Very proud to announce my appearance on the Phil Naessens Writers Showcase Podcast. Besides reading from Skater in a Strange Land, I had a blast telling Phil, among other things, what three books I'd take to a desert island.
Phil also asked what authors influence me today, and I regret not remembering to say Jack London. I'll have a post on that soon.
It was a great pleasure to talk to Phil and discuss the book with someone who liked it, and I got some substantial insight from him as a reader to an author.
Besides being an avid reader with a writer's podcast, Phil hosts a sports show and is a sports guy. He has a popular Internet radio talk show where his substantial sports knowledge is on display. Phil is also the owner of and resident professional at an American Tennis Academy in Corfu, Greece.
So it probably shouldn't have come as a surprise to me that Phil's favorite part of Skater was the characterization of Skater's hero, Sherm Reinhardt, and the description of the Borschland Hockey League games in which Sherm plays:
Skater in a Strange Land, apart from the talking bears, foxes, phase shifts and the like could actually be written about any average athlete with dreams of playing in the big time... Sherm leaving home to travel to Borschland in order to further his career is a journey many of us have taken and I felt a certain kinship with him... Frauenfelder was spot on with the vernacular of a pro hockey player and his description of the hockey games in Borschland made me feel like I was actually watching the game in real life.
Nevertheless, I was surprised, and I think I was surprised because all of the readers of the book to this point have focused on other things besides the hockey and the sports angle. My writing colleague Bob Mustin, for example, wrote in his review of Skater that "I think of hockey like I think of pro wrestling." In other words, not too highly.
I've had fantasy readers enjoy the book, and romance fans have something to cheer about as well. But Phil was the first reader who comes from a sports perspective.
So, I am reminded again that every reader comes to a story uniquely. And that good literature works as a mirror, helping readers to see themselves in another person's story. I hope that Skater is good enough that every reader will come away from the book with a sense that it spoke to them personally. Beyond that, like Sherm Reinhardt, I'm just happy to be in the game.