Welcome to The Pitcher Author William Hazelgrove! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of five novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man and The Pitcher His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man due out May 1, 2013 was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors.net. He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. A forthcoming novel, The Pitcher will be out Sept 1, 2013. He lives in Chicago.
The Pitcher Interview with William Hazelgrove:
Welcome to Cuzinlogic! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I have been writing twenty plus years. I have five novels and have been with Random House and Koehler Books and Merit Press. I have had many agents. I am really a story teller whose main goal is to tell a story that wont let you go. I am probably literary mainstream. I wrote in Ernest Hemingway’s attic for ten years and was the Ernest Hemingway writer in residence.
Please tell us in 20 words or less, why we should read your book.
Did you ever have a dream? The Pitcher is about dreams old and new. A Mexican American boy with a golden arm is coached by a broken down World Series pitcher to make the highschool team. His mother is dying of lupus and is being deported. They have no money. This is a story of overcoming impossible odds.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed writing in the head of a thirteen year old and playing baseball. And I also enjoyed the old pitcher and his habits from twenty years in the majors.
What kind of research (if any) did you have to do for this book?
I was an assistant coach for my son for nine years. That was all the research I needed.
What Inspired you to write this book?
An old pitcher who lived across the street from my mother in law in Florida came out one night from his garage and gave my son some pointers on pitching. It turned out he had pitched in the world series and from that encounter I came up with the idea of The Pitcher.
If you could visit anywhere in the world for 1 week, where would you go?
France. The left bank. I can’t think of any better place for a writer.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The very short chapters. There are fifty-two of them. Rewriting was very hard with all those short scenes.
Do you have a book that you enjoyed reading that would lend itself well to a discussion during a book club meeting? If so, share your recommendation with us.
The Natural. A great baseball novel.
How many books have you written?
Five novels and many manuscripts that will never see the light of day.
Do you have any fall reading or writing plans?
I would like to finish up one of three different books I have started. I am just waiting for a nod from the publisher.
Tell us something about the book or main character that isn’t mentioned in the synopsis.
The Pitcher is really about the love of a mother for her son and how she will do anything for him.
Describe your writing environment for us.
I have a large office over my garage with a wood floor and a weight machine in the middle.
Do you have a favorite line or quote in this book?
We know how to handle all the bad shit. The good stuff is trickier.
How did you come up with the title for this book?
From the old pitcher I met in Florida. He seemed to me the classic pitcher.
If you could pick any one author, which one would you like to co-author a book with?
What makes this book different from other books in the same genre?
It is mythic and written for the ages.
What books were among your childhood favorites and why?
Gone with the Wind. It was a great story.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I wrote my first novel after college. I knew then this was what I wanted to do with my life.
If your book was made into a TV series or movie, who would play your main characters? Feel free to add images.
What time of day do you like to write?
If you had to pick just 2 ways to promote your latest release, which would you choose and why?
Oprah and The Today Show. Massive coverage.
What do you do in your spare time?
I bike and hang with the family. And read. And see friends.
Describe the cover in 10 words or less.
A pitcher throwing the ball right at you.
What’s your favorite thing about Fall?
Football and the leaves changing.
What can your readers expect from you next?
OneUP. A story of two friends who come to blows over a girl one summer.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
The Pitcher is a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Thanks William, for joining us today and we will keep an eye out for OneUP!
“I never knew I had an arm until this guy called out, “Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” I was only nine, but mom said, “come on, let’s play.” This Carney guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole we win a prize. He’s grinning, because he took mom’s five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. That really got me, because we didn’t have any money after Fernando took off, and he only comes back to beat up mom and steal our money. So I really wanted to get mom back something, you know, for her five bucks.”
A boy with a golden arm but no money for lessons. A mother who wants to give her son his dream before she dies. A broken down World Series pitcher who cannot go on after the death of his wife. These are the elements of The Pitcher. A story of a man at the end of his dream and a boy whose dream is to make his high school baseball team. In the tradition of The Natural and The Field of Dreams, this is a mythic story about how a man and a boy meet in the crossroads of their life and find a way to go on. You will laugh and you will cry as The Pitcher and Ricky prepare for the ultimate try out of life.
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