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In The Reins with Local Cowgirl


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Beverly Cleary once said, “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelves, write it!” Well, that’s just what local cowgirl-turned-author Carly Kade did with her book In The Reins. Reading dozens of books over the years in the equestrian genre, Carly found few that featured the western riding discipline she was interested in, or breeds of choice, such as the Quarter Horse, Paint, Pinto, or the Palomino. The second component she was after, literally and figuratively, was creating a story that provides an honest depiction of the bond between horse and human while luring her readers into experiencing the excitement of falling for the sultry and generous leading man. Naturally, In The Reins, Carly Kade’s first novel, reflects a powerful story of love and compassion that bends the two.

All of this excitement began in Carly’s early years in Clarkston, Michigan. Her family lived on 5 acres, surrounded by open spaces, and plenty of room for horses. Carly went from being crowned the county’s 4-H Queen to living in New York City in her journey to find her own place to put down roots. She likes to think of herself as “a little bit country and a little bit city.” After graduation from Oakland University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in communication, Carly landed her dream job in the music industry as a marketing representative for Sony Music Entertainment. Unfortunately, this dream did not include boarding her beloved childhood mount in a small, NYC apartment.

During her career in the music industry, Carly moved into the position of an artist development representative for Sony Music Entertainment and eventually Universal Music. The dazzle and glitz was exciting and exhilarating, yet something was missing: clean air, open spaces, and her beloved horse. At that point, Carly accepted a promotion that took her back to her home state of Michigan. A fateful decision, Carly found her current horse Sissy, as well as a very handsome cowboy who would become the love of her life and husband. Eventually, all three made their way to Arizona by way of Texas.

Carly absolutely loves the breathtaking sunsets, rolling landscapes, and majestic mountain backdrops of the Valley. Today, with nature’s inspiration, her own creative talent, and encouraging support of her husband, Carly has expanded her love of writing into the publication of her first novel, In The Reins. The novel follows city girl Devon Brooke, who is looking for a fresh start after a sudden breakup. Devon moves back to her country roots. She acquires a beautiful Paint named Faith and meets a mysterious cowboy, McKennon Kelly. His deeply guarded secret takes them all down a path of suspense, romance, and self-discovery. In the process of writing her first novel, Carly has learned that the key to completing a novel is discipline. Carly shares she is not a morning person, but that’s the time when she accomplishes her best writing.

The discipline of sticking to a schedule, dedication in honoring the story as it presents itself, and inspiration from places where cowgirl boots are the norm, have paid off. After its release in 2016, In The Reins was nominated for a literary award at the EQUUS Film Festival. Happily, Carly came home with a win, receiving the Best Western Fiction Literary Award from the Festival. Looking to the long horizon, as all cowgirls instinctively do, Carly is happy to report there are two more novels, in progress, in the saddlebags. Both are sequels, two and three, to complete the In The Reins series.

Carly is constantly on the go; for a complete list of her stampede of events, purchasing your own copy of In The Reins, or for contact information, visit

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at