Many popular TV shows feature stories “ripped from the headlines.” And movies “based on a true story,” seem to do well at the box office. As an author, I am often inspired by things that happen in the news, or the world of sports. My upcoming book, Worth The Trade, was inspired by a trade the San Francisco Giants made in 2012. I loved the way Hunter Pence showed up at the ballpark and stole all Giants fan’s hearts. From the moment he pulled up to the ballpark in a limo, the fan in me loved his enthusiasm. And the writer in me started thinking what if… What if his new, and female, owner was in that limo? And what if she was determined to prove to herself and the league that she could run a team? What if they fell in love?
The More Than A Game series takes place in San Francisco, but the team is the Goliaths, not the Giants. For one thing, I wanted to have more leeway with player and management personnel. That way I can combine Hunter Pence and Javier Lopez. I can use Brandon Crawford’s hair and Sergio Romo’s beard to add character traits. But I can make the shortstop blond and single. I can make the owner a young woman and the manager a former catcher.
When Hunter Pence’s Scooter was stolen, I really wanted to work a similar storyline into my next book. But then the real story got too big, with a great ending. For details, see the following.
But I wonder how much real-life is too much? I don’t want my characters to be exactly like the real-life players I love. Especially since most of my favorite players are married. But I will take little details that fellow Giants fans will recognize. A mention of chicken enchiladas or the Olive Garden might gain a chuckle to those in the know without confusing those who don’t know which players I’m referring to.
With 162 games a season, baseball becomes a part of my life. A lot of it is going to show up in my work. I have to remember that although I’m inspired by real ballplayers, my books are works of fiction.