Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest Blog: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt, author of The Card, has written a great guest post to go along with my review of his book. Please go and check out the previous posting to learn all about the book and Jim. Enjoy!

I want to thank Laura for the opportunity to guest post on The Book Tree. This is a little bit of a scaring proposition. My Young Adult novel certainly sits outside the box of what you might typically find here.

Many people, even close friends, are surprised to find me publishing my debut novel. They wonder where that person came from. “I didn’t know you were a writer?” is a line I have heard hundreds of times in the past month. Thinking back, I have gone through life writing, just not novels.

I entered and won an essay contest during the 1970’s, while in high school. This provided me with a $500 savings bond. I guess I became a professional at an early age. Most would expect to hear a story of how this catapulted me into a life of inspired writing, but alas, I was a high school student. The other winning aspect to the essay contest was the chance to work in professional baseball. Therefore, in a roundabout way, I suppose that this did have a profound impact on my future writing.

After living any kid’s childhood dream, I returned to the real world. I completed a Master’s of Education degree in Exercise Physiology, not exactly the normal path of an aspiring writer. Honestly, writing wasn’t even a thought at the time, because I was so busy … writing! I wrote research abstracts and full-length peer reviewed papers while conducting research in everything from diabetes, to end-stage renal disease, to low-back strength in Professional Basketball players.

After a couple of decades of writing everything from research to advertisement copy to company public relations pieces, I realized that I loved to write. Now it was time to write what I wanted to write.

I struggled with the concept of “wasting time” writing for fun. I produced pieces of the puzzle, threw it out there, and asked those closest to me if I was crazy to try this. My support group was wonderful and gave me the confidence to proceed.

When asked, “Why Young Adult?” I don’t hesitate to answer. This question really has a two-part answer.

First, over the past few years, an explosion of paranormal romance, vampires and other creatures, in the Young Adult marketplace, has occurred. There seemed to be a dearth of mystery/action/adventure in Young Adult novels set in our REAL world. Therefore, my initial reaction was that I could help fill that void.

Secondly, I spent eight years working in a Major League clubhouse. There are stories to tell about what goes on behind-the-scenes in that exclusive club. Naturally, I combined the two concepts to develop the mystery that is set in Seattle, Washington, where the main character works in the Visiting Team Clubhouse.

I brought in some of the habits that I learned throughout my life to develop a writing process. On the other hand, maybe it was more of an idea than a process. I outlined the concept on the front end, and then set out to write. I tried to put in a 2,000-word goal daily, but that seemed to evaporate, as my real job would get in the way. I found that as the story grew, I really wanted to write more and more.

As you know by now, I love research. For me that is the easy part of writing. My story has some scientific basis to it, sort of like a Michael Crichton type of influence (by no means am I comparing myself to him, though) and I studied a lot of the cutting-edge research that is underway at some of the big institutions around the country. I wanted the book to be just ahead of what we might see coming down the road in the world of nanotechnologies and other really cool things. Additionally, the baseball stadium in Seattle, Washington, Safeco Field, plays a big role in the setting of the story and I went behind the scenes there, to places many people don’t venture, so that I could help the reader live that part of the novel.

In the end, I want readers to have fun. The story is a true roller coaster ride. In the beginning, you spend some time getting to know the characters, but then, look out! Beyond the fun, there is a message hidden inside. The growth that the main character undergoes, translates into some big-time life lessons that anyone could benefit from, especially the young adult population.

I am currently working on the next in the series of the Van Stone Novels, due for release in the late fall.

The Card is available at these online outlets:


Kindle Edition

All other e-book editions

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