Bestselling author and dressage rider Tami Hoag spent the winter show season sequestered at her home in Wellington, foregoing interaction with real people in favor of her own fictional characters. Hoag’s new novel, “The 9th Girl,” was released June 18.
The book features several characters named after real people who won the honor in charity auctions, including fundraisers for the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation and the American Heart Association. She said integrating the auction winners into her book was not as difficult as foregoing riding.
“Dr. Ulf Moeller and Ullrich Kasselmann of Performance Sales International horse sales in Germany both ended up as characters,” Hoag said. “I talked to the people at PSI, and they asked if I could mention them in the book. There are no horses in this book at all, so it became quite a challenge. A friend of mine from the book world asked me if I could auction off another character for the American Heart Association. So it became three characters and an entity that I had to work into the book. It was a challenge to get it all in there.”
Hoag went on a short string of appearances before starting her first summer vacation in years. She did a book signing June 21 at Barnes and Noble in Wellington. Hoag’s equestrian background was represented at the event in the form of two miniature horses, aptly named Barnes and Noble, owned by Hoag’s friend Johnny Robb.
“When Johnny bought them years ago, she said we should bring them to one of my signings,” Hoag said. “It never happened. A couple weeks before this signing, she called the manager, and the manager said she could bring them.
“I was worried they would get loose and run amuck in the store, but they were very well-behaved and adorable.”
Several of Hoag’s books feature equestrian life. Though she’s pledged to take the summer off, she is already doing preliminary work on her next book.
“An idea came to me without me really looking for it,” she said. “I’m doing some research now. It’s about a woman who has a traumatic brain injury.”
Hoag is normally a fixture in dressage shows and charity events during the season. While taking the winter off to write, she sent her horses to her trainer’s home in New Jersey for the summer. The separation from her horses, including her Swedish Warmblood Bacchus de Light, was tough for the writer.
“I live in Wellington year-round now,” she said. “This is my fourth summer here. I decided to park myself for a while. I moved into the house a little over a year ago, and I still haven’t unpacked because I’ve been on deadline. I’m horseless over the summer while I get my life settled and straightened out. I miss my horses terribly. I’ll go up there and ride periodically. They’ll be back once I get my life in order.”