A prize horse has gone missing at the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and a shadowy figure lurks around every corner. But for Jordan Olerud, her service dog Baker, her nurse, Emma, and Jordan’s sister, Jessica, it’s just the first mystery to solve for the Giddy Up Girls.
Based loosely on her own experiences in Arizona, the 14-year-old Bellevue author’s first novel, co-written with her friend and nurse Rachelle Sheets (Emma), with help from Jessica, 10, “Mystery at the Horse Show,” is so much more than just a book, it’s proof that no matter your situation, you can achieve greatness, she said.
Since birth Jordan has suffered from a series of medical conditions and unique genetic anomalies that limit her physical movement, which requires the use of a wheelchair, stunted her growth, and ability to speak.
Jordan uses a program on an iPad to say what her body is unable to, expressing feelings, answering questions, and writing a book.
“It was important to me to have a character in a wheelchair, because I want to show that people who have challenges can do a lot of fun things,” she said. “Both Emma and I like going on adventures, and we enjoy reading mysteries … After I had finished reading the last book in my favorite series, ‘The Boxcar Children,’ I could not find another book series that I wanted to read. So, Emma and I decided to write out own series.”
Jordan is already working on the sequel, something her parents weren’t sure was a possibility.
Unable to swallow food, Jordan doesn’t have the strength or balance to walk without assistance. She suffers from seizures, which medications can’t seem to curb, and an immune deficiency leaves her vulnerable to infections.
None of that was going to stop Jordan, she’s is a fighter, she wants to travel, she has plans, and nothing is going to stop her attaining her goals, her parents said.
In 2000, her father, two-time World Series champion, John Olerud, signed with the Seattle Mariners, a homecoming for the Bellevue native and Interlake High School star. He and Jordan’s mother, Kelly, were hesitant to take her with them in 2002 to Spring Training in Arizona, leaving all of her doctors back in the Pacific Northwest, but if they hadn’t, they may never have met Rachelle.
“It was scary, leaving all of our great doctors here,” Kelly said. “But one day we all went to church and we walked into the nursery with Jordan and there was Rachelle.”
Rachelle, a neonatal specialists, formed an instant bond with Jordan, she said. Her parent’s call her “an answer to prayer.”
Over the course of the next 12 years, the two became so close, Rachelle and her family grew to be an extension of the Olerud family, John said.
Jordan and Rachelle are so in tune with each other, the two often communicate without uttering a single word, he said.
“Trying to communicate with Jordan can be difficult at times, which is why I’m so proud of her to have done this,” John said referring to the book. “To go from a hypothetical idea, to actually getting through it and now working on a second is so impressive … although we should have expected it from her.”
The second book in the series, tentatively titled “Fiasco at the Fashion Show,” comes from Jordan’s love of clothing and style.
Recently, Jordan got a behind the scenes tour of the Vogue fashion show in Bellevue. Next month, she and her sister, Jessica, are traveling to Arizona to visit Rachelle and will get to model some of the newest trends in Nordstroms’ fall fashion show.
Although Jordan declined to give any other details about the next book in the series, she and Jessica did say they have a fairly good idea who the villain will be, and who will help the girls solve the next mystery.
Written for readers ages 8-to-12, Jordan said younger children will also enjoy having it read to them.
“I have had some adults say that the enjoyed the story, too,” she said. “I hope families will use our book for family reading time.”
The book is on sale now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. All proceeds from the book will go to help finance the Jordan Fund, a nonprofit organization the Olerud’s built to provide support to special needs children and their families.
For more information about the book visit www.giddyupgirlsbooks.com.