A Bond Like No Other

A Bond Like No Other

Posted on November 24 by Shelley Peterson in Kids, Recent Releases, Teens
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A girl I went to school with disappeared. Nobody talked about what happened to her, but years later it was revealed that she’d joined a cult. I was intrigued. What exactly is a cult? Why do people join them? Why do they stay? What happens if they try to leave? How do they heal afterward?

In The Jagged Circle, I investigate what might happen to someone like my friend, searching desperately to belong somewhere and to be a part of something. Here, an isolated young girl gets swept up in the romance of belonging to a secret group, and things go very wrong.

In this book, as in my other novels, horses and other animals play important roles in developing the plot. Their intelligence and ability to empathize puts them on an equal footing with humans. And my characters — both human and animal — often feel like outcasts who are forced to deal with huge challenges with very little support.

I’ve heard it said that no creature can read a person’s mind like a horse. Call it psychic, intuitive, reactive, or simply survival adaptation, a horse appears to know what you’re thinking before you do. This surprising quality is possibly why some people are drawn to them, almost magnetically, and what makes them endlessly fascinating. Horses allow us to use their impressive strength and agility in exchange for care and understanding. I feel honoured to live around these noble, practical animals, and to observe and chronicle the many lessons they can teach us.

It’s difficult to imagine a more powerful symbol of strength and intuition than the horse. To learn to harness that power you must learn how to guide their independent spirit. To co-operate with them. To respect and accept them. To earn their trust and to find the confidence in yourself that inspires confidence in the horse. And ultimately, to face your fears and tap into your inner courage.

As an author, I use my life-long knowledge of horses as an entryway into my stories. The common theme throughout is the personal empowerment of young people, as they gain confidence through facing life’s problems head-on, assisted by the almost spiritual nature of the healing power of animals. My novels investigate problems that young people face in their families, at school, with their friends, and within themselves. I try to entertain my readers with adventure and mystery, along with a difficult subject to open up for examination.

"We all need family— if not the one we have, we’ll find another, for better or for worse…"

Shelley Peterson

Posted by Dundurn Guest on July 7, 2015
Shelley Peterson photo

Shelley Peterson

Shelley Peterson is the bestselling author of several novels for young readers, including Sundancer, Christmas at Saddle Creek, and Jockey Girl. She raises horses at Fox Ridge, her family’s stable in Caledon.