Welcome! This week’s Friday56 and Book Beginnings on Fridays’ choice is…
Happy Friday !
I can’t wait to visit your blogs to find out. Have a great weekend.
May your books be with you!
Luv Sassy X
A Winning Season by Rochelle Alers is very relevant today. Just a little more than a month ago, Major League baseball resumed after being delayed due to the Corona 19 virus. With this story, baseball fans get some of their favorite sport while also being able to see how family, friendship, and second chances plays an important role.
The plot has eighteen-year-old Zoey Allen sacrificing her dreams to become a surrogate mother to her two step-brothers after their parents died. Now ten years later, the oldest, Kyle, has enlisted in the army, and his sixteen-year-old brother, Harper, is finishing high school. But he is a handful, pushing the boundaries and getting into trouble.
Their new neighbor is Sutton Reed, a retired Major League baseball superstar. After Harper attempts to take his car for a joy ride, he realizes that the teen needs a mentor. When Zoey confesses how bad things have gotten, Sutton decides to guide him since he has a soft spot for mentoring troubled teens. Being in close contact with Zoey he starts to realize that there is chemistry between the two of them. She has vowed never to have any romance, while still raising the boys. But her feelings get the better of her and she realizes that Harper is grown enough to understand that she also needs a life. As the attraction and relationship grows between Sutton and Zoey, Harper also steps up to the plate to become a responsible young man.
This is a story that will tug on the readers’ heartstrings with very sympathetic characters. Each one has sacrificed and is selfless whether it is Zoey foregoing her dreams, Sutton using his status and time to become a mentor, and Harper who realizes that he is the protector of his sister.
Elise Cooper: Why the West Virginia setting?
Rochelle Alers: Years ago, I was thinking of doing a period piece set in West Virginia about coal miners wanting to unionize. I saw this film many years ago about how the mine owners brought in the Pinkertons. For this book I thought about where I wanted to set it since I already did other regions. I decided to give West Virginia a shout out. It was perfect for a small-town atmosphere where people look out for each other and have a simpler life.
EC: Are you a baseball fan?
RA: I am a baseball fanatic! I put the Atlanta Braves in the story, but I am a New York Mets fan. After the Dodgers left Brooklyn we became Mets fans. To this day every time I go to a game they lose. The Braves are actually our rivals. I go way back to being a Brooklyn Dodger fan. My aunt would come up during the summer and take us to Ebbets Field. An interesting story. My other aunt was a school teacher and invited Jackie Robinson to meet the class. He actually came and took pictures.
EC: What is the role of baseball in the story?
RA: Baseball is the backdrop. It helped to form the heroes’ personality as a superstar. He is a hometown hero. Because he had such popularity and grew up without a dad he became a role model for other boys who are at risk. He used his celebrity status and money to make the world a little better. I modeled him on Keith Hernandez, the first baseman for the Mets in the 1980s.
EC: How would you describe the retired baseball player, Sutton?
RA: He is a private person who is strong and caring.
EC: How would you describe the sixteen-year-old Harper?
RA: Rebellious, a typical teenager who thought he knew it all. He challenged authority and tested his sister, his legal guardian. But he was also protective of her.
EC: Zoey is a surrogate mother?
RA: She is strong and direct with an old school mom attitude. Zoey is very loving and giving.
EC: Family plays an important role?
RA: I based the plot on a friend who knew this girl whose parents died and she raised her siblings so they would not be put in foster care. When someone loses their parents, they experience loss and abandonment. But Zoey gave the two boys hope and forgave Harper for his actions.
EC: In the story you have them go to Starbucks?
RA: I don’t drink it anymore because I bought a single cup coffee maker and am able to experiment with the different pod flavors.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next book?
RA: It will begin a new series set in New Jersey. All the siblings are foster children. The father was related to a very wealthy family that made their money during the Gilded Age. He left the siblings this huge ancestral home that they want to turn into a venue for weddings after they restore it. I modeled it after the Oheka Castle built in the 1890s. The hero of the first book is an engineer while the heroine is an architectural historian.