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Interview: Amanda Wilson talks about Showtym Viking



Amanda Wilson is one of New Zealand’s top showjumping riders, having won and placed in many national titles including Pony of the Year and Horse of the Year. With her sisters Vicki and Kelly, Amanda starred in the hit-rating TV series, Keeping Up with the Kaimanawas, following their work taming New Zealand’s wild Kaimanawa horses, and also travelled to America and Australia to rescue and tame wild horses. Her life with horses features in her sister Kelly Wilson's bestselling books For the Love of Horses, Stallion Challenges, Mustang Ride and Saving the Snowy Brumbies, a children’s picture book Ranger the Kaimanawa Stallion and the junior chapter-book series Showtym Adventures. With Kelly, Amanda has co-written a middle-grade novel, Showtym Viking. Amanda talks to NZ Booklovers


Tell us a little about your novel.

Showtym Viking is the true story of my young pinto pony Showtym Viking, who I purchased in my last season competing on ponies. It shares the highs and lows of the sport as we move up the Pony Grand Prix leaderboard, culminating in the most prestegious pony class in the Southern Hemisphere, the Pony of the Year.


What inspired you to write this book?

We wanted to share Viking’s incredible story as his rags-to-riches story is so inspiring. To go from learning to jump, to jumping his first Grand Prix class just seven weeks later, then winning some of New Zealand’s biggest showjumping titles made him a one-in-a-billion pony and also highlights the incredible bond that is possible between horse and rider.


What was your routine or process when writing this book?

I spent the winter of 2021 writing the first draft (since I knew Viking’s story the best) then my sister Kelly, who now has 17 books published, helped me through the editing stage over the months that followed.


If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.

Stand up for the Champions for sure, since that is the music that was played during our victory lap at the Horse of the Year show and National Showjumping Championships when Showtym Viking and I won our title classes.


If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters?

Hmm… that’s a hard one! We aren’t too familiar with younger actresses but how cool would a movie be! I’d love someone like Lisa Chappell to play our mum!


What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?

It was very special reliving such amazing memories, especially in the chapters about Whananki trek, Viking’s first Grand Prix win, and of course the Pony of the Year class! They such incredible memories!


What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?

Amanda booked a plane ticket for Viking to fly back from Denmark (where he has been living for six years, competing against the best ponies in the world), so he could live out his days on our farm and have the retirement he deserves.


What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

Does Showtym Viking count?! It was pretty special seeing the finished book arrive in the post for the first time and then read it again in it’s finished format. It’s extra special for me, as it’s my first first published book!


What’s next on the agenda for you?

Kelly and I are both writing more books, and we have been very busy working with wild stallions from this years Kaimanawa muster!


Penguin