Writing is a solitary business, but we writers are hardly alone. Through the years, you find like-minded souls who are fascinated, obsessed, educated about some of the same subjects that you are.
In my case, I’ve built up a good collection of friends in the writing business.
Tim Hornbaker, of Florida, is quite a bit younger than I am, but equally passionate about the past. His first book, National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling, is pretty exhaustive in its research, and while not the most colourful and creative of the books on my shelf, it’s an important documentation of the business of professional wrestling.
His Legacy of Wrestling.com website is pretty great too, and has all kinds of tidbits he didn’t fit into the NWA book.
Next came Legends of Pro Wrestling: 150 Years of Headlocks, Body Slams, and Piledrivers in 2012, which attempted to cover tons and tons of pro wrestlers. It’s an impossible task to please everyone with a project like that, but he did a good job.
Around the same time I was switching into hockey writing, he’d jumped in feet-first into writing about baseball.
Earlier in 2014, his first biography was released, Turning the Black Sox White: The Misunderstood Legacy of Charles A. Comiskey.
A sports fan through and through, I wanted to get a copy, and when I didn’t get to review it for Publishers Weekly, I emailed Tim. He proposed a trade, with Don’t Call Me Goon: Hockey’s Greatest Enforcers, Gunslingers, and Bad Boys heading south to Florida, and his Comiskey book arriving in my eager hands.
Well, I was eager to read it, but somehow it kept getting set aside. This week, I finally finished it and it was great. Because Comiskey was such an important figure in baseball, both as a player and as an owner, it goes through so much.
So if the NWA book was exhaustive in its research, Comiskey was triple-exhaustive, with footnotes that were almost as compelling as the text itself. He wrapped it all up nicely in the final chapter too, almost like a closing argument in a court case, but not that dry!
I asked him about working on the book: “I’d say that the Comiskey book was a learning process for me, especially with dealing with the volume of information and incorporating endnotes/footnotes. I actually had written a few chapters without organizing my footnotes into a workable fashion, and then had to struggle and go back to figure out what went where. The book I’m working on now, a biography of Ty Cobb, will probably have twice as many footnotes, but I’ve since learned my lesson, and I’ve been keeping everything organized from the jump.”
While he is working on Cobb, there’s actually another wrestling book at the editing stage. It’s called Capitol Revolution: The Rise of the McMahon Wrestling Empire, and will come out in March 2015. Should be a great one as well.
I wonder what he’ll take in exchange for it?