My thanks to Frank Nappi for stopping by Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways for an author interview about his books, The Legend of Mickey Tussler and Sophomore Campaign.
1. How did you come up with the title?
For the first book I used the word "Legend" to reflect the extraordinary nature of the protagonist's circumstances. And for the second book, in sports there is the expression "Sophomore Jinx" - I figured Mickey's second pitching season would be best described as a sophomore or second campaign.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The essential message is one of tolerance for those who are different from us. Both books (The Legend of Mickey Tussler and Sophomore Campaign) also celebrates resiliency in the face of great adversity.
3. How much of the book is realistic?
Many of the characters are composites of real individuals from my life. The circumstances are perhaps a little more fictional.
4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Not really. I am very pleased with the way everything came together.
5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Presenting a realistic portrayal of an individual on the Autism Spectrum was at times challenging.
6. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That characters will take you where they need to go; that one must not be rigid in his/her approach to writing
7. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes. I was inspired to begin writing formally after forging a friendship with two WWII veterans with whom I became very close. They were the subject of my first novel Echoes from the Infantry.
8. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
By far F.Scott Fitzgerald. His writing is truly an art form, lyrical and poetic. He writes the way the birds sing.
9. Tell us your latest news.
Well, my novel The Legend of Mickey Tussler was just released as a feature film (A Mile in His Shoes) and the sequel to the book Sophomore Campaign just came out this month. I am working on a third book to complete the series.
10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. Please give the Mickey Tussler series a chance. You will find that the books are so much more than baseball tales - they are stories that transcend the baseball diamond into much more universal realms ....
About the Books
The Legend of Mickey Tussler
Buy Link: Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Mickey Tussler is recruited to play for a minor league affiliate of the Boston Braves. Arthur Murphy swears Mickey has the greatest arm he has ever seen, that anybody has ever seen. And it might be true. But Mickey's autism is prohibitive. It keeps him sealed off from a world he scarcely understands. Lost both in the memory of his former life with an abusive father and the challenges of a new world filled with heckling teammates, opponents and fans, there's no way Mickey can succeed. But his inimitable talent -- one of the most gifted arms in the history of baseball -- gives him a chance. Can he survive a real life dream? Or are the harsh realities of life too much for him? This is the powerful underdog story of how a young man with an extraordinary gift comes of age in a harsh and competitive world.
(the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler)
Buy Link: Amazon
It's 1949 and eighteen-year-old pitching phenom Mickey Tussler is back with the rejuvenated minor league Brewers in the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler (the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes). Despite Mickey's proclamation that he will never play baseball again after last season's violent conclusion, his manager and now surrogate father Arthur Murphy cajoles the emotionally fragile, socially awkward boy with autism into giving it another shot. Mickey reluctantly returns to the field and must once again cope with the violence and hatred around him. When a young African American player joins the team, the entire team is subjected to racial threats and episodes of violence, one of which Mickey witnesses firsthand. Struggling to understand such ugliness and hatred, and fearful of reprisal should he tell anyone about what he has seen, the boy's performance on the field suffers. Mickey now must deal with a side of human nature he scarcely comprehends.
Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction for 2006. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a screenplay adaptation of the touching story which aired nationwide in the fall of 2011 (A Mile in His Shoes starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder). Frank continues to produce quality work, including The Legend of Mickey Tussler: Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.
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