For this week's Book of the Month features, Jennifer E. Smith has graciously agreed to ask your questions, plus more! So go ahead and read on!
Is baseball a passion for you? If not, how did you decide to write about this sport?
Not to give away too much, but did you ever know anyone who was in the same position as Nick?
There’s a line in the book where Ryan says that she’s not a baseball fan, she’s a Cubs fan. This is exactly how I feel. If you were to ask me who the best pitcher in the American League is, I’d have no clue. If you wanted to know who won the World Series in 1978, all I could tell you is that it certainly wasn’t the Cubs. I think baseball is a great sport, and there are very few ways I’d rather spend the afternoon than at a ballpark. But I’m pretty much only a Cubs fan, and always have been.
And as for your second question, the answer is yes, unfortunately.
How long did it take you to write The Comeback Season?
It only took about six months from beginning to end.
How did this story come about?
I was watching the Cubs lose for about the millionth time one night, and when I flipped to another channel, the movie “Fever Pitch” was on. It got me thinking about how Cubs fans have an equally tragic history, and how they deserve to have their story told too, and then the image of Ryan sitting on the train on her way to the ballpark just sort of popped into my head. I didn’t know what would happen next, but that first scene came to me so clearly, that I just sat down and started to write.
You had some very rich and interesting characters in The Comeback Season. Was there any one that was harder to write and develop than the others, or any one character that was easier to write?
I think Ryan was the easiest to write, just because she’s probably the most like me. Our lives and circumstances and situations are very different, of course, but the way she reacts to situations is pretty much the way I’d react, and so I was already inside her head to a certain extent. The hardest ones to write were probably the other girls, especially Lucy, since they weren’t always all that nice, but it was also kind of fun figuring out what they’d do or say next.
Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes, another YA book called You Are Here, about a boy and a girl who come from different backgrounds and seem like complete opposites, until they get thrown together on a sort of haphazard road trip, and find out they’re a lot more similar than they thought. It’ll be out in Summer 2009.
Okay, here's a fun little exercise for you. Name your favorite book in each of the following categories:
Adult: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Young Adult: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Childrens: Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Science Fiction: The Road by Cormac McCarthy (this is a stretch, but I don’t really read science fiction!)
Historical Fiction: The March by E.L. Doctorow
Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you or your book?
It’s available in stores now! (Just kidding.) (Sort of.)
Is there anything I didn't ask that you wish I had?
Do you think that in spite of their 100-year losing streak, the Cubs are the best team in baseball? Why yes, yes I do! Thanks so much for asking!
Thanks so much!
If you haven't already, be sure to enter this month's drawing to win a copy of The Comeback Season! Click here to find out how to enter!