Monday Spotlight: Sandy James


My husband and I own a small stable of harness racehorses. Buying our first horse was his mid-life crisis, and I greatly preferred having a racehorse to a red sports car or a Harley-Davidson. And it wasn’t as if I’d let him have a trophy wife. These beautiful animals have added so much to our lives, and we spend quite a bit of time at the Indiana racetracks.

Horses in general are very smart animals. Racehorses are even more so because they’re working animals who need to learn tasks quickly. When I started writing Murphy’s Law, I realized the animals in the story were characters just as important as the humans. By the time I ended the story, I felt as much of an emotional connection to Katie and Seth’s horses as I did to any of the secondary characters. I even brought back both Spun Gold and Monterey Jack when the Damaged Heroes series returned to the track in the third book, All the Right Reasons.

My favorite horse will always be Heart’s Prince. He’s the model for Spun Gold in Murphy’s Law. Prince was the first horse we ever had bred. His mother needed to retire from racing, but she was one of the toughest competitors we ever owned. We hoped she’d pass that desire to be the best along in the bloodline. Prince has turned out to be one of our most consistent performers. His mother truly gave her colt her racing heart. Unlike Spun Gold, Prince didn’t do well in his two-year-old season. Being as he was born rather late in the season, that wasn’t a surprise. But we were worried about whether he would race better when he turned three. He didn’t let us down. He made it to the winner’s circle a few times, and he consistently earned checks and seemed to like to be second most often. Prince made us proud.


  1. Ha, my husband had a mid-life crisis and started acquiring appliances. A gigantic BBQ, a commercial deep fryer and griddle. We’re like a freaking drive-thru for the teens and their friends. Do you have any idea how many Buffalo Wings a couple 17 yo’s can gobble? It’s costing us a fortune.

    I’d have preferred the Harley. =)

    I think it’s great you and your husband get so much from the horses, and your passion for it really shines through in your books, Sandy!

  2. Hey Sandy!
    Yep, horses are the way to go if you’re going to do a mid-life crisis 🙂

    Murhpy’s Law is an outstanding read!

  3. I love learning new things and horses are one of them. It’s so wonderful you are able to write your life details into your books.

  4. Hi Sandy!

    Love the name Heart’s Prince. When I showed livestock (okay I’ll admit I showed sheep for ten years), all my show animals were named after Kentucky Derby entrants. I never told the sheep they were named after racehorses. I didn’t want to hurt their egos! 😉

  5. Hmm, I wonder what my husband will start buying when he has his mid-life crisis.Somehow, I doubt it will be horses, nor do I think it will be appliances! I’ll keep you posted…(well, at least I think I will!!)

    Horses, horses, horses… Oh, I’ve always loved horses. When I was a little girl, I used to cry because I couldn’t have a horse. When I was thirteen years old, my mother told me I was going to have another baby sister (I already had one sister and a brother). I rolled my eyes and said I’d rather have a horse! Of course, when my sister Victoria was born, it was wonderful. Would have been even more wonderful if she’d brought me a horse…

    Anyway, so far, I’ve been lucky to enough to own four horses. My current horse, Kwintus, is… well, I love him! He’s the ultimate dressage school master, has the sweetest, most easy-going personality, and he’s also absolutely gorgeous. His previous owner had nick-named him John Wayne, but my daughter and I call him George Clooney. He’s got the same kind of easy-going, debonair charm as George, not to mention the looks. There are photos of Kwintus on my website, in case you’d like to see George Clooney’s equine equivalent!

    Sandy, I’m so looking forward to your book coming out in print. I know I’m going to love it.

    xx Francesca

  6. Lainey–Those crises can be a bit…expensive. Sounds like you need to print up a menu and start “Lainey’s Place” as the local haunt. 🙂

  7. Hi, Ellen! So glad you liked Murphy’s Law! Horses are a sight better than a lot of choices middle-aged men make. 🙂

  8. Glad you stopped by, Danielle! I wrote Murphy’s Law to “teach” about racing, and I hope my love for the sport comes through. 🙂

  9. Celesta — Too funny!! I can’t imagine how people would crack up when they asked your sheep’s name and you told them, “Secretariat”! 🙂

  10. Hi, Cesca!! George Clooney, huh? Must be REALLY gorgeous. 😉 And you’re in luck! I have FOUR books in print now! Murphy’s Law, Free Falling, All the Right Reasons, and Turning Thirty-Twelve all hit print this week! There are links on my webpage for both Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

  11. I agree, Sandy. Racehorses are a good alternative for a mid-life crisis. Like you, I refuse to share my hubby with any filly, but the 4 legged variety. lol

  12. Sandra, you crack me up! I’ll gladly take racehorses as well. 🙂

  13. Hi Sandy

    Sorry to come by late – I’ve been away and just catching up on everything.

    I’ve loved horses for as long as I can remmember and saved up for five years my first horse, Flikka. I now have a sweet black Welsh Cob, Pentrepiod Sovereign (known as Harry), and a paint/ Quarterhorse with attitude called Flying T’pau. I love them both dearly. My hubby wasn’t allowed to choose his mid-life crisis – he’s become a horse-person by marriage! LOL

  14. Hi, Hywela! My first horse was a quarter horse — beautiful buckskin.
    I’m glad the hubby chose horses. Until we started racing, I hadn’t realized how much I missed being around them.

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