Nonesuch author loves writing, sharing stories
In his second novel, Lenny Shulman again writes about Dan Henry, a fictional sports reporter, with a career very different than his.
“I kind of like the rampaging sports reporter protagonist so I just thought I’d go another chapter with him,” says Shulman, who lives in Nonesuch with his three dogs.
“There’s certainly a lot more adventure to him than there is to my life,” he later adds, “getting kidnapped and chasing bad guys…”
The novelist and Dan Henry do share a similar back story, explored when Henry was introduced to readers in “Long Way From Home,” but
“I’m trying to not make him so much like I am,” says Shulman, 63.
In “Points,” the features editor of Blood-Horse magazine sets aside the backdrop of horse racing – a sport Shulman’s “been immersed in for awhile” – and instead puts Dan Henry in the world of big-time college basketball.
Moving his character into another sport may cost Shulman potential readers, who know his work at Blood-Horse, but he says, “I did want to try something else.”
Recent headlines about scandals in college basketball follow an idea that Shulman says he hatched three years ago for a second novel.
In “Points,” Dan Henry begins uncovering evidence of a nationwide conspiracy to fix University of Connecticut basketball games.
“There’s been such a history of game fixings and point shavings in basketball through the years,” says Shulman.
To broaden his understanding of that history, he read a book written by “a fixer.” It helped him understand the mindset of a gambler, who fixes games again and again as the stakes and risks escalate.
“Gambling is so psychological. You have to fight yourself to be comfortable with what you’re doing. Should I be doing this? Should I not be doing this? And so I think that’s an interesting point of this (book) – the tentacles that go out from gambling,” says Shulman.
He describes writing fiction as “a really nice counterbalance” to his work at Blood-Horse, where he’s discovered “there’s a story behind every horse. And it’s the truth,” which he adds, “is true in all sports.”
Growing up a New York Yankees fan in the Bronx, Shulman says he’s always loved sports. He pitched in senior baseball games, while earning a living as television writer, until “my arm basically fell off” when he was 45 years old.
“I’ve been blessed to do one thing well,” says Shulman of his writing career.
“I can’t get under the sink and fix my plumbing. I can’t build a shelf. I can’t get under the hood and fix my car…
“The writing isn’t work. The writing is really something I do enjoy – whether it’s the day job or my own stuff. The writing doesn’t get tired. The writing is something, thank God I have it.”
Shulman wants to pen a work of fiction, with his hero, H. L. Mencken, as a character, but says he’d next like to write a children’s book, which he describes as “a horse and dog story” inspired by peaceful walks on his farm in Nonesuch.
“It lets me quiet down from the hustle and bustle of the day (at Blood-Horse), and lets my mind relax. It’s kind of like switching from fiction to nonfiction … It’s not just helping me as a writer. I think it helps me as a person to be able to have that peace,” says Shulman.
“Points” may be purchased online from Amazon.