Fan Mail Wednesday #85

When it comes to fan mail, I’ve been a bad, bad boy. So let’s get to work!

Hello,
My name is Bobbie P. and I am a fifth grade student. I read your book Six Innings and thought it was a good book. How did you come up with the idea for
Six Innings? How did you come up with the characters? What inspired you to write this book? Please answer me back so I can finish my PowerPoint on your book. Thanks for your help.

I replied:

Bobbie,

Hey, lighten up on the praise, you’re giving me a swelled head!

Thanks for reading Six Innings. Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever before been the subject of a PowerPoint.  I wonder: Is it like acupuncture? I mean: Will it be very, very painful? I don’t like needles or pointy things.

Brrrrinnng, brrrinnnng. Hold on: I’ve got to take this call from my wife.

(JP: “What’s that my little love muffin? PowerPoint? It’s on a computer? Really?! It’s not pointy at all? No sharp needles! Oh, thanks for the info. It’s so hard to keep up with technology these days.”)

So, um, Bobbie: nevermind!

To answer your questions:

I had to write a book about baseball; it was inevitable. Baseball has touched my life in every way that it can be touched, it’s an invisible thread that connects all the corners of my life. Most vividly in my childhood memories, most profoundly with my mother –- watching ballgames, having catch, connecting through the game. As a father, I’ve spent a lot of time around Little League fields. I’ve coached and managed many teams. I’ve watched those kids, tried to help the best I could, and always came away convinced that I learned more than they did. It’s a world I know. But more than that, it’s a world where many boys live –- passionately. We remember those games, those times, forever. For the book, I wanted to use baseball as a way to explore character. The friendships, the struggles, the inner lives as they are revealed in thought and action during a six-inning baseball game.

I started writing the book by filling a notebook with different ideas for characters. I’d write about them, think about their lives, who they were. Once I had a fairly large cast of characters that seemed alive to me, I put them into a baseball game. It’s one of the tricks of writing: You take characters and put them in stressful situations to see how they might react.

Good luck on the PowerPoint thingy!

By the way, for more on this book, this post gives you more background on the character, Sam Reiser, and how he was inspired by real life experiences.

My best,

JP

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