John McEvoy John McEvoy
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About John McEvoy

John McEvoy, former editor and senior correspondent for Daily Racing Form, is the author of five non-fiction books on thorougbred horse racing, including the award-winning Great Horse Racing Mysteries. Photo Finish is his fifth mystery novel and fourth featuring the adventurous Jack Doyle. One of McEvoy's earlier novels, Riders Down, won a Ben Franklin Award. He and his wife Judy live in Evanston, Illinois.


John McEvoy Q and A

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: Since I was a boy. I won a Father's Day essay contest with a description of my Dad when I was 10. The prize was a pair of cowboy boots. I subsequently was an editor for my high school and college newspapers and a reporter for three metropolitan newspapers, including "The Milwaukee Journal."

Q: How did you become interested in horse racing?
A: My mother was a big fan. We used to drive from our home in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to old Washington Park on Chicago's far southside–three hours one way in those days. I saw the great racehorse Native Dancer there in 1953 and I was hooked on racing from then on.

Q: How long did you work for "Daily Racing Form," the so-called "bible" of thoroughbred horse racing?
A: For 33 years. I joined the paper after three years of teaching college English. I was a copy editor, reporter, then editor of the Midwest edition based in Chicago, and finally a national correspondent until I accepted a buyout in 1997.

Q: Why did you become a racing journalist?
A: I was intrigued by the world of horse racing, which I found (and find) to be a fascinating microcosm of life, rich with interesting people from all economic, social, ethnic, and ethical strata. Also, I love watching horses race.

Q: Do you bet on horse races?
A: I surely do.

Q: When did you begin writing books?
A: Late in 1997. I was contributing articles to various horse magazines when Eclipse Press appraoched me with an offer to write "Great Horse Racing Mysteries," which wound up winning a Benjamin Franklin Award in 2000. I enjoyed the experience and subsequently authored three more non-fiction books for them.

Q: When did you turn to fiction?
A: I had written a short story about racing that was published in a literary quarterly in the early '90s. That story eventually became the basis and beginning of my first novel, "Blind Switch," which was published in 2004 by Poisoned Pen Press.

Q: How often, and how much, do you write?
A: I try to write at least five days a week, producing at least 500 words a day when the plot is clear before me and the characters are going good. Probably because I spent so many years working under the pressure of daily deadlines in the newspaper business, I feel compelled to accomplish something almost every day.

Q: Are your books based on factual stories?
A: My non-fiction books, yes, of course. The novels are products of my imagination.

Q: What authors do you admire?
A: In the field of current crime fiction, I never miss anything written by Thomas Perry, P. D. James, Michael Connelly, Margaret Maron, Laurie R. King, Lee Child, or Stephen Hunter.

Q: Matt O'Connor, the hero of "Riders Down," is a racing journalist. Does he resemble you in any way?
A: Only in his love of racing.

Q: What are you presently working on?
A: I am working on a third racing novel. Jack Doyle, the protagonist of "Blind Switch," will be featured again in this one.

 


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