Author * Speaker * Editor

Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

The Story behind Dynamo by Ellie Gustafson

Please join me in welcoming Ellie Gustafson to the blog this week. She’s here to share how her story, Dynamo, came to be. Here’s a short blurb about the book.

Jeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania’s mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob’s jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion.

Everything changes when God enters his life—in the unconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend—and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God’s hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, “Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I’m being set up for something.”

He is, indeed. Jeth’s life is anything but predictable, much like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption.

Ellie, please share with the readers what inspired you to write this book?

Dynamo has roots that date back many years. My first horseback ride around age 8, sitting astride a very large horse with a very skinny neck (from my up-top perspective), touched off a passion for horses that still smolders within me.

The very large horse died, which ended my riding lessons, but she was replaced a few years later by a smaller—and feistier—pony that taught me how to really ride. Got dumped three times but finally learned how to be the boss.

Our small, rural town was the locus of the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show, which grew to be one of the most prominent on the East Coast and provided much of the competition material for my book. An incredible event I witnessed there appears in the novel. Watch for Jo Jo and Jeth’s story in Chapter 20. Apart from the show, I occasionally rode a local horse, a nasty fellow named The Earl, that also pops up in the novel under the name, Lord Nelson.

My favorite classes, though, were the five-gaited show horses. Splendid, high-stepping animals with flowing manes and tails—the perfect pattern for the stallion Dynamo.

All of this plowed spiritual ground, as well. The horse material came from way back, but my passion for God picked it up and helped me craft a multi-layered story. The main characters are not Jeth and Dynamo, but God and Maybelle who work behind the scenes to mold a servant. Who is God, really? And what does He want of us? That’s the lesson Jeth needed to learn.

Ellie Gustafson began thinking up stories at a young age but did not begin writing and publishing until 1978. A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, she has been actively involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences include gardening, house construction, tree farming, and parenting—all of which have helped bring color and humor to her fiction. One of her major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable power of story.




Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @EgusEllie

Facebook: Ellie Gustafson


The Stones

Ellie is giving away a copy of the book. Follow the directions below to enter.

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Thanks for joining us!


  1. Favorite animal…dogs

  2. That’s hard to make a decision because I love horses, toy poodles, and sweet little lambs to name a few. Dynamo sounds like a good story. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    • Yup, Dynamo IS a good story–at least most readers think so. : ) Do you keep a menagerie of your favorite animals at home? : )

  3. My favorite animals are dogs.

    • Hi Jan–You must be kin to Nancy up above. I loved dogs as a kid, but my parents wouldn’t allow me to have one. I “borrowed” a friend’s Dalmation, instead. : )

  4. I’ve always loved big cats (tigers, panthers, etc) or birds of prey. I think I admire their powerful & majestic presence! 🙂

    This story sounds fantastic, thanks for the opportunity to win Dynamo by a new-to-me author!

    • Whoa! You must be a zookeeper! If I can find the link, I’ll send you a smashing “birds of prey” post. Oh, bother! No link. If you send me your email address, I’ll forward it to you.

      • I’d love to be a zookeeper or a bird of prey rehabilitater 🙂 That would be a dream job for me!
        I’d love to see the video Ellie, so I’ll include my email address in a safe format for you….send away!!

        teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. Favorite animal would be cats. I especially like big cats. Their movements are so powerful and graceful at the same time. They are amazing to watch.( I always wanted a pet tiger or lion, but for some reason my husband and kids are not keen on the idea.) Dynamo is going on my to read list for sure. It sounds wonderful and I look forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Yes, big cats are beautiful–from a distance. I don’t blame your husband or kids. : ) Please let me know how you like Dynamo. Would love to see a review on Amazon.

  6. When I was a newbie at West, Ellie was the first smiling face I met. Whenever I see her she has a Christ loving aura about her. I ADORE HER.

    She is an amazing person beond humanity. Christ loving. All her stories and ideas leave you with something to think about. I also have loved horses all my life. I would draw them all the time. I started riding western when I was 15. Sitting atop a majestic fiesty quarter horse was exciting. Nobody taught me to ride. Me in my sneakers, I wiggled and waddled when he would trot until I learned his gait. I had stopped ridung in 1985 when my son was born. I had no time to hug a horses neck and feed them carrots. HOWEVER, the love and endearment has never left me. I am now 63, and on my bucket list is to ride one more time. I pray it so. The Lord provides an open door if you ask him and thank Him, for He is worthy to be praised.

    I read Dynamo. I would recommend it for a young adult. But, I sure did enjoy reading it. The people came to life. I loved the horse in the story. I will not spoil the story. Thanks Ellie. Much love.

  7. Oh, good. I love “horse stories”.

  8. Hard to say: I like chickens, I like cows.

  9. My favorite animal and why… well, I love butterflies not only because of their unique composition, colors, growth pattern, and much more but, I enjoy them due to the spiritual symbolism they mean to me. 🙂 Their metamorphosis from a crawling, many legged “worm” into a flying insect is much the way God changes our lives spiritually and sometimes, physically. 🙂