Summer Dreams by Heather Schultz

We all have been through the teenage years, and some of us are even living through them currently with our own children. The ups and downs can be very trying, and I think we all remember trying to "identify" ourselves in some way. Summer has tried many different activities but usually after a short time she gives up saying they just aren't for her. So when she decides to take up horse riding her parents think this will be just another "fad" and she will soon to be on to something else.

8 months later, Summer is more in love with horses and her riding lessons than ever! She has been pestering her parents about getting her own horse and spends every available second at "the barn" where her lessons take place. When her trainor tells her there are 2 horses for sale at a nearby ranch, Summer jumps at the opportunity to take a look at them.

When Summer lays eyes on Shamu (later to be named Peanut) it is love at first site. It is evident that he has been mistreated by his current owner, but is nothing but gentle and calm with Summer, it is like they were made for each other. With a little convincing her parents decide to let her get him, and their new life together begins.

They are almost effortless together in every aspect, from riding bareback to doing jumps. They do so well that Summer is encouraged to enter into competitions, in which she does extremely well, placing in every event she enters. Her and Peanut seem to be made for each other, and besides Tiffany, he is her best friend. She enjoys nothing more than spending time with him and her friends at the barn. Summer's world is about to come crashing down around her when a tragedy pushes her to the limits of her emotions, and makes her wonder if she will ever get past not saying goodbye.

Having never been on a horse, I really enjoyed how the author made you feel like you were there and explained things in layman's terms. It really made me understand more about these amazing animals and gave me a new insight into the equestrian world.

Questions for the author:

Do you have any projects in the works?
Yes, I am currently working on the sequel to Summer Dreams, which will be entitled A Mystery for Summer. This book picks up where Summer Dreams leaves off. A Mystery for Summer is just that - a mystery the whole way though. One may wonder how the same characters could be the subjects of this book since Summer Dreams ended the way it did. Well, that is one of the mysteries that will unfold early on in the book. Summer, Tiffany, Frizbee and, yes, even Peanut continue their adventures together the way they never thought possible. When the girls come across a gift for Summer, they have no idea the magical powers it holds or the unbelievable adventures they are about to embark on.

What made you decide to write a book about teens?
Summer Dreams is based on actual events that occurred in my life as a tween. I decided to write this book and share my story because of the impact these events had on my life. I know that all tweens face difficult situations in their lives, some more than others, but certainly all are faced with some sort of disappointment or sorrow at one time or another. My hope was that Summer Dreams would show that while there are wonderful things that happen in life, there are also things that we don’t necessarily like to face or experience, but we do, and that’s all part of living. I learned that it’s not only important to have good friends, but also how important is it to be a good friend to others and to be thankful for the things that we are blessed with including our family. I also wanted to convey that it is important to work for the things we have in life rather than expect to have everything given to us…we tend to appreciate things more when we actually put forth an effort to achieve them. I think it is so important to have good, wholesome reading material for our tweens who are faced with so many difficult decisions and stress these days…a nice little get away is what I wanted to create for them.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
A favorite book of mine is Same Kind of Different As Me." For me, this book taught me that things aren’t always as they seem from the outside and that people come from all different situations in life. It made me really think about how important it is to treat all people with respect and to never give up on anyone. You never know when the most unlikely person could turn out to be that one person you need most in life…or maybe you are the person they need in theirs. It’s nice to have the opportunity to be able to make a difference in someone’s life or to lift them up through a trying time or just to be there to share in their accomplishments and triumphs. We all need people in our lives and you just never know where or when you will find the most important ones.

Favorite author and/or book?
I still love horseback riding and enjoy just about any outdoor activity. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family no matter what we are doing. One of my favorite things to do is read to my daughter. I don’t know if you could call it a hobby or not, but watching and helping my daughter find her way through childhood is one of the things I enjoy most in life.