Equisearch: Thank you for joining our live chat with Laura Hillenbrand, author of the betstselling book Seabiscuit: An American Legend, sponsored by JeffersEquine.com.
Kalina: Hello, Laura, aloha from Hawaii!
pasonotti: Howdy from Texas, Laura!
Laura: Hi everyone. Welcome and thank you for coming.
gabjones: Hello from Southern Pines, NC!!
theking: Hello Laura. Hola desde Puerto Rico.
Equisearch: Please feel free to begin asking questions at any time.
Cyberfinge: Hello from Pennsylvania.
RiggsGC: . . . and Colorado!
pasonotti: Have you ever had horses of your own?
Laura: Yes, I grew up with horses. My family had a farm and took in horses that other people didn't want.
ruffian1: How is your health these days? We all think you are remarkable! Laura: Thank you! My health is iffy. I'm doing moderately well, considering how busy I am. But I need a vacation!
gabjones: Laura, why were you interested in writing a book about Seabiscuit?
Laura: I felt that I had come across the greatest underdog story in American sports history. It was a largely untold story. That was my principal reason for writing this book.
gabjones: How did you "come across" it?
Laura: In 1996 I was looking through some racing documents when I came across some information about the men around Seabiscuit. I became intrigued.
reefynaz: On one of your recent interviews you mentioned that as a little girl you dreamt of Seabiscuit. That's a nice dream!
Laura: Yes it was. I remember it well!
reefynaz: Had you heard of him as a child? That's just so neat!
Laura: When I was 7 I read a children's book called Come On Seabiscuit.
pasonotti: Are you pleased with the outcome of the movie, or did they take too many liberties with your book?
Laura: I am very happy with it. Gary Ross, the director/screenwriter, was very faithful to his subjects. I think people who loved my book will love the movie.
pasonotti: That is great!
theking: Laura, does it takes a lot of time to write a book such as Seabiscuit?
Laura: It took me four years to write Seabiscuit. It was immensely hard work, but very enjoyable work.
equineldy1: I didn't realize it took so long!
Kalina: Maybe you should come to Hawaii. Did you have the opportunity to approve the book jacket?
Laura: I was initially unhappy with the publisher's choice of jacket covers, but we were trying to appeal to a general audience and to stress that this was a story about people. To exclude the horse's head I think we were able to attract readers who would have been turned off by a horse story.
pasonotti: The cover on the book I have shows half the head.
Kalina: I have not finished the book yet, but saw the movie. I thought the actors were great. I thought the cover should have the horse's head; it's as much about the horse as the people in it...
pasonotti: You should come to Texas and write a book about my Paso Fino. LOL
Cyberfinge: Did you have much input into the movie?
Laura: Yes I did have input in the movie. I was a consultant. In the year in which Gary Ross was writing the screenplay he and I were on the phone almost constantly. We discussed the story as well as casting.
Tucker1: Are there other horses and their stories that inspire you?
Laura: A lot of horses inspire me. I have a lot of favorites, including Dr. Fager, Alysheba and Easy Goer.
pasonotti: Do you like the actors they chose for the roles?
Laura: Regarding the casting, I thought it was perfect.
simon: Did you have any idea that your book would become such a blockbuster and become a movie?
Laura: I knew it would become a movie because I sold the movie rights before I wrote the book. But I had no idea that it would be the success that it has been. RiggsGC: Hats off to your persistence!!
theking: thanxxx laura
Tucker1: Did you have a contract to write the book before you undertook the 4-yr project?
Laura: Yes, I did have a contract.
pasonotti: Is this your first book?
Laura: Yes, it is.
railbirdie: Laura, do you ever think that racing can be as popular as it once was? If not, why not?
Laura: Racing is growing rapidly in popularity. I don't think it will ever enjoy the popularity it had in the 1930s. There are many more professional sports today than there were then. But I think racing's future is rosy.
jpv: Hi Laura,I'm Pete from Canada, I own a race horse and I can't wait to see Seabiscuit...are you planning to write another book...say on John Henry??
Laura: jpv, if my health allows, I will write another book. My next book will probably not be about a horse topic.
pasonotti: Oh poo! We horse folks thirst for more horse stories.
Cyberfinge: Will you be out signing your book? If so, do you have a website that lists your schedule?
Laura: I don't have any upcoming signings. I do have a website. It is http://www.seabiscuitonline.com. All of my appearances are listed there.
ruffian1: Will you be appearing at any premieres?
Laura: I have appeared at some screenings in Washington, D.C. The only remaining screening on my schedule is a private fundraiser.
gabjones: Laura, what do you think of today's horseracing industry?
Laura: The racing industry is doing pretty well financially and it has a great product. I am optimistic about its future.
LilAbbyLou:] Laura, I have to tell you: My friend and I bought your book at the airport. She never reads, but read your book in no time flat.
theking: Did you know anything about horses before writing the Seabiscuit story that gave you a hint on how things really are when talking about horse business?
Laura: I had written about the horse industry and racing for 10 years prior to starting my book. I have also been around racetracks since I was a kid.
theking: I hope you can reach all your goals on a timely basis and wish you luck and good health as well!!!!
Kalina: Laura, my father used to talk about Seabiscuit, and named one of our horses after him, calling him The Biscuit. I don't think anyone could have played that part better than Jeff Bridges did, he was just outstanding.
Laura: Kalina, I agree about Jeff! He researched the part with me very extensively, and I thought he was perfect in the film.
ruffian1: Are you still writing for EQUUS? I remember seeing your byline there over the years.
Laura: Since my book came out I have only written one or two pieces for EQUUS. I have not had the time, but I will write more for them in the future.
equineldy1: I would love to see a story on Secretariat--you would be wonderful at that, too!!
Kalina: I think so too...