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My work was entirely nonfiction.
My agent and I put out my proposal one Thursday afternoon in August, 1998. Publishers started bidding immediately, and that process progressed for a few days.
It only worked for a little while; the morning after I agreed to go with Universal, an article came out in the Hollywood trade papers, and the secret was out.
In terms of writing about horses, I fell backwards into that. I was intent on getting a Ph.D., becoming a professor, and writing on history but I got sick 14 years ago when I was 19. Getting sick derailed that plan completely.
I was starstruck and completely confused; making a film of this story hadn't even occurred to me, and I hadn't written a single line of the book yet. I had no idea how this man knew anything about my book proposal.
I think if I had been writing fiction, where the work is entirely dependent on the writer's creativity and the potential directions the narrative might take are infinite, I might have frozen.
I think authors can get into trouble viewing the subject matter as their turf.
I spoke to my agent and learned that a Hollywood scout had seen my proposal in one of the publishing houses, and had faxed it to Hollywood, where it was generating a lot of interest.
I look at the film as an opportunity to see some bountifully creative minds do something that I could not do - tell the story with images. I can't wait to see what they do.
I lived for four years in the 1930s with these individuals and the only time that I wasn't thinking about dealing with physical suffering is when I was working on this book. I've never been more alive as when I worked on this book.
I identified in a very deep way with the individuals I was writing about because the theme that runs through this story is of extraordinary hardship and the will to overcome it.
I have vertigo. Vertigo makes it feel like the floor is pitching up and down. Things seem to be spinning. It's like standing on the deck of a ship in really high seas.
I had been writing professionally since 1988.
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