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Numbers Game follows a football coach who’s relationship with a reporter turns into something deep and changes the direction of both their lives. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I love stories about athletes, having raised one of them and seen first hand how hard it is to truly achieve those sorts of goals. In fact, all three of my kids played sports of some kind or another in high school and I was always involved somehow — running the concession stand at football and soccer games, helping raise money as a booster, and of course driving to endless practices and attending games all over the U.S. that were necessary to get my youngest to her spot on a Division 1 Big Ten women’s soccer team. We lived in Ann Arbor at the time, and my kids’ school was located directly across the street from The Big House, where Michigan plays football. The town was utterly consumed by football on Saturdays in the fall and that sort of atmosphere was exhilarating to those of use who are sports fans (even if we weren’t Michigan fans per se, we did love living there on football weekends.) I got to meet both Harbaugh brothers (Jim is the Michigan coach) in 2016 when I helped run a fundraising auction and dinner for the high school’s athletic program that we invited them both to attend. It was a rush and meeting one of my favorite pro coaches (John, coach of the Ravens) was a highlight for me.
Desiree is an alum of the University of Michigan and we always made a point to meet up when she’d come to town from Florida to attend a game. I made sure to get her a signed commemorative football from our event and she keeps it on her inspiration shelf in her office. We’re both football fans, and we concocted our fictional Michigan football town with Ann Arbor in mind, without a doubt (even though I cheered for Michigan State …women’s soccer, anyway)!
Hatch and Olivia were intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind the development of their relationship?
We divided up the tasks of writing in their POVs. I wrote Hatch’s and Desiree wrote Olivia’s. It took us almost 2 years to complete this book since we started it as a romantic suspense but it kept turning in a more contemporary, second chances style story the more we wrote. We wanted our characters to both be older than the usual romance standards, both divorced, and having seen the puppet strings behind a marriage, somewhat disinclined to repeat that process. They are laser focused on the goals they’ve set for themselves: Hatch bringing his alma mater’s program back to prominence while leaving his gambling issues behind him. Olivia emerging from a bad marriage and re-capturing her mojo as a sports journalist. But one of the reasons I enjoy writing romance novels is the creation of characters on seemingly separate trajectories that end up colliding, and then what? It’s the “then what” that allows me to show them as people with real emotions, making mistakes, and ultimately recovering and finding happiness.
What was the writing collaboration like with author Desiree Holt?
It was a fun and learning experience. We’ve been published about the same amount of years, but Desires has a lot more books out than I do, as I’ve been working around days jobs while writing. What was amazing and satisfying to me was how well we meshed–keeping egos and pre-conceived notions about how the book should flow out of our equation.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on several things at the moment, but the next book I’m releasing is the final book in a best selling series (Stewart Realty) also set in Michigan. It’s the second generation’s turn to have their happily ever after, and so BACKUP OFFER is a book that is a “ten years later” look at a relationship that fell apart in book 8 — for good, self-care sorts of reasons — and how everything comes back full circle in a mature, gratifying way for the couple in question, as well as for their friend and family. I think “second chance” stories are among my favorite to read and write. My characters are (sometimes too) fallible. They make mistakes, do dumb, human things. But I always redeem them.
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The Mosquito Fleet takes readers through the golden years of the Carlton Football Club. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Football in the late seventies and early eighties was incredibly tribal. The game was yet to go national, so there were terrific suburban rivalries. In Melbourne, Victoria people lived and breathed the game, it was a religion. Matches were exclusively played on Saturday afternoons. The players were semi-professional, they all worked a normal 9-5 job and were able to relate and connect with the general public. I wanted to reconstruct those magical times again.
What was one of the fondest memories of that time?
Carlton had a team lacking height, just four players over 190cm. The Mosquito Fleet had the most gifted and talented group of small players in the competition that captured the football publics imagination with their breathtaking play. On Sunday nights the ABC had a weekly show The Winners that was must-see TV around Australia. It had the weekly results of matches; The goal of the day, Mark of the day, and Play of the Day, and Carlton seemed to feature nearly every week.
What were some of the ideas that were important to explore in this book?
Issues such as addiction to painkillers, depression and mental health were all important to uncover and explore. In the early eighties no one had the knowledge of stress and depression and ‘having a jab’ in an ankle or knee was commonplace. Mental health is a much stronger focus with professional sporting bodies today, but back then they just didn’t have the resources.
Concussion is another one. Several sportspeople have suffered post career with the affects of injuries to the brain.
When and where will you book be available?
