Bowie Author Nominated for Two Writing Awards
Bowie native and naval veteran Valerie Ormond has been nominated for two awards by the Military Writers of America.
Bowie native Valerie Ormond fell in love with horses when she was 3-years-old, after a mounted police officer at the National Cherry Blossom Festival gave her her first horse ride.
“He put me on that horse and that was it,” said Ormond.
Decades later, after a 25-year career in naval intelligence that took her around the globe, Ormond is back in Bowie and her young adult novel, Believing in Horses, has been nominated for two national awards.
Believing in Horses tells the story of horse-crazy Sadie, a little girl who moves to Bowie with her family only to find out that her Dad is being deployed for a year. To ease her transition, her parents buy her a horse, Lucky. Sadie then learns of several horses being auctioned off and makes it her mission to save them.
Ormond grew up in Bowie's M section riding horses. Her first lessons were at Kettering Stables, just outside of Bowie. She spent her youth and teen years in the 1960s and 1970s going to the Bowie Race Track, working in barns and taking riding lessons.
Although she was unable to compete in equestrian events as a child due to the expense, her parents did rent her a horse when she was 15. The horse was stabled at Terhune Farms, on land that is now the Bowie Town Center.
She bought her current horse, Lucky, who is featured in her novel, from a family in California. The little girl whose parents were selling the horse was sad to see Lucky go.
“I told her Mom to tell the girl that Lucky was moving to D.C. to be a senator,” said Ormond, and the girl's Mom told Ormond that might make a good children’s book.
Ormond agreed, though she did not think that was the story she wanted to tell. Having been involved with several horse rescue organizations, Ormond felt like their story was one that deserved to be told, and that was where her book began.
Believing in Horses has been nominated for two awards from the Military Writers of America, one for the Young Adult Category and also for the Founders Award. Only three of the more than 80 books reviewed were nominated for the Founders Award, which honors books that stand out for both their quality of writing and for having a certain element of hope.
“Just being nominated is very exciting,” said Ormond.
The awards ceremony will take place in September, but Ormond already feels like she’s won.
“It’s a peer review, so it means a lot to have them approve of what you do,” said Ormond.
Ormond lives with her husband, Jamie Navarro, in Bowie. They have two horses, Lucky and Navarro's horse, Billy Walkabout. They also have a pony named Chance. All three animals are stabled at Loftmar Stables in Bowie, just like the Lucky in her novel.
She and her brother, Edward, go to local area schools talking about her book with it’s teaching companion, Teacher’s Tack for Believing in Horses, which he authored and published earlier this year.