Into the Sunrise, like most novels, is a made-up story. However, three elements of it are not only drawn from real life but inspired me to write the book.
The first element is Linny’s sunset ride on the beach. When I was a young, my family vacationed on Cape Cod for two weeks every summer. At that time public riding stables were allowed to take horseback groups out on National Seashore land (no longer true). Most trail rides were rather boring hour-long shuffles through the dunes, but one stable offered a two-hour sunset ride on the outer beach near the very tip of the Cape. I rode that trail twice—and the first time was a wild galloping adventure that ranks among the high points of my life. The opportunity never came again, and there was no handsome horseman to fall in love with. So I gave both to Linny, thereby allowing myself, and readers, to live the experience vicariously.
The second element is Linny’s ride with the hunt on Opening Day in the Hudson Valley region of New York. This, too, is something I did, some twenty years after the sunset beach ride, and it was almost as crazed as presented in the book. A big difference is that I rode with the non-jumpers, on a rented horse I couldn’t handle. Linny got her dream horse, Midnight, who was my dream-come-true horse back when I went to summer camp, again as a teenager.
I knew Midnight for only two weeks. But he, like the beach ride and Opening Day, indelibly impressed themselves on my mind and heart, so I immortalized them in a story.
At that time I was an artist, not yet a writer. The other day I found an unfinished sketch I did at age fourteen, of Linny and Con riding Shark and Klatawah on the Cape Cod shore.
I also unearthed this illustration from the novella (The Island) I wrote between ages ten and twelve that laid the foundation for Sunrise:
And a woodcut I did in junior high art class, of Shark:
There are more drawings deep in my archives, plus a few that are too big to scan. Whenever I dig them out and make electronic images, I will share them with you.