I’m very JAZZED that I have begun writing my NEXT Milan Jacovich novel this very morning. No, not “Whiskey Island,” which has not yet been published. (Look for it late this summer.) This is the NEW new one—all about harness racing! And the title of this post, “And they’re off and racing!” happens to be the very first sentence in that book.
I don’t know yet what I’ll name the novel. Sometimes I do, of course. The last three Milans were titled before I ever typed a word (“The King of the Holly Hop,” “The Cleveland Creep” and “Whiskey Island”). The eventual title of this one, I’m hoping, will have much to do with harness racing.
I didn’t know the first thing about the subject until Dan S. Kennedy, who is a horse owner AND driver, approached me with the idea. He will be helping me write this book—the first time I’ve ever collaborated with anyone. But I’ll do most of the actual writing, and he’ll help me along and tell me what I need to know—and keep me from making ridiculous mistakes! In the past two months he’s sent me so much research to study and absorb, and I look forward to finding out more as I go along.
For instance, until I read some of the vocabulary he sent that is unique to the sport, I always thought the guys sitting in the sulkies were JOCKEYS, just like in thoroughbred racing (THAT, as Meredith Willson once wrote about in “The Music Man,” is a sport where they sit down right on the horse). Well, harness racing refers to them as DRIVERS. Also, they don’t wear SILKS, as the jockeys do, but COLORS. Before I began writing today I spent about an hour poring over some of the other research material. I’m certain I’ll learn several new things every morning!
Dan has also included some character studies of the people who hang around at Northfield Park, in a southeastern Cleveland suburb. Some of their stories and peccadilos I couldn’t have made up if I tried, and they’ll be in this book, too.
Have no fear, there will be the usual cast of regular characters along for the ride. For all of you who read “The Cleveland Creep,” Milan Jacovich’s new assistant, Kevin O’Bannion (“K.O.”) is now a permanent part of the series—with the young woman with whom he became so entranced, Carli Wysocki. And oh yes—this time Milan has a special woman as well—but you’ll have to read “Whiskey Island” this summer to find out more about her.
I’d write a longer blog but I have to get back to my REAL work—writing this harness racing novel. I just wanted to give you a little taste—and I hope it excited you, as it has ME.