I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, in an old Victorian house filled with books. My mother, Ruth Sanderson, is a children's book illustrator, and our bookshelves at home were always overflowing onto nearby surfaces, while the walls were covered with paintings that brought fairy tales and classic nursery rhymes to life. When I was very young, my favorite books had animal heroes, like Cross-Country Cat and Good Dog, Carl. When I was enough to read on my own, I loved horse books like The Black Stallion and The Saddle Club series, as well as fantasy stories like The Chronicles of Narnia and historical fiction like the Dear America series.

 

I started riding horses around age 6, and when I was 13 I got a chestnut snowflake Appaloosa, Thor, who I showed in 4-H and local shows for many years, although his favorite activity was always trail riding. My experience with horses led to the opportunity to write my first book, Horse Diaries: Golden Sun. The story was about an Appaloosa horse who befriends a Nez Perce boy in 1790, and I was able to write several more books for the series over the years. They were a lot of fun to write, and taught me how much research can be needed for even a seemingly simple story. The summer after I finished college, I volunteered at a Little Brook Farm, a horse rescue organization in Old Chatham, NY, and I wrote another book, Horse Rescue: Treasure, based on one of the ponies at the farm.

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I knew that I wanted to keep writing, but I also wanted to continue studying psychology, and I got my master's degree from Bridgewater State University. But after working as a mental health counselor, I began to miss books and publishing. I found a job as a publicist and editor for an independent publisher in Northampton, Massachusetts, where I worked with their wonderful novels, children's books, and international cookbooks for several years before becoming a full-time writer and editor. I'm now often found scribbling in a coffee-ringed notebook in a local cafe (usually one that serves maple lattes), or at home in front of my laptop under the watchful eyes of my "managing editors," Mocha and Myrrh (who also happen to be cats). 

   Whitney Sanderson