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Totally Horse Mad by Kathy Helidoniotis - Launch 22/7/2006.

I met Kathy Helidoniotis running a workshop at the NSW Writers Centre. She brought out a young adult novel that she was writing Susanne Gervay launching Totally Horse Madwhich was driven by her own life. I immediately knew that she was a writer. Her style, commitment to writing both as a craft and as a passion impressed me. Rarely do I invite unpublished authors to the Sydney Network of Children's Writers & Illustrators at The Hughenden. I invited Kathy. I knew she would get published. She had the talent and the work ethic.

Kathy instinctively understood that she needed to develop her craft and connect to the writing community. So she joined the NSW Writers' Centre. She entered writing competitions and received a "Commended" for the first one she entered. That's better than I achieved. She began writing for educational publishers. She has written seven books for children before commencing on the road of writing her first major novel - 'Totally Horse Mad'. Through the mentorship programme of the NSW Writers Centre she was lucky to have the talented author and script writer Stephen Measday as her mentor. In addition her special family supported her dream to become an author. This was no easy task with 3 small children to raise as well as working part-time teaching. It's amazing how women can find the time to write, when they are real authors.

As we know all girls are in love with NOT boys, but horses. Kathy is no different. She loves horses, especially her inspirational horse Clarrie. Her love of horses makes Totally Horse Mad such an authentic book. The book is filled with adventure. It is funny, sad, happy and intimately engages readers. 'Totally Horse Mad' is the story of Ashleigh Miller who is given a horse of her own when her family move to the small country town of Shady Creek. Like all good books, there's conflict and challenges. Ashleigh has to find new friends, a new life in the country, be accepted in the riding school before she's happy. And yes she's totally horse mad.

Girls who love horses will love 'Totally Horse Mad'. And this is only the beginning. It's the first book of a series with a new book every three months. Kathy will be working hard. The stunning cover is a fitting tribute to a series that is filled with adventures and friends and horse mad girls.

I have great pleasure in launching the first book in Kathy Helidoniotis' 'Totally Horse Mad' series.


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