Actress & Author Christy Cashman's The Truth About Horses
Photo Courtesy: Michael Blanchard

Actress & Author Christy Cashman’s The Truth About Horses

By: Pauline Shade

From the silver screen to literary triumph: actress, producer, and owner of Ireland’s Kilkea Castle, Christy Cashman, has released her debut novel, The Truth About Horses. This summer, Cashman will join the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Jay Mclnerney and Katie Couric as a selected writer at the East Hampton Library’s 20th Annual Authors Night, taking place on Saturday, August 10, 2024.

Despite having appeared in more than 20 Hollywood movies, including Ted 2, American Hustle and The Golden Boys, and publishing two children’s books, Cashman felt trepidation about becoming a novelist. “I don’t think I had the confidence earlier; my life was going in a lot of different directions. I was producing films, and my kids were younger.” With the story long gestating in her mind and her children now young adults, she finally decided to eschew other projects and concentrate on writing.

She need not have worried; reviews have been positive. No less than Joyce Carol Oates, the National Book Award-winning novelist, described it as “irresistibly readable… a book that plunges us into a beautifully evoked rural world in which horses are both magnificent beasts requiring human love and devotion, and iconic creatures out of mythology.” 

Magical realism

Christy Cashman's The Truth About Horses
Photo Courtesy: Michael Blanchard

While Cashman has a lifelong love of horses, like Reese, the book’s young protagonist, the story does not reflect her real, fairytale-like life at all. The Truth About Horses tells the story of a young woman whose fierce spirit and determination guide her in facing adversity and life’s unexpected challenges, framed by the extraordinary bond between humans and their equine companions. Reese’s mystical encounters with a herd of wild horses led by a mysterious black stallion led to the book’s setting in South Dakota. 

“I wanted it to be in a place where you actually might see wild horses,” Cashman said. “Somewhere in middle America felt right for the story, also because of the wild horses and what the land and the environment look like there.” 

Started as a Screenplay

Cashman took some writing classes to hone her skills but originally planned to write a treatment that could be developed into a screenplay. In the process, she found the main character’s voice, which came across much more in long form as a novel. “Once I started writing, this voice luckily came to me and was very clear. Her voice was probably the easiest part of the process because once I had her voice, I was able to tell the story, I think, in a convincing way.” 

The book’s magical realism also came naturally. “Once I had my vision of the wild horses, I knew that I wanted it to be… almost like a leitmotif in a song, a recurring theme,” Cashman shared from her home in Boston in early December, during a short break in her 60-stop book tour. She was headed to Miami the next day for an appearance at Books & Books during Art Basel, and later that month, would be back in her hometown at a bookstore in Chatham, MA, and to read The Night Before Christmas at the Boston Pops.

Now, she and actress Jane Seymour are working together to develop the story into a TV series. 

YOUthink Retreats

Cashman also recently launched YOUthink Creative Wellness Retreats. “We provide a spiritual, creative, and physical oasis for each guest,” she explained. “You’ll enjoy a nurturing, intellectual and emotional journey through quiet reflection, inspiring programs, and exhilarating activities led by some of the very best in the wellness and creative industries.” Her next retreat will take place at Harbor View Hotel and Misty Meadows Equine Center in Martha’s Vineyard this fall, from October 3rd-6th. The establishing event took place at her very own 12th castle. 

A real-life fairytale

So how did Cashman come to own an Irish castle? She was living in New York and her horseback riding group went annually to Ireland. “I tagged along one year, and then they couldn’t get rid of me,” she joked. After meeting her now-husband, Jay, he asked her to visit him in Boston, and Cashman told him she was heading to Ireland to ride the following week.

He replied that since he’s half Irish, he’d join her and invited himself along. “I said, ‘I’m going to be riding every single day and gone all day long. What are you going to do’? And he said, ‘I’m going to look for a castle.’”

Thereafter, they went every year, even after they’d married and had children, and she rode, and he looked at property. “And then, 20 some years later, he truly bought a castle.” Kilkea, which dates to 1180, had been abandoned for a number of years. They bought it in 2012, began renovations in 2016, and opened it as a resort hotel in 2018. “It was fast and furious, and then it’s just been a constant renovation project. Now we’re renovating yet again.”

Published by: Nelly Chavez

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