Anyone who knows me well also knows I have absolutely no hand eye co-ordination whatsoever. Consequently, I’m always intrigued by sports of any kind requiring that very skill. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Steve Dressing to Linda’s Book Bag as I have a feeling I might just learn something as he tells me about one of his books as we stay in together.
Staying in with Steve Dressing
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Steve. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
I’m happy to be here! Thank you for inviting me and I love how you decorated the place!
(That’s very kind of you. Not too many cat ornaments I hope!)
Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’ve decided to bring Game Keepers. The book is my debut novel, so it’s very important to me and it seemed fitting to bring it along. It’s great to have finally published my first book, but the journey to get here may be what I enjoy the most about this whole process.
(Oo – interesting. Tell me more.)
I’ve always turned to writing in the forms of poetry, creative writing, and storytelling from middle school to graduate school, but writing became much more important to me later in life. After the last of our three children began elementary school, my wife, Julie, and I decided that one of us needed to stay home to support them. We agreed that I would be the one and I’ve been very happy with our choice! Our oldest daughter was just beginning to write in school at this time and would come home every day with a different story in her hand. This and my experiences helping at the school and coaching Little League baseball helped me rediscover my passion for creative writing. Seeing the pressure they faced from demanding parents, teachers, and coaches, I wanted to empower children to be themselves through my stories.
(That sounds a fabulous reason for writing.)
My early books didn’t see the light of day, however, and I returned to my roots as an environmental scientist, working part-time while the kids grew into young adults. However, with the change in leadership at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year, work became scarce. My adult children encouraged me to return back to my true love: writing. Publishing this book was fifteen-year journey, but I’m very happy about that. I just hope others can enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
(Fifteen years may feel like a long time Steve, but other authors who’ve stayed in with me have had similar experiences. I’m glad you finally made it!)
What can we expect from an evening in with Game Keepers?
You can expect an evening where you can completely be yourself, one where you don’t feel the pressures from the outside world.
(That’s a book I could definitely do with!)
Game Keepers uses baseball as a theme to address some of the challenges kids face trying to enjoy doing what they love when confronted with relentless pressure from parents and coaches to be the best. You may experience a little magic as well. The book takes a turn when the kids of the Waterfalls Youth League escape into an underground world “Down Home” and encounter magical creatures that help them become better at baseball. Most importantly, though, an evening with Game Keepers would lead to an adventure you would never forget. The experience would bring out your inner child and encourage you to follow your dreams.
(Well we all need a little magic in our lives occasionally…)
Here’s a reader’s review:
to Young Folks: If you love to play — or know someone who does — you’re sure to enjoy this book. The kids seem very real, the adventures (and mysteries!) pull us in and make us want to stay!
to Parents and other Grown-ups: It’s a delightful read! Many characters can be visualized as around the reader’s own age. The team includes both girls and boys, and characters whose enthusiasms reach to music and reading, as well, so non-athletic young readers will find much to draw them too. As an adult, I enjoyed references to Wonderland’s white rabbit, the secret underground world, and the untalented-but-persevering apprentice, to name a few. I especially appreciated the explanation of how I, too, may have had amazing experiences but not remember!
(You must be delighted with that reaction to your writing.)
What else have you brought along and why?
I wanted to bring right outfielder, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees but his schedule was a little full.
(Ah! Now as a British reader I have no idea who that is!)
I decided to bring my Little League patch from 1968, the year my all-star team made it to the state championship finals in New York. I still remember the joy of that experience. We were a very good team, but very lucky as well. Back then it was single elimination, one loss and you go home, so every game mattered. We came back from behind to win several games during the tournament, but ultimately lost in the semi-final by blowing a lead. My memories of that experience are what I hope for today’s kids when they compete in sports, music, or whatever interests them most. I felt no pressure to perform and just worked hard because I loved the game.
(That looks like a very precious and treasured possession Steve.)
I also decided to bring a photo of me with my Dad because it shows both of us smiling and simply enjoying the baseball experience together. I don’t remember him ever giving me grief for the many failures I had in baseball, but I do remember the pats on the shoulder. He was the local American Legion Commander when I played American Legion baseball as a teenager. I remember being nervous about him traveling on the bus with us for a playoff game, but all he had to say later was that we had some crazy guys on our team that made him laugh. We had fun.
(That’s such a wonderful photo. He must have been very proud of you.)
Thank you so much for staying in with and chatting all about Game Keepers Steve. I have a feeling your book would have made quite a difference to me as a child. I wish you every success with it.
Baseball is no longer fun for the kids in the Waterfalls youth league after the playoff game ends in an ugly argument among parents and coaches. The players leave the ballpark in shame, but big George Starr kicks at the ground and everything changes.
An amazing adventure begins as they discover a magical world underground, Down Home, and encounter strange and magical beings who help them play better and have fun. Trouble begins, however, when several players break the rules of this new world.
An intruder presents them with a far greater challenge.
Can the kids of the Waterfalls youth league stop this trespasser and save Down Home without breaking more rules and risking permanent banishment?
Published by Number 6 Publishing, Game Keepers is available for purchase here.
About Steve Dressing
Steve Dressing was born in Waterloo, New York, and was the youngest child in a family of nine. Growing up, Steve developed a passion for baseball, reading and music. Legend has it that Steve learned how to catch the day he learned how to walk. Before publishing his first work, Steve worked as an environmental scientist in the EPA. He became inspired to write Game Keepers while coaching Little League in Alexandria, VA.
You can find out more via Twitter @Number6Publ and Facebook.