Search This Blog

Friday, February 3, 2012

Guest Samantha Grace on the English Thoroughbred

Linda Banche here. My guest today is Samantha Grace and her debut Regency historical, Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. Horses play a large part in her novel, and here she talks about the English Thoroughbred.

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win the copy of Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Samantha will select the winner. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winner within a week of selection, I will award the book to an alternate. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

And the winner Samantha selected is Kitchen Witch of the West! Congratulations, Kitchen Witch, and thanks to all who came over.

Samantha, we're very happy to have you guest, and thank you for your kind words about us. Welcome!

Samantha Grace:
Andrew Forest, youngest son to the Duke of Foxhaven, has two main loves: women and horses. While I’m a member of the fairer sex and consider myself at least somewhat of an expert on my gender, I knew very little about horses when I sat down to write Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. So as not to be buried under a pile of vast research on horses, I chose to focus on one breed, the English Thoroughbred.

In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Oriental horses (aka Arabians, Turks, or Barbs) began to be imported to England. They were outstanding breeds originating from the Middle Eastern Peninsula and North Africa. Known for their stamina, good nature, intelligence, and willingness to form relationships with humans, the Oriental horses had that certain je ne sais quoi breeders were looking for to improve upon England’s native breeds. The result was a type of “super horse” known as the English Thoroughbred*, a horse bred mainly for racing, although they are good jumpers and hunters, too.

The Thoroughbred’s lineage is well-traced in the General Stud Book (only horses entered into the GSB are eligible to compete on licensed race courses in Britain), and all modern Thoroughbreds are descended through three male lines: the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian, & the Byerley or Byerly Turk**.

Although there isn’t much known about the Byerely Turk, this horse still has the most interesting history to me. This stallion was the first of the three sires to come to England, and he belonged to an English officer, Captain Byerely. There is some debate whether the horse was seized during the Battle of Buda in Budapest or the Siege of Vienna, where there is an eyewitness account of three Turks captured in Vienna and a fairly good description of Byerely’s Turk. But the story goes Byerely took the horse from a Turkish officer after the battle was won.

In 1689, Byerely was promoted to Captain and dispatched to Ireland with his war horse to fight in King William’s Wars. Byerely and his horse saw further military service in the Battle of Boyne, and there is an account of the horse’s contribution to that battle. Captain Byerely was so far ahead of the cavalry, surveying the enemy, he was almost captured, but his horse’s speed saved him.

Six years after the Battle of the Boyne, Byerely retired as a Colonel, and his trusty war horse was promoted to the rank of stud. Sounds like a pretty good retirement plan for a horse that proved his mettle in times of war and saved his owner’s life.

* The lowercase form of the word thoroughbred is often used to designate any purebred horse, but technically it only applies to the breed Thoroughbred.

** In the General Stud Book, the Byerley Turk is misspelled as Byerly. The horse’s owner was Captain Byerely.

Excerpt from Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel:
Lana’s horse danced sideways and issued a soft whiney while she clung to the reins.
Lord Andrew urged his horse alongside hers and grasped the bridle. “There, there, girl.” His rich voice soothed the frazzled mare, but sent Lana’s pulse racing again.
Lord Bollrud rode up on Lana’s other side. “Are you all right, Miss Hillary?”
“I’m a bit out of sorts,” she admitted, “but suffer no harm.” Not yet, at least, although her body’s response to Lord Andrew warned of the precarious nature of their continued association.
Lady Gabrielle had stopped her mare in the middle of the path and studied her with a troubled frown.
“Please, let’s continue our ride,” Lana said, not wishing to hamper the younger woman’s enthusiasm.
Two of the gentlemen who’d galloped past a moment earlier doubled back and approached Lady Gabrielle. She smiled sweetly and called out a greeting. The men seemed to take this as encouragement to flank her mount and make introductions.
“Hell’s teeth,” Lord Andrew grumbled.
Lana and her two gentlemen followed behind Lady Gabrielle and her apparent admirers.
For a time, Lord Andrew stared holes into the backs of his sister’s companions, his posture rigid, but as the gentlemen conducted themselves with utmost propriety, he seemed to relax his guard slightly.
Lord Bollrud cleared his throat. “Isn’t the countryside beautiful, Miss Hillary?”
“Very beautiful, my lord.”
“And the weather is perfect for a ride, wouldn’t you agree? The sun shines it’s radiance upon us this fine day.”
Lana kept her eyes trained ahead, attempting to hide her amusement. “Indeed. It is a fine day.”
Lord Andrew chuckled under his breath. “Surely, you are not suggesting the radiance of the sun is any more beautiful than one smile from the charming Miss Hillary.”
When Lana looked in Lord Bollrud’s direction, he winced, as if he experienced a sharp pain in his gullet. “Well, no. Of course not, Miss Hillary. I wasn’t implying— Not even the sun can compare to your… your radiant beauty. I’ve never seen anyone more radiant. Not the sun…even.”
The poor man. He obviously didn’t realize Lord Andrew teased him.
Lana made certain their companion couldn’t see her cross her eyes at Lord Andrew.
“And her eyes,” Lord Andrew gushed. “They shine brighter than the stars in a midnight sky. Wouldn’t you agree, Bollrud?”
“Oh, well. Yes, yes, they do.” Lord Bollrud sounded confused by the direction of the conversation but eager to please. “Miss Hillary’s eyes are quite- um, shiny. I suppose.”
Lord Andrew was being quite incorrigible, mocking the gentleman as he was. Lana playfully stuck out her tongue in his direction.
“And those lips,” Lord Andrew raved. “Ah, lips like—”
Lady Gabrielle glanced over her shoulder and grinned, apparently eavesdropping on their conversation. “Cease your nauseating rhapsody, you besotted ninny. We’re having lunch soon and you’re spoiling my appetite.”
A giggle escaped Lana. The two siblings’ playful exchanges reminded her of the relationship she shared with Jake. A twang of remorse sobered her mood. Her brother had warned her to avoid Lord Andrew, but she hadn’t listened. Perhaps Jake knew her better than she knew herself. One day in Lord Andrew’s presence and she was dangerously close to developing a fondness for the scoundrel.

Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel

Debonair bachelor Lord Andrew Forest lives for pleasure and offers no apologies. But he receives a dose of his own medicine when his family's entrancing houseguest beds him, then disappears without so much as a by-your-leave. He'd like to teach the little vixen a thing or two about how to love and man...if he can find her..


After the dashing man of her dreams is revealed as a lying scoundrel, heiress Lana Hilary is ready to seek a match with a respectable gentleman—if only they weren’t so dreadfully boring. Unable to rein in her bold nature for long, Lana flirts with trouble and finds herself entangled with exactly the type of man she's vowed to avoid.

About the Author
Samantha Grace
This is Samantha Grace's debut as a Regency romance author. She is happily writing her next book and loves blogging with fellow authors at Lady Scribes. Samantha married her best friend, strives to stay one step ahead of their two precocious offspring, and lives in Onalaska, Wisconsin.


Linda Banche said...

Hi Samantha, and welcome.

Let's see now..."super horse", "promoted to stud". Sounds like a great life for a horse. Or maybe for a rakish hero. *g*

Karen H in NC said...

Hi Samantha,

Nice to meet you and congratulations on the release of your debut novel. favorite time period! Your book sounds like a good's going on my BTB list as we speak.

This is a strange question dealing with a subject I've always wondered about: While writing dialog between characters, do you just 'think' what is being said or do you actually 'speak' the character's parts out loud to hear how it sounds as its being written?

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Samantha Grace said...


Thanks for having me here today!

LOL. I think Drew would be very happy being thought of as a "super horse" & stud. :D

Samantha Grace said...


Hi! It's nice to meet you, too.

I think your question is interesting. When I write dialog, I hear it in my head. Later I speak the parts aloud to see if the rhythm feels right. Sometimes I'll even use my iPhone to record the passage and listen to it.

Ava Stone said...

Very interesting information, Samantha! The book looks amazing. Good luck with your release. :)

Lauren said...

ooh this sounds like such a good book. I love the cover art especially. Can't wait to read it!

Diane D - Florida said...

Hi Samantha,

Many thanks for such an interesting interview and awesome excerpt from "Miss Hillary Schools A Scoundrel ". I adore Historical Romance novels and being swept back to another time and place. A place where people lived laughed and loved and were finding their way to each other. I love to attend the balls with them, and imagine that the handsome hero is asking me for a waltz and also if he can call on me the next morning.

I really appreciate all the research that an Author does to make our reading experience more authentic and enjoyable.

Congratulations on your debut as a Regency Romance Author.

dpd333 (at) aol dot com

Samantha Grace said...

Thank you, Ava! And thanks for stopping by to say hi. :)

Samantha Grace said...

Thanks, Lauren! I have you in the drawing. Good luck!

Samantha Grace said...

Thank you, Diane! You did a beautiful job of summing up what I love about historical romance, too. I want to be swept away. So glad you stopped by.

catslady said...

Oh, I love debut books. There is just something about firsts! Horses are such glorious animals (and maybe that can be said of your hero too lol) and as a young girl I have dreamed of both! I may have given up on the dream of owning a horse but not on having a hero! I enjoyed the excerpt and would love to read more.

