Today, Lori is interviewing Courtney Maum. They’ll be talking about honesty in memoir and her book The Year of the Horses.
Have you signed up to be a DIY MFA Radio Insider yet? This is an exciting new monthly newsletter especially for our podcast listeners. Every month, you’ll get an email from our podcast producer with recaps of the most recent episodes, a curated Listening List of episodes on a particular theme, and other fun goodies we only share via email. Best of all, it’s free to join! The theme for February is Crafting a Series, and you can become an insider by signing up with your email at diymfa.com/insiders.
In this episode Courtney Maum and Lori discuss:
- The challenges of getting to the absolute truth in nonfiction.
- How her copy editing career affects her creative endeavors.
- Using frustration as her muse.
Plus, her #1 tip for writers.
About Courtney Maum
Author of five books, including the game changing publishing guide Before and After the Book Deal and the memoir, The Year of the Horses, (chosen by The Today Show as the best read for mental health awareness), Courtney is a writer and book coach hellbent on preserving the joy of art-making in a culture obsessed with turning artists into brands.
A nominee for the Joyce Carol Oates prize and the host of the monthly “Beyond Fiction” conversation series at Edith Wharton’s The Mount, Courtney’s essays and articles on creativity have been widely published in outlets like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, and her short story This is Not Your Fault was recently turned into an Audible Original.
A frequent interviewer of high-profile writers such as Anne Perry, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Edouard Louis, Courtney is also the founder of the learning collaborative, The Cabins. You can sign up for her publishing newsletter and enroll in her online writing classes at CourtneyMaum.com, or follow her on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Substack. She’s happy to be here.
The Year of the Horses
Sharp, heartfelt, and cathartic, The Year of the Horses captures a woman’s journey out of depression and the horses that guide her, physically and emotionally, on a new path forward.
At the age of thirty-seven, Courtney Maum finds herself in an indoor arena in Connecticut, moments away from stepping back into the saddle. For her, this is not just a riding lesson, but a last-ditch attempt to pull herself back from the brink even though riding is a relic from the past she walked away from. She hasn’t been on or near a horse in over thirty years.
Although Maum does know what depression looks like, she finds herself refusing to admit, at this point in her life, that it could look like her: a woman with a privileged past, a mortgage, a husband, a healthy child, and a published novel. That she feels sadness is undeniable, but she feels no right to claim it. And when both therapy and medication fail, Courtney returns to her childhood passion of horseback riding as a way to recover the joy and fearlessness she once had access to as a young girl. As she finds her way, once again, through the world of contemporary horseback riding―Courtney becomes reacquainted with herself not only as a rider but as a mother, wife, daughter, writer, and woman. Alternating timelines and braided with historical portraits of women and horses alongside history’s attempts to tame both parties, The Year of the Horses is an inspiring love letter to the power of animals―and humans―to heal the mind and the heart.
If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link where, if you choose to purchase via the link, DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!
Link to Episode 449
(Right-click to download.)
If you liked this episode…
Head over to iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, or Google and subscribe so you’ll be first to know when new episodes are available.
Also, remember that sharing is caring so if you know anyone who might enjoy this podcast, please tell them about it or leave us a review so other listeners will want to check it out.
Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!