Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Guest Post - Bullet Work by Steve O'Brien

Today I am pleased to have Mr. Steve O'Brien author of Bullet work here at Bookventures Book Blog. Just so that you all are familiar with the novel, I have posted a synopsis of Bullet work for you below. As book bloggers we all appreciate a good story but we never get to go behind the scenes and see how that story comes into being. Steve has been kind enough to share his experience with us about writing Bullet Work. I hope that you all enjoy the guest post.

Title: Bullet Work
Author: Steve O'Brien
Genre: Horse Racing/Thriller
Pages: 349 pages
Publishers: A & N Publishing (March 22nd 2011)

Synopsis via Amazon.com

"They lived for that one chance; the chance to get home first. They waited for that one second. For that moment when they broke into the clear down the home stretch, and no one was going to catch them. Behind the glamorous exterior of horse racing, lies the gritty reality of the backside. Within this fiercely competitive world of owners, trainers, vets, and jockeys something has gone terribly wrong. As opening day approaches, one racehorse is poisoned, another has her leg crushed by a lead pipe and a third mysteriously disappears. Shock and horror grip the racing community.Despite all security efforts, the brutal killings continue. For Dan Morgan it becomes personal when his precocious two-year-old filly is targeted. Dan befriends AJ Kaine, a lonely, horse whispering young man. AJ is a hotwalker, the lowest of jobs in the backside food chain. But AJ has a secret--perhaps a secret that can corner a killer. With AJ s help, Dan must crack the extortion scheme or risk becoming the next victim. "

GUEST POST - Steve Speaks

Over the years I have read just about every horse racing mystery novel that exists. Okay, I’m sure I missed some, but there’s a lot.

This includes books by Dick Francis (and those with his son Felix), William Murray, Stephen Dobyns, Willie Shoemaker, Lyndon Stacey and John McEvoy. I loved them all. I’ve also enjoyed works by newer entrants to the field, Sacsser Hill and Dean DeLuke.

I have owned thoroughbreds and spent many days on the backside and, of course, in the grandstand (as an employee and a wagering patron). The cast of characters and stories in horseracing is vibrant and never ending. It is such a fertile field for storytelling.

With Bullet Work I wanted to try something.

For me, some titles dubbed horse racing mysteries are only tangentially related to racing. Don’t get me wrong, the characters, horses and backside community provides a wonderful context for a mystery. But the racetrack is merely a setting for a story. I wanted racing to provide the core of Bullet Work—to be one of the centerpieces of the action.

Whether I succeeded or not is yet to be determined, but I wanted to put the reader on the back of a thoroughbred during races and workouts—to get inside the mind of the rider “during the race.”
I also utilized a technique perfected by master suspense writer James Rollins and used several quick POV shifts during the action—from the jockey, to the trainer, to the owner, tied together by the track announcer’s call blaring from the loudspeakers.

There is nothing like the thrill of the race, even for those watching and I wanted to try and incorporate that emotion in the action of the book. Anyone who has ever owned a racehorse (or wagered on one) knows the feeling when the horse is in contention in the stretch. Those heart pounding and breath holding moments live on years after the race is concluded. The drama unfolding involves so much more than the participants in the actual race.

To incorporate all these features into the book, it had to be written in the third person. Problem was I’d already completed about three quarters of the manuscript in the first person, so I had to change. A word of advice--don’t ever do that--it was one of my most painful experiences as a writer. Sounds simple, but it would have been easier to start over, believe me.

Sometimes as writers and spectators we experience only part of a story by focusing solely on the race or game or performance. All events are multidimensional. Compelling stories reside behind the visible participants. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. In Bullet Work, I attempted to take on that challenge.

To find out more about the author such as his previous work, visit A and N Publishing.

1 comment:

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

Hmmmm ... the cover made me think "western", but as the daughter of a mom who didn't race, but DID ride dressage (and win a lot), this one seems as though it's one I'd like to try. Thanks for the interview!

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