Aileen Fish said...

Research is my favorite part of writing! I'm so excited to see this book come out. I've pre-ordered for my Kindle and can't wait to get the notice it's "live"!

Samantha Grace said...


Horses are amazing, aren't they? So beautiful and powerful. Drew says he's perfectly fine with having the same adjectives applied to him. ;D

Thanks for coming by today!

Samantha Grace said...

Thanks, Aileen! It's only four more days! Squee!!!!

Kitchen Witch of the West said...

Oh delicious!! The heroes usually do take second place to an amazing horse...


Olivia Kelly said...

I'm so excited for this book to hit the shelves. I plan to Tweet me, standing in a bookstore, holding it- and it's not even mine, haha! Really happy for you, and can't wait to read it. :)

desitheblonde said...

wow another horse i seen the mvvie
war horse and it was great and your book sound great and i think it will
do great and then i love the cover of the book and it stand out yore release hope it will go to the top for you

Louisa Cornell said...

Samantha, I am so looking forward to reading your debut!

Fascinating information about the English thoroughbred. I think you know I lived in England for three years when I was a child. My first "job" was as an exercise "boy" for the local squire who raised English thoroughbreds. At the age of nine I was perfect for the job - small, horse crazy and peculiarly strong for my age. Basically all I did was hang on and steer. It was LOADS of fun!

Your excerpts are fabulous! And you KNOW how much I love that cover!

Grace Burrowes said...

Somebody asked GaWani Pony Boy how he could write a book, "Of Women and Horses" when he was neither. His reply was that he adored both and had made a lifelong study of them (maybe there's some Foxhaven blood in his veins, or just male blood?). It's a great book, and I'm sure you're is too.

I love a good horse book, Samantha, and applaud you for taking on the horse research. I read somewhere the most recent theory regarding the Byerly Turk is that he was an Akel Teke, which is a very distinctive beast.

Samantha Grace said...

Kitchen Witch of the West,

I love your screen name! LOL
I'm adding you to the drawing. Thanks for flying by. ;D

Samantha Grace said...


Thank you! Having friends who are excited too makes this experience even better. Hugs!

Samantha Grace said...


Thank you so much! That is probably one of the sweetest best wishes I've received.

I would like to see War Horse. It looks really good.

Samantha Grace said...


You have lived one of the most amazing lives. We didn't have much time to talk in NYC, but next time we cross paths, I want to sit down and hear some of your wonderful stories in person.

Thanks for being such a great support and awesome source of information. You are a research queen!

Samantha Grace said...

Thank you, Grace!

I'm still in leading strings when it comes to research, but I'm fortunate to have access to the experts. I wish I could take credit for writing a good horse book, but it's just a small detail about the hero's personality. :)

Interesting theory about the Byerly Turk. You've made me curious now.

Tracey Devlyn said...

Hi Samantha!

I already have my copy and am looking forward to reading it. Just wanted to say hello and wish you well on your tour!

Anonymous said...

Hi Samantha I have to admit I am not familiar with horses but I love stories about horse for example black beauty. Love it that you put horse stories in your debut, cheers

Robin said...

This looks like a great book!

Meljprincess said...

Hello Samantha,
I love horses so I really enjoyed your post. When my hubby retires from the Navy we want to buy a home and property so we can have horses. I want a paint. But a English Thoroughbred would be welcome too. :-)
I also enjoyed your excerpt and look forward to reading the entire book.
Thank you, Linda, for introducing me to new authors. I love historical romance!

Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

Christy said...

Hi Samantha, Thanks for sharing the history of the English Thoroughbred. Your book sounds great and I love that cover. christina_92 at

Samantha Grace said...

Thanks for stopping by, Tracey! It's always great to see you. :)

I'm looking forward to your release, too!

Samantha Grace said...

Thank you, Aretha! I love horse stories, too.

I just want to be clear that my book is not a horse story, and horses aren't a huge element. I would hate for anyone to be disappointed thinking they're getting a book about horses. But if you love romance, a feisty heroine, and a bit of intrigue, Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel is for you. :)

Samantha Grace said...

Thank you, Robin! I really appreciate you stopping by. :)

Samantha Grace said...

Hi, Meljpricess.

That sounds like a lovely plan! I'm picturing beautiful green pastures and blue skies. (I love the outdoors.)

Thank you for sharing your dream with us. :)

Samantha Grace said...

Thanks, Christy!

I love the cover, too. It was great inspiration while I was working on revisions. :)

Cathy P said...

Hi Samantha! Congrats on your debut as a Regency author! Your information about the English Thoroughbred and Byerley's Turk were very interesting. MISS HILLARY SCHOOLS A SCOUNDREL sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway!