Originally the second book in The Front Runner series was to be Billy's Boy. William Morrow had always planned a sequel to The Front Runner, and Patricia Nell Warren signed a contract to do it around 1976. But there was a problem. In The Front Runner, the "boy," John William, is born in 1977. To write about him as a young teen -- say 14 -- meant that the sequel had to be set in 1991. But in 1976, writing about 1991 amounted to science fiction. After arm-wrestling with the first draft for a year, the author went to her editor, Jim Landis, and told him the book wasn't working. Morrow and the author agreed to tear up the Billy's Boy contract.
In 1992, the author started thinking about the sequel again. But so much time had gone by, the U.S. had changed so much, and the gay world had changed so much, that she realized there needed to be another book between The Front Runner and Billy's Boy.
The "book between" was Harlan's Race.
The sequel was begun in 1992. The author's new agent, Mitch Douglas at ICM, was eager to represent this book, convinced it would be a bestseller. However, when he finally submitted Harlan's Race to gay editors at a number of major houses in late 1993, they were not interested. By then the author had met Los Angeles publicist Tyler St. Mark, also a gifted writer. St. Mark and Warren decided to team up and publish Harlan's Race independently. They started Wildcat Press to do it.
In spring 1994, when wholesalers learned that a Front Runner sequel was available, Wildcat had a rush of orders. The review that put this book on the map was Victoria Brownworth's rave in Lambda Book Report and The Advocate. Harlan's Race went right to #1 on the gay and lesbian bestseller list, and stayed there for a whole year. With the success of Harlan's Race, St. Mark moved to secure the publishing rights and licenses of all Warren's other works that had been print, and Wildcat forged ahead into independent publishing.
Seven years later, Harlan's Race is still selling strongly -- ForeWord reported that it was #10 in popularity among gay books overall. The book has been especially popular with gay and lesbian veterans, who appreciate the characters of former Navy SEAL Chino Cabrera and former Green Beret Harry Saidak.
Abroad, Harlan's Race came out in Danish from Rhodos, and in Japanese from Fusosha. The Japanese translation was done by Yuji Kitamaru, who had already made a name for himself as a translator with his translation of The Front Runner. Subsequently Harlan's Race was published in German by Bruno Gmuender Verlag in Berlin, and in Spanish by Editorial Egales in Barcelona.