A former Rimbey resident has written a fiction novel loosely based on her family, life experiences and horses.
Sara Dudenhoeffer – formerly Sara Steeves, grew up in the Hoadley area and attended elementary and high school in Rimbey before leaving for a higher education in the Red Deer College’s Visual Arts Program.
“All of my life I have been quite creative in many ways, including writing. For as long as I can remember I have been making up and writing stories; even when I was very little. I remember when I was in Grade 2 my teacher would have us write and illustrate little stories and she would ‘publish’ them by laminating them and comb binding them,” Dudenhoeffer said when asked when she first realized she had the creativity and desire to write.
“We had our own little library in our classroom that was filled of books that we wrote and illustrated ourselves. In high school I created my own land called Paragon and I wrote up an entire history of how it was settled by different explorers and the different interesting peoples and animals that they discovered,” she added. “I never actually finished most of the writing projects I started. I didn’t see the point because I never imagined that they would ever be published. But then just over a year ago I landed a freelance job illustrating a novel that had been written by a young girl named Opel Johnson. After helping her through the process of getting her book published, I was inspired to write my own novel and then maybe one day get it published.”
That day has arrived as her first novel, Horse on the Loose, has been published as part of the Pinto Mountain Series.
Based originally on a particular incident that involved herself and her cousin while horseback riding in the mountains, Dudenhoeffer said the plot of the novel took a few twists and turns before the final product, which could include a few more releases.
“The original concept for this book was centered around a particular incident that happened to my cousin when he was riding his horse in the mountains back when we were teenagers. But when I started writing the book it ended up turning into something entirely different,” she said. “The people that the main characters were based on began to fade from the character’s personalities and the characters became their own people and the plot began to change along with them. The original book was going to just be one book and now that one book has turned into a series that will probably consist of about seven books and probably won’t even have anything about that particular incident anywhere in it.”
As for motivation in writing her first novel, the former Rimbey Christian School student said she didn’t have to look very far for inspiration.
“I think my mom is my best teacher/mentor. She is an incredible lady and has been a real inspiration to me. She is an English teacher and so has been able to help me with my essays and other English assignments in high school and in college and has pushed me to do go the extra mile with them,” Dudenhoeffer said. “There have been other people in my life that have been inspiring to me, but my mom is definitely the most important. If it weren’t for my mom and her husband, this book would never have been published.”
It only stands to reason that a girl who grew up in a rural area in central Alberta would gravitate to horses, even though she never actually lived on a farm.
“I never lived on a farm or acreage; my mom and I lived in the town of Rimbey and then later in Bluffton. Growing up, I was your typical horse crazy girl. But unlike many of the horse crazy girls out there, I never grew out of it and I was lucky enough to have a lot of family nearby who did live on farms and did have horses,” she said.
Old friends, family and schoolmates of Dudenhoeffer will be able to meet her and possibly even pick up a signed copy of her book as she will be in Rimbey for a book signing soon.
For more details, see the advertisement in the Classified section of today’s Rimbey Review.