A Few Questions…with Allen Schatz

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?

ALLEN:

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.

Remember to check out his books including the very first one…

The A-Train signing off. More interviews to come.

THE A-TRAIN RANT 5.0!

After letting a week go by without doing my rant…I actually have one in me.

So……

  1. Shoutout to all the referees getting their jobs back and their deals were worked out. Let’s see how long it takes before fans are ready to lynch them all over again and be like…”Bring back the replacement refs.” Don’t tell that to a Packers fan though. *Smiles*
  2. Sunday was a good day for a St. Louis sports fan…Cardinals and Rams won. Any hope for the Blues though?
  3. About those Cardinals, despite the fact they won 2 out of 3 games against the Washington Nationals, I’m still ticked off about the decision made to pitch to red-hot Kurt Suzuki in the extra-inning affair of the 2nd game (Cardinals lost). Can’t do that come playoff time.
  4. Missouri beat Central Florida…big whoop. Alabama is next for them. I’ll let you figure that result.
  5. Speaking of the Rams, the defense is awesome. Amazing how, in the game against the Seahawks…defense and special teams scored all of their points. Offense scored zero. No TDs. That’s a problem and you got to lace them back up again on Thursday night against a re-surged (at least what we know of) Arizona squad (who just beat Miami in OT).
  6. The Kansas City Chiefs suck. The game against New Orleans was a fluke. Where’s Bob Fescoe (of 610 Sports Radio in KC) and his rant now? I’ll wait.
  7. NBA season is around the corner and so is NBA 2K13 (coming Oct. 2nd)
  8. (Even though I don’t like the team) Shoutout to Homer Bailey of the Cincinnati Reds, pitching baseball’s 7th no-hitter of the season. Damn, should we check pitchers for steroids now?
  9. Hockey season here yet? Hockey fans just suck it up and watch the NBA. Sorry.
  10. Kevin Garnett needs to retire from basketball if he’s going to act like an ex-wife. “Me and Ray Allen are not speaking to each other.” What the green and orange hell?
  11. I agree with Bomani Jones, Rasheed Wallace needs to coach. He gets his head on straight (pure longshot), I think he could do an awesome job. I don’t think he needs to play anymore. If you look at ‘Sheed, he could have been a dominate force in his career. DOMINANT. Awesome shooter, good post moves, and play crazy good defense. Maybe that was just with Detroit…but he was good though.
  12. Tiger Woods was the real reason that the US lost the Ryder Cup…nobody will really say that though. But I will. Hell, I like Tiger.
  13. Somewhere a Drew Brees hater is laughing his ass off. Saints now 0-4 after losing by 1 to the Packers.
  14. The NFC West is the best division in the NFL. Take that, NFL! Since the new alignment in 2002, I think this is the 1st time that this division has all of their teams at .500 or better.
  15. Cam Newton and the Panthers defense…YOU ARE THE “N THE ZONE” IDIOTS OF THE WEEK! Cam, if you’re going to do an ATL dance…do it after the game when you win. Panthers defense…learn the prevent defense.

I’m done. Not as big as I hoped. It’s all good though.

Thanks again to Nadine Liverpool (of SportsNAYtion) for that wonderful interview. Coming up, I’ll have author Allen Schatz with and discuss some of his baseball writings. Plus, looking forward to hopefully interviewing Jay Randolph, Jr. and Sara Bruce of the St. Louis sports radio show, “The Big Phat Sports Show.”

Stay tuned.

The A-Train