The Mosquito Fleet is expected to be released in October this year and should be available in most bookstores and through Shawline Publishing. www.shawlinepublishing.com.au.
Author Link: Facebook
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Numbers Game by Desiree Holt and Liz Crowe is a heartwarming, uplifting, and steamy romance novel centered around the blossoming relationship between sports journalist Olivia Grant and former star quarterback Duncan “Hatch” Hatcher. The two meet as Hatch takes a coaching job at the university that gave him his start in football, and Olivia rejuvenates her reputation as a journalist by filming a documentary about his return. Their romance holds excitement and promise despite the threat of past trauma, the media, and conniving ex-spouses. As they reemerge into the public eye, Olivia and Hatch come together and find support in one another.
Through Numbers Game, Holt and Crowe create a story with a lasting message—restarting your life and finding joy is possible for anyone, no matter what you’ve gone through in the past. I found Olivia’s experience as a career woman incredibly inspiring and relatable. Despite consistent threats from the powerful men around her in her field, she’s able to persevere and make a name for herself without relying on anyone else’s work or input.
I was pleasantly surprised by the conversations around mental health introduced into the story. With a sport like football, there’s often a stereotype that players and coaches need to be incredibly macho and strong, but Hatch’s character is vulnerable about his struggles in life and encourages mental support for the boys on his team. Topics like addiction and trauma aren’t shied away from, and within their relationship Olivia openly supports Hatch when he opens up to her about his past. I loved reading about their genuine connection and care for one another.
I felt that the attraction between Olivia and Hatch occurred quickly in the story, but their relationship ended up following a healthy and well-paced course. I was wary that the romance might feel like an “instant-love” situation, but Olivia and Hatch had realistic conflicts that made sense for the progression of their relationship and prevented it from feeling too idealized.
Numbers Game is an encouraging story of true love and second chances, and I enjoyed every moment reading it. It’s rare that a romance book is so open to discussing darker topics like addiction and abuse in marriages, but Holt and Crowe managed to create a story that introduces a loving couple embracing their flaws and making the best out of every tough situation. If you want to leave a romance story feeling uplifted, this is the one for you!
Pages: 210 | ASIN: B08Z2SHFRK
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The Mosquito Fleet, by Lachlan Waterman, leads us through Carlton Football Club golden years, from Alex Jesaulenko “Jezza”’s strenuous training to the rivalry with Collingwood to their victories and defeats. We are introduced to every member of the team, from the players to the coaches to the rivals and brought into the world of Australian football. Many obstacles are on the way to the win and many advantages are waiting for the team as they train, fight, party and play unforgettable games. All events are precisely recorded with their own date and often characters’ quotes mark the narration pace.
Waterman writes in a surprisingly engaging way and makes the reader part of Carlton’s team. He focuses on small details concerning the characters’ lives making the story heart-warming and intriguing, so as we can feel what both the players and their rivals felt at a given moment.
As a reader keen on details, I appreciated the vivid descriptions accompanied by shreds of interviews and the much-detailed games. Reading those parts felt like watching the game first-hand and adds a sense of reality to the book. In addition to that, focusing on the players life after their career plays an important role in this book as it shows what not being in the spotlight anymore might feel like and what it might lead to.
While I thought the book was an engrossing read, I think the pace of the book was a bit slow at times, long descriptions slow down the book’s rhythm, but the pace quickly picks up again afterwards.
Another interesting aspect of the book is the fact that it takes us through the golden era of the team, but also gives us details on what concerns the players’ lives at the end of their career and during the contemporary pandemic. In the afterword by the author, we go “behind the scenes” of the book and are given interviews and words exchanged between the author and the protagonists.
The Mosquito Fleet by Lachlan Waterman, with its rich and detailed descriptions and extracts from interviews, is an exceptional book that lets the reader explore Australian Football at its finest. I would recommend this riveting book to sport lovers, football lovers and non-fiction readers in general.
Tags: author, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Lachlan Waterman, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, sports, story, suspense, The Mosquito Fleet, writer, writing
A Turbulent Mind: My Journey to Ironman 70.3 shares your inspiring story that will encourage triathletes and motivate any reader. Why was this an important book for you to write?
