Judy Waite is one of four children, and loved dogs and horses as a child, so much so that she would go to the local park and rescue any dog she found wandering alone, and would take it home and present it to her mother. She would, she said, have done the same with horses if she could have got away with it. She wrote frantically too, and her mother still has many of the magazines she created, which Judy still uses occasionally when she goes into schools.
She started writing when her children were small, using a junk shop typewriter, but has now progressed to a computer. Her books have covered most age ranges, from picture books to teenage novels. Now she teaches creative writing to MA students at University College, Winchester, though she says on her website that writing is 'just about rolling your sleeves up and getting on with it.'
Her Horse Healer series she describes as 'A set of books for 9-12 year old readers about a gypsy boy with a gift for healing horses. Although these are about horses, I hope they are gritty enough and cover enough themes, to make them appeal firstly to boys as well as girls (particularly those boys who might turn their noses up at the idea of horse stories) and secondly to readers who don't even particularly like horses.' (Wordpool interview)
The books are unusual in featuring a boy, and particularly a gypsy who is portrayed positively: historically gypsies have been the villains in pony literature, there only to steal the heroine’s pony.
The Horse Healer Series
Finding the book
None of the books are still in print, but all are easy to find.
Sources and links
Judy Waite’s website
An interview with Judy Waite (Wordpool site; no longer available)
Biographical information from the OUP website (no longer available)
Judy Waite’s research interests at the University of Winchester
Thanks to Hannah Fleetwood for all her help with photographs and blurbs.