AN AUTHOR who grew up in Bruff has penned “an explosive”, debut horseracing/mafia thriller based on the high-powered and high stakes world of the international multi-million euro bloodstock industry.
Eric Ward who grew up in Bruff and who has worked around the world raising and buying horses and managing stud farms, spent four years working on the novel.
“Before I start typing, I like to create character sketches and a general plot outline,” Eric told the Leader this week, “then, the actual writing usually leads to further inspiration and the fleshing out of the story as it takes on a life of its own.”
The novel, A Sure Thing, is based on an Irish stud farm manager and bloodstock expert, Oliver McMahon, who wants to go out on his own. He turns to a man who owes him a favour - an American businessman who clearly is engaged in some unsavoury dealings. It’s when he gets involved with drugs his luck spirals. He must do something when his brother is murdered and family secrets surface if he wants to save his life.
“The writing process is difficult, as they say; ‘easy reading is hard writing’,” said Eric, a former student of Villiers. “It generally takes me time to get into a writing session, but like most things; the more you do it, the easier it becomes.”
Eric, who is the son of Frankie Ward, the doyenne of the local horse racing scene, rode with the Scarteen Pony Club and hunted with County Limerick, “so I got to know every hill, field and boreen in the county like the back of my hand. Though, I’m not sure I could still navigate the countryside like I used to.”
Eric worked summers at Greenmount Stud in Patrickswell. “I have fond memories of the days before it was a racecourse, which flood back to me when I go racing with my family during the Christmas meeting there.”
He also worked at Mellon Stud, near Kildimo, during its heyday in the late 80s.
Eric spent the ‘90s travelling the world working in the bloodstock industry. He has worked in England, Australia and Kentucky where he began working for the US arm of Ireland’s renowned Coolmore Stud. He currently divides his time between Turkey and the south of France. “I come back to my mother’s house in Bruff every Christmas with my wife Marine and son Emil. Christmas in Limerick is a very special time for me. My mother thoroughly enjoys having her grandson around to spoil!”