I enjoyed reading Ed, Not Eddie and will be posting a review tonight or tomorrow.
Occasionally for my blog I like to ask a few questions of an author but I have come to prefer asking them during a letter rather than as a series of questions.
I love baseball. The joy of the game has kept me playing ball for 55 years. My family has been playing ball in Saskatchewan for over 90 years.
In each of the Eli Sharpe mysteries there are moments when Eli returns to his ball playing days for memories of his performance or lack of performance in games yet the books have not delved into the game experiences of the individual ball players featured in your books.
Your themes have been taken from the business of baseball – the impact of big contracts on young players in Go Go Gato, the value and importance of baseballs from significant major league moments in Split to Splinter and the professional prospects of a talented woman pitcher in Ed, Not Eddie.
There is a moment of on field action with Ed but less than an inning. I would have been very interested to see how you would have described her play in several games and reactions to the game action.
I thought The Art of Hitting by Chad Harbach was a great book. Chad combined the joys and challenges of playing the game with the issues of life off the diamond.
I would be interested in knowing why you have not given actual game action a significant role in your series.
I would further ask if you are contemplating the addition of game action to future books in the series.
I was intrigued, more appalled, by the religious based protesters objecting to Ed becoming a professional ballplayer.
Do you think such a protest would happen in real life in America? I would have thought with the number of young women in every state at university on sports scholarships and other women playing professional sports it would not be an issue even in the southern states.
In Saskatchewan there would not be such a protest.
In addition to playing ball I am an inductee as a builder in the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame and currently First Vice-President.
Through the Hall I was able to meet the 24 women from Saskatchewan who played in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940’s and 1950’s. I admired their determination to be professional ballplayers.
The women of that league were accomplished players and drew good crowds to their games. I have often wondered where women’s ball would be in the sports world if the league had continued.
About 20 years ago the Hall held a special induction dinner to induct all of the women from Saskatchewan who played in AAGPBL into our Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame.
Alison Gordon wrote a fine mystery, Prairie Hardball, focused on and around the real life banquet.
Have any of your books been inspired by a real life event?
If you have time to reply I would be glad to post it with this letter.
Cheers for reading and reviewing Ed, Not Eddie. I’m delighted you enjoyed the book.
When I originally began writing this series, I envisioned the stories moving very quickly, so describing actual game action was not something I felt I could (or should) include. Too, while I love baseball and could discuss—at great length—the endless subtleties and nuisances of the game, I wanted (and want) the novels to appeal to more than just baseball fans. The Art of Fielding is also one of my favorite novels, and there are some wonderful and poetic descriptions of baseball, but, alas, that book is not about baseball—and neither are my Eli Sharpe books. All that said, now that I’ve established Sharpe’s character in the first three novels, I feel like I’m free to delve into his past and, possibly, show him in action. We’ll see. These books are homages to the classic P.I. stories I began reading and loving in graduate school. Chandler. MacDonald. Crumley. Cain. The flawed characters, especially Sharpe, and the keep-em-guessing plots are what's most important to me. But really, as long as readers enjoy them, I'm a happy camper.
As for the protests in Ed, Not Eddie. . .regrettably, yes, they could happen here in America, particularly the Deep South where this novel is set. I’m not suggesting that all southern states and cities would have a similar reaction to a star female athlete, but having lived in the south my whole life (North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, namely), I can assure you that there are some unenlightened people who would feel strongly about a woman playing a so-called man’s game. Anyway, in the fictitious town of Cook, South Carolina, where the story is set, the protests are real, and important to the plot.
I don’t draw on real life events for plots, but I definitely draw on real places. Cook, South Carolina, for example, is a reworked and hyperbolic version of Hartsville, South Carolina, where I live with my wife and son. I drew on a real life place again in a forthcoming novel of mine entitled Alphabet Land. That one is set in a corrupt, crime-ridden neighborhood where all the streets are named after letters. There is a similar place in a town near where I live, except it is called Alphabet Hill. I've been warned by a friend of mine to never go down there. . .ever.
The Eli Sharpe series is, more or less, just wish fulfillment. When I was a kid, I wanted to either be a professional baseball player or a private eye. Then, during college, I discovered hard-boiled detective stories and I loved writing, so I just tossed all those ingredients into a pot, simmered them for a while, and Go Go Gato was what I came up with. Oh, and I, like Eli Sharpe, am obsessed with Richard Nixon.
****Everhart, Max - (2014) - Go Go Gato; (2015) - Split to Splinters and How Much is a Baseball Worth?; (2015) - Ed, Not Eddie