Author, her horse, will be at Classic Sept. 22

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Children's author Jan Mader and Tango, the rescue horse that is a subject of her Tango & Tilly series.

A Clintonville writer will be among a group of children's book authors, illustrators and a librarian at the children's area at the 16th annual New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix and Family Day Sunday, Sept. 22.

The group, including Jan Mader of Clintonville, Kathy Jones of Centerburg, Sharon Thompson of Powell, Nancy Alexander of Westerville and Mellisa Stepp of Marysville, will have their books with them during the fundraising event at the Wexner residence, but Mader will also have the inspiration for her latest series: her horse.

Children will be able to watch Stepp, a student at Columbus College of Art and Design, work on illustrations for the latest Tango & Tilly book by Mader.

Mader, an equestrian as well as a writer, has produced more than 50 children's books in the past 16 or 17 years, she said.

She recently created a website devoted solely to her horse and inspiration, Tango.

"I have a passion for animals, and this horse writes his own stories," Mader said last week. "I could write a story a day about him. Best of all, he's a rescue horse; I bought him by the pound and didn't know what I was going to get."

Mader, in a press release, wrote that she rescued Tango from the slaughterhouse a dozen years ago.

She also wrote in an email that the publishing history for the series is a somewhat tangled and disappointing one. She sold the first Tango & Tilly book to a Canadian publishing firm about seven years ago, only to have that company and the illustrator become embroiled in a legal dispute. The rights to Tango & Tilly and the Mayor's Missing Cat reverted to Mader.

Or so she thought.

It turned out that someone had stolen the book and was selling it over the Internet. Mader's attorney said it would be too costly to do anything about it.

"So what did I do?" the author wrote. "I moped for a few years and then decided to self-publish, something I have never done before. I want to share Tango with the world on my own terms. He's a terrific horse and his antics provide more material than I can ever use."

Mader said in an interview that she approached New Albany Classic officials about the author-illustrator-librarian appearance at the event Sunday.

"As an author, I really like to work with kids, create the spark of creativity in kids," she said. "They were thrilled. It's a dream come true."

The New Albany Classic raises money for the Center for Family Safety and Healing.

Tickets to the Classic and Family Day must be purchased in advance, although children 10 and younger are admitted free. Additionsl information is available online at