When I visited India in September 2018, after finishing my first Ironman 70.3 race, I was asked numerous questions by people about open water swimming and what it takes to do a triathlon. Many expressed their fear towards water which prohibited them from even learning how to swim. There were others who were keen to participate in a triathlon someday. I could empathie with their concerns since I too had similar inhibitions. At that time, I decided to pen down my triathlon journey-how I overcame my fear of open water swimming and went on to do a grueling race like the Ironman 70.3 in a year’s time. Barring one or two, there weren’t too many books on triathlons written by Indians and that too by recreational athletes. My purpose of penning down this book was a way to reach out to other aspiring triathletes to inspire them to overcome their fears and reach their goal. Incidentally even non-runners or non-triathletes have managed to resonate with the book.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before training for a triathlon?
For a triathlon and especially Ironman 70.3 race, you end up doing two workouts in a day. At one point, I felt I had no time for anything else. I wish someone had advised me on how to balance your time between training and your personal and professional life.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What were some moments that were important for you to share in this book?
Thank you. Yes, while writing memoir, it’s important to be honest and authentic. Only then will readers be able to relate and empathize with your journey. Some of the most important moments that I wanted to share in this book was the loneliness that I experienced in the Bay Area, particularly amidst the Business School community. The feelings of depression and loneliness was what steered me towards a triathlon in the first place. Another important moment was to write about my childhood fears, my first open water swim and my decision to almost give up my Ironman 70.3 dream. These were also hard to write as there was always this fear of what reads would think of me. Would I seem too whiny? At the end of the day, I am glad I wrote them as these were some of the important moments in my journey.
What are your future triathlon plans?
I will continue doing Olympic distances and Ironman 70.3 races. My ultimate goal is to do a full Ironman which is the 140.6 distance. Maybe in a couple of years down the line. My target race is Ironman California.
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A Turbulent Mind: My Journey to Ironman 70.3 is a motivational book that will have you focus on your strengths and prioritize the most important things in life. The author uses experiences from her life and lessons learned to pass the message of hope and resilience to readers. Shweta Amit uses simple but inspiring language that speaks directly to readers. She is candid in her writing and tells it as it is. Not many people get to open up and be vulnerable to the world the ways Shweta Amit does. I particularly like her style of writing because she considers people from different backgrounds when discussing the various topics in the book. A Turbulent Mind: My Journey to Ironman 70.3 will make you feel like you belong and that your presence is felt.
Shweta Amit shares her journey to achieving the Ironman 70.3. It was never easy but she pushed through. What inspired me about Shweta’s journey was that she made her story relatable to many. She writes about every experience, even the most minute. For someone who had a fear of open water swimming, Shweta really outdid herself. Her story is heartening. Her words will touch that cycler who is afraid of trying the next challenge, runners that feel like giving up and that athlete who is not consistent with their training sessions, and anyone who wants more for themselves.
The author starts by introducing the basics before delving deeper into her life, making the reader understand where she is coming from. If you are looking for an inspirited memoir with amusing and uplifting stories then A Turbulent Mind: My Journey to Ironman 70.3 is the right book for you. Shweta Amit writes beautifully and gets to be funny when narrating some of her experiences. I liked the humor part as it brought levity to overall serious tone of the book, which makes agonizing stories a little less depressing. Her main message is don’t stop.
A Turbulent Mind: My Journey to Ironman 70.3 is a short but engaging memoir. Every experience chronicled is impactful. I liked that the author wrote about her wins, losses, and challenges candidly. This inspirational memoir has the potential to change your life and your outlook on life.
Pages: 162 | ASIN: B08FYWJK82
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Run Taylah Run follows a runner who must use her skills and tenacity to rescue her team from disaster while avoiding danger herself. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?
After many years working in schools and officiating at athletics meets, I had the background to engage the characters in the competitive sections of the story. The story takes place in Queensland, Australia, and the vehicle accident takes place on the Atherton Tablelands of North Queensland which is a “local area” for me. By keeping the content and context local I believed I could add authenticity to the story.
Taylah is an inspirational and invigorating character. What were some ideas that were important to personify in her character?
The key attribute I wanted Taylah to show was humility. Individuals are good at different things and excelling in a field of endeavour should not take away the level approach one needs to navigate life. Because Taylah is the “best” does not distract from her ability to see good in, and encourage, others. With determination comes achievement. With achievement comes confidence. It is that confidence that guides Taylah in all she experiences in the story.
I enjoyed the authenticity of the story. What experience do you have with school sports?
As noted above, I have worked in schools for many years and officiated at many athletics meets. I have seen the high and the lows of students’ participation in interschool sports.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?
I hope readers will gain an insight into the everyday world of a group of high school students and a chance to relate to the characters. I also hope readers will gain a sense of perseverance when face with adversity whether you are young or old.
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