The 142nd Kentucky Derby means more to me than merely watching a fantastic race–it marks my own, personal milestone. Not only as a spectator, but as a writer. This week I signed the contract with my publisher for my fourth contemporary romance, JOCKEYING FOR YOU, a story set in the world of horse racing. Is my writing career finally off and running? Or will my best efforts be overtaken? I’ve decided that either way I am simply happy to have simply crossed the finish line.
I knew absolutely nothing about horse racing when I started writing this novel. Learning this industry was a real challenge for me. I had never been a sports fan. So what made me choose to write about a sport in my newest novel? The idea sprang up during a writing seminar I attended. My local chapter of RWA (CTRWA) hosted a two day workshop with Hollywood script legend Michael Hague (who you can check out on www.storymastery.com, if you’re so inclined). The thrust of that workshop was to establish a plot line where the protagonist’s character arc is internally reached while being externally exemplified. Michael Haugue tasked each attendee to come up with a plot line built around this structure. I initially came up with zilch. But before arriving at the conference center on the second day, an idea struck me. An idea to cast to my characters in some kind of race. But what kind of race? I was initially stumped.
Right around this time, news of an extraordinary horse was spreading across the US. American Pharoah was fast become a living legend. What this colt could do was fascinating. Even I found myself drawn in. Was the horseracing world the exact setting I was searching for? I decided to undertake the herculean task to find out.
I pulled every horseracing book I could find in my local libraries. Unfortunately, very few books existed and a large percentage of those that did were very old. I traveled from library to library, and website to website, but never felt like I got a true sense of the sport. I had hoped to bolt out of the research starting gate. Instead, I was stalled.
It was time for me kick myself forward. And I did it the best way I knew how—I took two research road trips. I signed myself up for tours of both Belmont Park (Queens, New York) and the National Racing Museum (Saratoga, New York). I loved these trips immensely and will blog more in detail about these wonderful locations later. (The photo on top is one I took at Belmont Park.The one below is of Saratoga.)
Inspired by my travels, I hurried home to gallop towards my goal of a completed manuscript. For the first time in my life I had a novel on the fast track. I had become my own writing jockey. And I didn’t even need to crack the whip.
Horses, like their jockeys, need to keep pushing towards the finish line. Reaching the home stretch does not mean “relax and take it easy.” No, it means “full steam ahead.” I put everything I had into this new book. I hope when it’s released people find it to be a winner.
Does the Kentucky Derby inspire you?
Book blurb for JOCKEYING FOR YOU
Ryder Hannon, a thoroughbred horse trainer, has a big problem—fighting her fear of racing again. The emotional scars run deeper than her physical ones. But her romantic feelings towards handsome, uber-rich, stable owner Jake Carter is a bigger problem. Is Jake truly in love with her or is he using her to get back at his smug family?
Jake Carter is on a mission—to prove his family wrong. He may have bought a troubled horse, but he’s hired Ryder Hannon, a “horse whisperer,” to get his horse back on track. She’s more than just a trainer to him, she’s the woman he’s been looking for.
When Jake’s jockey gets injured, he wants Ryder to race. He knows deep down she wants to live up to her family’s legacy. So why does she keep fighting him—and her destiny—so hard?
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR STACY HOFF:
AMAZON LINK FOR DESIRE IN THE ARCTIC by Stacy Hoff:
AMAZON LINK FOR DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES by Stacy Hoff:
AMAZON LINK FOR LAWFULLY YOURS by Stacy Hoff:
AMAZON LINK FOR HOT SEDUCTION (box set with Stacy Hoff):
AMAZON LINK FOR SEASON OF LOVE (Box set with Stacy Hoff):