Author Interview with David A. Kelly and Book Giveaway!

7:47 AM Posted by Lori Calabrese

Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))
Author: David A. Kelly
Illustrator: Tim Jessell
Reading level: Ages 4-9
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (February 24, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0375856037

About the book:
Before 1918, the Boston Red Sox were unstoppable. They won World Series after World Series, thanks in part to their charismatic pitcher-slugger Babe Ruth. But some people on the Red Sox felt the Babe was more trouble than he was worth, and he was traded away to one of the worst teams in baseball, the New York Yankees. From then on, the Yankees became a golden team. And the Red Sox? For over 80 years, they just couldn’t win another World Series. Then, in 2004, along came a scruffy, scrappy Red Sox team. Could they break Babe Ruth’s curse and win it all?

About the Author: David A. Kelly has written for many newspapers and magazines, but Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse is his first book for children. Kelly lives 15 minutes from Fenway Park in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife, two sons (Steven and Scott), and a dog named Samantha.

Tell us about your path to publication.
Well, in some respects, writing the book turned out to be the easy part. From my experience, getting a children’s book published takes dedication, some good writing, and lots of patience and persistence. It’s not something that happened quickly for me. I had originally started out writing a different book—a fiction book, also set in Boston. Eventually that manuscript made its way to an editor at Random House, who turned it down. But he provided lots of great feedback for me. I took a year, rewrote the story, and submitted it again. This time, it was still rejected, but the editor loved the appendix to the story—which was a collection of true facts about Fenway Park. The editor then asked if I’d like to try writing a non-fiction book. Of course the answer was yes, so we went back and forth with ideas, and eventually settled on Babe Ruth and the 2004 Red Sox. But even then, it took multiple passes to get the book right. Overall, I was both lucky and persistent.

What sports did you play as a kid?
I played just about all the sports—kickball, baseball, football, basketball—with the neighborhood kids in our backyard in upstate New York. But the only organized sport I played was baseball for about 4 years, although I was never very good. I typically played outfield (like Babe Ruth), but never had much luck hitting the ball. I wasn’t a particularly good fielder either—but I did have fun.

What influence has sports had on your life?
In some respects, it hasn’t had much influence. I wasn’t a “jock” in school or college, and didn’t really pay that much attention to sports until my kids came along. Then, sports became a big deal—soccer, t-ball, baseball, football.

What inspired you to write a children’s book?
I became inspired to write a children’s book back in 2005, when I was spending a lot of time reading early chapter books to my sons, who were in elementary school. It certainly helped that I’d always loved reading and was looking for an alternative to the business, technology and travel writing that I did for my job. I also figured that since children’s books were shorter than adult books, I’d have a decent chance of being able to write one, if not publish one. So I simply looked around for good examples of successful books and spent a fair amount of time analyzing them—looking at how the chapters were put together, how the sentences were written, and the mechanics of the chapters. Overall, it’s been a fair amount of work, but it’s really fun to be working on something creative.

How did you become a Red Sox fan?
Through my wife, Alice. She’d always been a baseball fan growing up, and when my two boys were old enough, she decided that she wanted to start watching Red Sox games with them, since they liked sports. We wouldn’t watch all the game (or the games—they were still in elementary school), but it quickly became a fun activity that we could all share—watching and rooting for the Red Sox. And although I grew up in New York State, I lived in the center of the state, so the kids around my home didn’t really have a favorite baseball team—some liked the Yankees or Mets, while others liked the Red Sox or the Baltimore Orioles.

Now that you're a Red Sox fan, are you still welcome in New York?
Sure. New York fans are great. I even think the Yankees are great—or at least some of them. They have an incredible history, and it’s so much fun to have such a great rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox. It makes it exciting for fans on both sides.

What do you think would have happened if Babe Ruth wasn’t sold to the Yankees?
It’s interesting to consider what would have happened if Babe Ruth had not been sold to New York. Perhaps the Red Sox would have won more World Series. Perhaps the Yankees would not have become such a great team. But I’m sure that Babe Ruth would still have become a star.

Why do you think sports and children’s books fit so well together?
I think that sports and children’s books fit really well together because both boys and girls are so active—they love learning new things, experiencing exciting situations and they love WINNING! (Of course, they can’t win all the time in real life, but reading gives them a taste of what happens when other people play sports.) That’s why reading is so important—they can experience thrilling games, sports and challenges from the comfort of their room, their class or anywhere.

Find out more about David and Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse:
Visit the official Website
An interview at AuthorsNow
Article in Wicked Local Newton

David A. Kelly has graciously offered to give away an autographed copy of his new book to one of our Get in the Game--Read fans. Just leave a comment below requesting an entry.

Four ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 5):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader then let me know in the comments section! Already a subscriber? Simply leave a comment here stating you are already a subscriber and would like an entry.
2nd extra entry: Blog about this giveaway then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (lcalabrese) and tweet about the contest (just hit the TwitThis button at the bottom of this post).
4th extra entry: Facebook about it, then let me know in the comments section.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 at 11:59 PM EST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, May 4th, 2009.

Remember: You can't win if you're not in the game! Play hard!
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  1. Janet said...

    Hi, I enjoyed this interview and would love to have an autographed copy of David's book. Please enter my name. Babe Ruth has always been a favorite baseball hero of mine.

  2. Carey said...

    Please enter my name.

  3. MJ said...

    This would be great. I enjoyed the interview.


  4. Donna M. McDine said...

    Lori and David...terrific interview. I enjoyed learning about David and is journey to becoming a published children's author. Please enter me.

    I'm already a subscriber.

    Best wishes,

  5. Katie said...

    Please enter me in this giveaway! I don't have very many baseball related books in my collection and would love to add this one!

  6. Doret said...

    no entry for me. Wonderful interview. I really enjoyed Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curve. Its a great early reader. The story moves well and its filled with a lot of information. I even learned a few things. Jessell's ilustrations are sparse but beautiful. Even though Ruth was a Red Sox its still weird seeing him in the uniform.

  7. Kathy said...

    ok, enter me - and I just added you to my baseball blog post I wrote the morning
    and I also added you to my google reader.

    great blog, look forward to reading more!


  8. Jen Robinson said...

    As a Red Sox fan, I can't resist entering. I can tell you that I cried in 2004 when they won. It was from thinking about all of those people who lived their entire lives waiting for the Red Sox to win the series. We flew across the country for the parade. So yes, please enter me.

  9. Lori Calabrese said...

    Thanks to everyone who entered. I really appreciate you taking the time to read the interview and leave a comment. I just announced the randomly selected winner today--the winner is Jen Robinson. Hope you enjoy the book, Jen! I look forward to hearing what you think of the book, being a huge Red Sox fan!

    Kathy--thanks for the link and the add. It's greatly appreciated. This blog has been and is still a work in progress, but I hope to spread the word to make it a great resource for sports book lovers!

    All the best,