Victoria Kasten, a 17-year-old homeschool student who loves horses, wrote her first Mighty Stallion book at age 12, after a trip to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota. A couple of years later, Victoria’s family decided to self-publish it as a homeschool project to preserve something that she wrote in her childhood. Her uncle, James Krom, a wildlife artist, agreed to illustrate the cover. They printed 500 copies and thought that would be the end of the experience. But God had other plans for Victoria! The last few years have been quite a journey in which she has learned a great deal along the way.
When Mighty Stallion was released in November 2005, the book became so popular that Victoria decided to make it into a ten-book series. Currently, there are five books available: Mighty Stallion, Fury’s Journey, Glory’s Legend, Dancer’s Dream, and A Stallion’s Heart. The next book, Mighty Stallion 6: The Civil War, should be coming out in the Spring of 2009. These are all chapter books of about 70-75 pages each, geared for 7-14 year olds, although quite a few older teens and adults enjoy them too.
Mighty Stallion is the story of a stallion named Sariavo, the first in line of powerful mustangs that struggled to maintain their freedom in a changing and progressing world. In the second book, a fiery red stallion named Fury journeys far into the heart of the American West, determined to carry on the lineage of his ancestors. Book three tells the story of Glory, an albino stallion that became an Indian Chief’s prized possession. In the fourth book, Dancer wants to live a life of solitary adventure but when she meets Titan, a handsome black colt, she begins to question all of her plans. The fifth book is set in the days of the Pony Express as two stallion brothers go off in different directions and a strange chain of events brings them back together again.
Victoria has two horses of her own, a mischievous Quarter Horse/Pony of America gelding named Looky, and a beautiful registered Bay Quarter Horse mare named Katie. She began taking English riding lessons at age 9, continuing with those lessons for the next four years. Victoria discovered her love of writing at age 10, when she wrote a short story called “The Wild Mustang.” She also began to write poems, two of which were published in a nationally circulated Christian newspaper. Her first magazine article, “Life on a Hobby Farm,” appeared in the American Livestock Magazine, which later published another one of her poems as well.
Besides liking horses, Victoria is interested in history – especially medieval history. In November 2007 she published a 300-page non-magical fantasy which is set in a medieval-like time period, though it is an imaginary world Victoria created. In IronHeart, Victoria’s dream world comes to life with more plots and surprises than you could shake a sword at! IronHeart is an epic story filled with heroes, villains, love and courage for teens and adult readers. She received so many requests from her fans for a sequel that she has written a second book, The Iron Spear, to be released in late January 2009. Victoria is currently working on a 1,200-1,500 page historical fiction trilogy, part one of which she plans to release sometime in 2009.
Victoria has sold thousands of copies of her books worldwide. On her website she also sells matching t-shirts to go with the books. Victoria donates a portion of her profits to Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Betsy-Tacy Society and the Northfield Historical Society. Victoria has participated in many events such as homeschool conventions, book tours, and book signings. She has been the subject of a number of newspaper articles, including this one in the Spring Valley Tribune. The June 2008 issues of Minnesota Parent magazine and Women, Inc. Magazine both featured color photos and stories on Victoria. She has also been interviewed on several radio shows and was chosen as a finalist for the Women, Inc. Magazine contest “The Difference is You” in the “Rising Young Star” category.
In 2007, Victoria was hired to teach at two Young Writers Workshops in Minnesota, where she taught approximately 400 schoolchildren about character development in a story. She visited many school districts to speak with hundreds more. This provided an opportunity to witness her faith to many children. In addition, she was invited to teach along with three-time Newberry medalist Gary Paulsen at the 2007 Sinclair Lewis Writer’s Conference. She served on an author discussion panel and taught approximately 100 adults in several classes on character development. One thing that she did not expect was how many well-known secular authors she would meet. She was also able to witness to some of them.
In addition to horses and history, Victoria loves music and plays the violin. She served as the Concert Mistress in her youth Symphony Orchestra and played in a Youth Chamber Ensemble. While Victoria’s writing endeavors have put her violin playing on hold for now, she is still active in her church and in the local 4-H club. Victoria’s 4-H projects have earned several ribbons at the County Fair, while at the State Fair her computer graphics entry – the front cover design for IronHeart – was awarded a purple ribbon, the highest honor she could achieve. When Victoria is home she enjoys spending time outside in the company of the horses, alpacas, rabbits and cats on her family’s farm.
Victoria is planning to attend Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota, in the fall of 2009. Because of her preparation for college, Victoria has had to turn down several homeschool conventions for 2009, but she will still be at MACHE, CHAP, and the Midwest Homeschool Conference in Cincinnati next year. She is also scheduled to teach in a number of Young Writer’s Conferences again. Victoria hopes to be a full time author after she finishes college, while living on a small farm of her own. Visit Victoria’s website: www.EpicScrolls.com.