Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Author Interview + Giveaway: Frank Nappi, author of The Mickey Tussler Series

Today we have Frank Nappi here on the blog for an interview and short excerpt from his most recent book. Frank 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.


At what age did you start writing? What inspired you to start writing?

I have always written, to some extent, but my professional endeavors did not begin until 2005 with my first novel Echoes from the Infantry when I was 38.

What made you decide to tackle writing about sports?

I always felt that an amalgamation of my two true loves (baseball and writing) would be the ultimate experience. I was right!

Can you tell us a little bit about the MICKEY TUSSLER books?

In the first book, it is the late 1940s, and the minor league Milwaukee Brewers are foundering yet again and manager Arthur Murphy is desperate. When he sees seventeen-year old Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a barrel, he knows he has found the next pitching phenom. But not everyone is so hopeful. Mickey’s autism—a disorder still not truly understood even today—has alienated the boy from the world, and he is berated by other players and fans. Mickey faces immense trials in the harsh and competitive world of baseball while coping with the challenges inherent to his disorder. An honest and knowledgeable book about overcoming adversity, and the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes, Mickey’s powerful story shows that with support and determination anyone can be triumphant, even when the odds are stacked against him.

The second book picks up right where the first ends. 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.

Did you have to do any research?

Most of my insights into the mind of an autistic person came directly from hands on experience that I procured during my work with Challenger Baseball and Best Buddies.

What things inspire you?

Hmmm... a brilliant sunset, walk on the beach, full moon and many times a kind gesture.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

I spend most of my time with my family, doing things that all of us enjoy.


About the Books
 
 In the late 1940s, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers are foundering yet again and manager Arthur Murphy is desperate. When he sees seventeen-year old Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a barrel, he knows he has found the next pitching phenom. But not everyone is so hopeful. Mickey 's autism a disorder still not truly understood even today has alienated the boy from the world, and he is berated by other players and fans. Mickey faces immense trials in the harsh and competitive world of baseball while coping with the challenges inherent to his disorder. An honest and knowledgeable book about overcoming adversity, and the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes, Mickey 's powerful story shows that with support and determination anyone can be triumphant, even when the odds are stacked against him.




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.



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The Legend of Mickey Tussler 
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