Title: Mudville Madness (nonfiction) The Bridgeport Hammer (novel)
Author: Jonathan Weeks
Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing (Mudville Madness)
Black Rose Writing (Bridgeport Hammer)
Publish Date: May 2014
Tell us a little bit about your writing and educational background
Jon: I grew up in the Capital District region of New York State. A graduate of Linton High School in Schenectady, I received my Bachelor’s Degree from SUNY Albany. I majored in psychology and minored in history with emphasis on medieval studies.
I have dabbled at almost every form of writing over the years from poetry to gothic horror to children’s books. My breakthrough came as a baseball writer.
What is your book about?
Jon: Mudville Madness examines some of the most unusual on-field events in baseball history from the 19th century through the 2013 season. Strange plays, epic brawls and extraordinary accomplishments are arranged in chronological order and recounted in great detail.
The Bridgeport Hammer is a fantasy baseball memoir set in World War II amidst a backdrop of Nazi espionage. The narrative follows the adventures of U.S. counterintelligence agent Emmett Drexler as he attempts to thwart an assassination plot against President Roosevelt. Working undercover as a ballplayer and assigned to the lowly Boston Wranglers, Drexler unexpectedly takes the National League by storm with a quirky blooper pitch dubbed “the Bumpus” by teammates and sportswriters. Can he save the President from extinction and the Wranglers from a last place finish? Pick up a copy and see.
Why should readers read your book?
Jon: The Bridgeport Hammer was originally written as a screenplay and has a real cinematic quality to it. My years of extensive baseball research allowed me to create an authentic narrative. Nearly all of the characters and situations are based on historical fact. Though the names have been changed, avid fans of the sport will undoubtedly recognize many of the characters as composites of real players.
Mudville Madness takes readers on a journey through the weird, wild and wonderful world of baseball. Among my favorite anecdotes is the one about pitcher Ray Caldwell, who was struck by lightning during a game against the A’s in 1919. After lying unconscious for a full minute, Caldwell got up and retired the last batter, completing a four-hit victory. Many of the stories in Mudville Madness seem almost too strange to be true.
Did you have any obstacles while writing this book? What were they?
Jon: To complete The Bridgeport Hammer, I had to overcome a debilitating case of writer’s block that left me unable to produce a coherent work of fiction for more than a decade. I was able to complete a screenplay version of the story, which I later novelized. It was a grueling process and I hope I never experience it again. Writer’s block is said to be caused by anxiety, pressure and self-doubt (among other things). It can definitely be overcome, but you’ve got to work hard at it.
Is this the first book you have ever had published? If not, please share with us what other books you have previously had published.
Jon: My first book, Cellar Dwellers, was released in 2012 through Scarecrow Press. It recounts the exploits of the worst teams in baseball history. My second book, entitled Gallery of Rogues (another Scarecrow Press offering), was released in 2013. It deals with the topic of baseball’s bad boys and outcasts.
Are you working on any projects right now? Tell us about your upcoming book.
Jon: I have one nonfiction baseball project completed, though I haven’t submitted it for publication yet. (Details to follow at a later date) I am currently working on a young adult novel that blends supernatural elements with baseball. In the future, I have another historical novel planned. That one will be set in the sixteenth century.
What is your advice for writers wanting to turn authors out there?
Jon: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Never give up. Find your niche and carry it as far as you can. In the words of English novelist Mary Anne Evans (who went by the pen name of George Eliot): “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
What made you become a writer?
Jon: My father was a very creative man. After an extended gig as a TV weatherman, he worked in advertising. He later became one of the most popular radio talk show hosts in upstate New York. He always encouraged me to find my own creative outlets. I’m grateful to him for that.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Jon: My answer to this question is ever-changing. Over the last year and a half, I’ve been enjoying the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. It’s a creative blend of hard-boiled detective fiction and fantasy/horror. The dialog is funny and well-written. The stories are engaging and complex. Butcher has constructed an elaborate world that rivals the one of Harry Potter. I love these books!
Where can we find you?
Anything you would like to add?
Jon: I am planning two free book giveaways at Goodreads during the month of June. I will also be doing a virtual blog tour for each book in June. Details can be found at the following link:
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