Time now for another edition of “A Few Questions…” and joining me today on this edition is an author from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has written three fictional baseball novels and is avid Philly sports fan…his name is Allen Schatz.
A-TRAIN: How are you doing today?
ALLEN: I’m great.
A-TRAIN: Alright. Let’s get to the questions. So who or what inspired you to become a writer?
ALLEN: I’m not sure there is a singular inspiration. I heard more than a few times over the years that “you should be a writer”, but for a variety of reasons, I just never got around to it. In 2008, my work situation changed and the opportunity (read: time!) arose and I jumped at it.
A-TRAIN: So looking at your title character, Marshall Connors, where did the name come from?
ALLEN: “Marshall” was the first name my son Michael almost had. My wife and I chickened out on that, but I’ve always had that name stuck in my head so I ran with it. The “Connors” part was random, mostly because it sounded good.
A-TRAIN: How did you determine what kind of life/occupation that Marshall would have?
ALLEN: Marshall is the “me” I never was. He is an extension of me, an alter ego if you will. At one point, I had considered pursuing becoming a professional baseball umpire, but circumstances changed and it didn’t happen. I have been an amateur umpire, however, for the better part of 30 years. I also wanted to make the lead character unique. An umpire is not something one thinks of as an “everyday hero” type profession.
A-TRAIN: You being an amateur umpire, did you incorporate some of your life experiences in your character?
ALLEN: As noted above, yes. My experiences are included in a number of ways. Marshall’s job, where his parents live, the settings for many of the scenes; these are all “real” things from my life. I think it adds to the story by having places and things people can “see” from reality.
A-TRAIN: How many series of books do you plan to write with this character Marshall?
ALLEN: There are no specific plans. A fourth book is in the early stages. Originally, it was not going to be with Marshall, but because of reader interest and requests, I’m changing it to be another in the series.
A-TRAIN: Any plans on adapting your novels to TV or movies?
ALLEN: More than a few readers have suggested these would make fun movies, and I’ve had some thoughts about it, but no definite plans. I have done a little screenwriting and may give converting the first or third book into a screenplay a try and shop it around.
A-TRAIN: Knowing that you are a big baseball fan…is there a baseball player…past or present…that you always wanted to add to one of your novels?
ALLEN: The fourth book has Babe Ruth references. So, yes!
A-TRAIN: You ever thought about writing novels for other sports?
ALLEN: Possibly… but baseball is my first love, so not sure I will. If I did, ice hockey might be next, although some have suggested soccer.
A-TRAIN: Ok, enough serious questions…let’s have some fun. Is that ok?
ALLEN: Fun is good!
A-TRAIN: Who gets in the World Series?
ALLEN: I was pulling for either the O’s or A’s, but both of them went out early. Of the final four, the Tigers are the team that least annoys me, so we’ll say Tigers v. Cardinals with Tigers winning.
A-TRAIN: Do you have any favorite teams outside of the Philly teams? Or that you follow?
ALLEN: Nope. That would be sacrilegious!
A-TRAIN: Thoughts about the NHL lockout?
ALLEN: It is sad. Neither side seems to remember the damage they did from the lost season several years ago. Many fans went away and aren’t ever coming back. The lifelong fans, like me, are now getting stepped on (again). We’ve put up with a lot of crap in the league (bad expansion, bad rules, bad referees, bad management), but like with baseball, we enjoy the game and want to see good hockey. It’s just a shame they can’t consider that.
A-TRAIN: Seeing that you are from Philly, do you think the Eagles need to get rid of Michael Vick? Andy Reid? (state why…)
ALLEN: #FireAndy – and invent a time machine to do it years ago. I don’t think Vick is any worse or better than any other option that would be underperforming with Reid around. I like to say they are good enough to be annoying, but they won’t ever win the Super Bowl… and even less likely to do so with Reid.
A-TRAIN: Where were you when the final out was recorded from the 1980 World Series? (response) How about the 2008 series?
1980 – I was at Ridley Bowl, finishing up my third game in the league I was in. We were bowling, running to the TV, repeat for the entire game. It was awesome.
2008 – I was in a chair in my living room. It was probably a little more awesome because my son was watching (from his home in L.A.) and we got to celebrate together at the parade.
A-TRAIN: Last thing…your Top 5 TV shows you watch?
ALLEN: Let’s go with this: 1) Big Bang (Theory) 2) Modern Family 3) How I Met Your Mother 4) Fringe 5) Parks and Recreation
A-TRAIN: Interesting choices. Alright. Where can they find you?
ALLEN: I’m on Twitter: @raschatz
I’m on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AllenSchatzWriting
I have a website: www.allenschatz.com
Google me too… you’ll get a lot of hits.
A-TRAIN: Where can they find your books?
ALLEN: Everywhere books are sold online. The full list is on my website: www.allenschatz.com/wherebuy.html – the books are available for Kindle, Nook, iPhone, iPad, and many other devices. They are also available in paperback.
A-TRAIN: Any shoutouts you want to give?
ALLEN: I’d like to thank all the fans I’ve developed over the past couple of years. I’ve met some good people via Twitter and FB interactions, present company included. Someday, I hope to meet more of them in person.
A-TRAIN: Thank you so much for your time today.
ALLEN: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
The A-Train signing off. More interviews to come.