Author Sasscer Hill grew up loving Walter Farley’s “Black Stallion” series. When she got older, she bred race horses, won many amateur steeplechase events and rode in fox hunts.
Intrigued by the people she met during those days, she used her sights behind the stable doors for her novels “Full Mortality,” “Steamroller” and “Racing from Death.”
“I learned so much about the sport,” she said. “There’s so much going on. … You don’t know the stories behind the groomsmen, (the people) in the winner’s circle. Some have a lot to hide; some don’t. Different people come together at the track.”
Hill will be signing “Full Mortality” and “Racing from Death” at Nandina Home and Design on 158 Laurens St. S.W. today at 2 p.m.
Also from early on, Hill was attracted by mysteries and the “what if?” factors the stories twist on. This fascination led to mystery being the genre of all three of her books.
The novels all center around jockey Nikki Latrelle, a young, independent woman with a hard past who adores horses and helping people.
Though the novels might not go too in-depth with it, Hill has imagined a backstory for her leading lady. It was shortly after her mother died that 13-year-old Nikki ran away from her abusive stepfather. She ran to the staples of Pimlico race course, a place where her mother use to take her. Looking up at the horse in the stable, she was struck with a deep yearning, and thus, jockey Nikki Latrelle was born.
“Full Mortality,” Hill’s first novel, follows Nikki as her horse is killed the night before the race she’s been waiting for her whole life. She then gets caught up in a murder case, where she becomes the main suspect. Even after losing her job, Nikki searches for the real criminals with some misfits she has met along the way.
The novel was nominated for a Macavity and an Agatha Best First Mystery Award.
“Only five people get nominated, so I’m honored to have gotten nominated,” Hill said.
“Steamroller” is a short story based around Nikki, and “Racing from Death” is Hill’s latest book on the jockey. Hill is planning on a book coming out next year.
She has recently moved to Aiken from Maryland. In addition to other reasons, Aiken’s love of horses is a reason Hill made her way down here.
Hill recalled hearing about Aiken years ago from a friend and made a mental note to check the city out, if moving ever came up.
The author has also written for the “Chesapeake Crimes” Anthology and many magazines.
Her books can be found at Booklovers Bookstore in the Country Square Shopping Center at 1886 Huntsman Drive or online at Amazon.
More information on her can be found at www.sasscerhill.com.
Want to Go?
Book signing for “Full Mortality” and “Racing from Death”
Saturday at 2 p.m.
Nandina Home and Design on 158 Laurens Street S.W.
Call Scott Lorenz at 734-676-2090