Tudor Robins is riding high with the publication of her first young adult novel. In the fast-paced Objects in Mirror (Red Deer Press, 2013), a young equestrian nurses malnourished horses back to health while confronting her own anorexia. Kitchissippi Times contributor Denise Deby asked Robins more at her McKellar Park home.
Kitchissippi Times: Tell us about the book.
Tudor Robins: It’s about a horse rider whose summer doesn’t go quite the way she expects. She has to overcome a lot of challenges, including an eating disorder, and decide what’s most important to her in her life. …It’s a coming of age story. There’s definitely a bit of romance. And it’s set just outside Ottawa.
KT: You’ve worked as a freelance writer. What prompted you to write fiction?
TR: I’ve always wanted to write a novel. After journalism school, magazine and newspaper writing was the obvious route…. The turning point was probably when I had my kids (Evan, 11 and Bryn, 9) and focused on my freelance. It was good, but I realized what I really want is to write fiction. I hadn’t ever thought it would be young adult—I’d actually started an adult novel—but I saw a young adult novel contest called “So You Think You Can Write?” and finished this book. I looked into getting it published, and did what I call my “year of the contest”—I entered writing contests, and had really good results.
KT: How much does the book draw on your own life?
TR: I’ve grown up riding since I was eight, so that was a natural setting for me to choose. I did experience an eating disorder, so again that wasn’t really a stretch for me. …It’s like you start with certain things you know to be true, and then you link them together by putting in things that are fun and made up, and you get to leave out the boring bits. It is 100 per cent fiction, but I used my experiences to know how someone might feel in certain situations.
KT: What other things make up your day?
TR: I write resumes for a career company, which I enjoy because I feel like I’m helping people. I do writing workshops for adults and in schools…. I run the pizza program at Broadview School where I volunteer. And I keep a writing blog … I’ve written a couple of other young adult manuscripts, and I’ve never really been able to put down my first project, the adult novel, so when I have free time that’s what I’m working on. Then there’s promoting this book, including the June 6 launch at Red Chair Kids from 7pm-9pm (1318 Wellington Street West) a lot of people are really helpful, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the support of the community. And I’m really looking forward to interacting with readers.