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Friday, October 14, 2016

Level Best Books: Author Profile

(This post first appeared on Level Best Book's Facebook page. In preparation for the release of their next anthology, Level Best is highlighting authors with a featured post. Mine is below.)

Today we have author Connie Johnson Hambley who describes how horses and volunteer work shaped her story Giving Voice.

I volunteer at a therapeutic riding center near my home and gained a reputation as not being rattled by any horse or human behavior. Horses are highly intuitive and can sense a person's fear or uncertainty even before the human becomes aware of his or her emotions. This finely honed equine ESP is a primitive survival mechanism that makes them unique partners in behavioral therapy. My role as a horse handler is to focus on the horse to keep the clients safe while enabling the client the greatest latitude to learn.

I was one of a handful of volunteers to receive additional training. Not for handling a horse, but for learning how to interact with new clients. The clients were survivors of human trafficking, and the training shattered my perception of the who, what, where and how of this horrific crime. The women came from small towns in the U.S., not some third world country. They were entrapped in lives we may have seen as they scrubbed offices late at night or cared for babies during the day. The less visible women tended needs and lived lives we don't want to imagine.

But, as a thriller author, my mind goes there. 

I was witness to women regaining a sense of personal power as they learned to interact with an animal ten times their size. I was instructed not to touch the women, as they had been touched far too many times without their consent. I watched as the horses accepted them for who they were in that moment without judgement. I witnessed women learning to accept themselves as beautiful and strong. And they began the long journey of forgiving themselves.

Giving Voice is inspired by each woman, but not based on any one story. It is dedicated to the women of Amirah and the humans and horses of Windrush Farm.

To learn more about Connie Johnson Hambley visit her website at