Andrew C.F. Horlick, a Toronto-based author who grew up in Ottawa’s Jewish community, has just published The Endless Mile, his debut novel.
The book tells the story of Bucky Whalen, an aspiring harness-racing driver who moves to New York to stable horses at the Speedway Racetrack. When Bucky is pulled into a crime syndicate by his uncle, he realizes he has no choice but to start fixing horse races. To make matters more complicated, Bucky ends up falling for a woman who is married to his best friend. Horlick describes his novel as being, “Nicholas Sparks meets Get Shorty at the racetracks.”
“There are crooked track managers, and there are gangsters. I’d like to say it’s a love story, but there’s also the underbelly element of crime and race-fixing,” he explained.
Horlick was born and raised in Ottawa, where he attended Sir Robert Borden High School. He went on to study at Carleton University, and graduated from the Humber School for Writers and George Brown College. Horlick described Ottawa as a close-knit community, and an idyllic place to grow up.
“Especially now that I’m living in Toronto, you come to appreciate Ottawa for what it is.”
Horlick said he got the idea for his book from experiences he had growing up in Ottawa. He got his first taste of horse racing when his father would take him to Connaught Park Racetrack in Gatineau.
“I remember how exciting it was, with the old men smoking cigars, the screaming and swearing and the beauty of the horses,” he said.
Horlick’s connection to horse racing continued when he got older and would go horseback riding with a friend.
“We used to go out to Rideau Carleton Raceway and pretend we were big shots. It was a lot of fun,” he said.
While Horlick says he is about 100 pages into his next book, he is currently focused on marketing and promoting The Endless Mile. Information on the book and links to order it are available at www.andrewcfhorlick.com.
Horlick says he has always received support from the Ottawa community.
“It’s really touching when you see someone who you haven’t seen in 20 years, and they ask you if you’re still writing. It’s incredibly rewarding just to know that I stuck it out,” he said.
On Horlick’s website, he describes the launch of his debut novel as similar to “being born, or breaking the curse of the unread.”
“When you’re in the trenches and trying to develop the craft, it feels like you’re just hanging on to the world’s biggest secret and no one really understands you until they get a peek inside your brain,” he said.
“That’s why it’s an incredible relief to have my story out there, and hopefully people enjoy it and get to understand who I am a little more.”