too many of the “suggested” edits were stripping my voice from the piece – and I knew that the suggestions were pedestrian. I was satisfied with the compromise in the end – and – cashed my check.

What is your latest writing project and what is the inspiration behind it?

Kudzu, a “fortified” non-fiction account of our new life in TN after 45 years of being forged (like steel) by liberal, diverse, environmentally dedicated, animal rights conscious California.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a beginning rider what would that be?

After finding a trainer who instructs in the way you process information? Relax. Feel that you are the two extra legs in a six legged animal. Don’t watch cowboy movies – that’s not equitation.Relax. Feel that you are the two extra legs in a six legged animal. Don’t watch cowboy movies – that’s not equitation.

What are some of your goals for the next year?

A story in the New York Times magazine. A first draft of Kudzu that doesn’t make me cringe and scout for a job at Home Depot. A first draft of Kudzu that doesn’t make me cringe and scout for a job at Home Depot. Jump a two foot oxer. Canter bare back without it being a monumental feat. Help get the PAST Act enacted.

For the writers out there who want to take their writing to the next level, what advice would you give them?

Read quality writing. Write, write, write. Cut, cut, cut. Walk around inside your story. Get out of the way — too much voice is distracting. If you have heard a phase used, don’t use it.Cut, cut, cut. Walk around inside your story. Get out of the way — too much voice is distracting. If you have heard a phase used, don’t use it.

Any additional parting words of wisdom?

Rejoice the small successes. Rejoice at the journey. The destination is just another destination.The destination is just another destination.

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