Monday, May 20, 2013

Interview with Bruce E. Spitzer

I had the privilege of interviewing the author of "Extra Innings", Bruce E. Spitzer, about  his book.   I enjoy speaking to authors because we can learn a lot from them.   Not just about their books, but also what gave them their ideas and stories. 

What inspired you to write “Extra Innings”?

The idea came to me six years ago.  After watching a Red Sox game in which the announcers talked about Ted Williams and also seeing another show about the afterlife, the idea popped into my head – cryonics could one day bring Ted Williams back. After all, he was indeed frozen when he died in 2002.

Do you have any memories of Ted Williams or stories about him that were passed down in your family?

I am not old enough to have personal memories but here in New England the legend of Ted Williams lives on.  I conducted interviews with people who knew him as part of my research.  I also included audio research to get the correct cadence and language that he used. 

In the book, you address topics that can be considered controversial.  Why did you choose to include them?

First and foremost the book is about second chances and redemption. Beyond that there are several subplots that run throughout the novel.   The world becomes a dystopian place, hat includes baseball, the environment, and the military-industrial complex.   It might be considered a parable of what could go wrong if we don’t get it right now.  Don’t forget it’s a love story too.

Your knowledge of military air combat is impressive. How did you obtain this knowledge?

I included this in my research because the book is about what any of us would do with this great second chance.   Would we do things differently or be destined to repeat ourselves? He was a war hero in his first life and I felt that Williams might not say no to the Marines during his second trip around the bases. 

Why robotic pitchers?

With the proliferation of performance enhancing drugs in the novel, the batters were becoming so good that the robots were needed to keep up with them. Conflict and struggle are a big part of the novel as Ted must decide to play at all against a machine that he detests and he faces tremendous pressure to take the performance enhancing drugs that he abhors.

Do you have any projects or books that you are currently writing?

I will be writing another book – it is a high-concept novel that is not related to this material.  That is all I can say now to preserve the idea.

Is there anything else you wish to add?

The best part of writing a novel is receiving fan email.  I have had many exchanges with readers about the topics addressed in the book.  I am also amazed at the many women readers who told me that they enjoyed the book.   Of course, there are plenty of women baseball fans, but these are women who somehow picked up the book for another reason and it resonated with them. That’s very rewarding to me. I wrote this book with the intention that it be much more than a baseball book.

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