Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Interview with Frank Nappi, Author of The Legend of Mickey Tussler

Frank Nappi has taught high school English and Creative Writing for over twenty years. His debut novel, Echoes From The Infantry, received national attention, including MWSA's silver medal for outstanding fiction. His follow-up novel, The Legend of Mickey Tussler, garnered rave reviews as well, including a movie adaptation of the touching story "A Mile in His Shoes" starring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder. Frank continues to produce quality work, including Sophomore Campaign, the intriguing sequel to the much heralded original story, and is presently at work on a third installment of the unique series. Frank lives on Long Island with his wife Julia and their two sons, Nicholas and Anthony.

What is this book about?

The Legend of Mickey Tussler is the story of a 17 year old autistic kid who is mired in the obscurity of a small farm in Indiana in 1948. In addition to his condition, which of course has no name at the time, Mickey possesses the remarkable ability to throw objects (most notably apples) with extraordinary velocity and precision. It appears that his life will never amount to anything more than the day to day toiling on the family farm under the cruel and watchful eye of his cantankerous father Clarence when a most fortuitous encounter with baseball manager Arthur Murphy, a man who himself is struggling with his own demons, alters the trajectory of each of the character's lives forever.

What inspired you to write it?

I wanted to tell a baseball story -- the genesis of the endeavor is my pure love for the game of baseball. I always thought that to combine my first love, which is baseball, with my passion for writing, would be a wonderful creative amalgamation. However, I did not want to re-tell the classic, trite tale that has been told before -- you know, the young talented nobody who is discovered and then makes good on the diamond. So that was a real impediment. However, I soon had the epiphany that if my character were unique -- special in another way too -- that would add a compelling wrinkle to the tale that has never been attempted. Conceiving Mickey Tussler as an Asperger’s kid was what unlocked the whole story.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

The title character, Mickey, is probably my favorite. He is pure of heart yet is a multi-faceted young man who I believe is very engaging.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Fairly smooth I would say. There was a lot of interest in Mickey Tussler right from the onset. Everyone loves baseball and the autism component really touched many people deeply.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Thankfully, I have no regrets. This book, and the sequel Sophomore Campaign, have brought me nothing but joy and they facilitated many wonderful relationships with readers and organizations such as Challenger Baseball and Best Buddies.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Amazon is the best place to purchase all of my books.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes. The trailer may be accessed through my website -

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Time. Honestly, here is no substitute for time -- that is, reaching out to readers through author events, blogs like this one, my own personal blog, etc. I believe that it is important for readers to get to "know" the authors they read.

Based on the novel The Legend of Mickey Tussler,by Frank Nappi

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

I always pass along the same advice that was given to me by Scott Turow after the publication of my first novel Echoes From The Infantry. It is one simple line: just keep writing. This is a very competitive business and success is predicated on getting your work out there to be read. The more opportunities people have to read your writing the more likely you are to succeed.

What is up next for you?

I am presently working on another mystery/thriller and also the third and final installment of my Mickey Tussler series. I am also entertaining a few other ideas as well.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes. I love interacting with my readers. Please feel free to send an email and tell me about yourself and your response to what you have read. This repartee with readers is the best part of the whole experience.

"This book does a very good job of treating gifted kids and teenagers with sensitivity and understanding in coping with and meeting these challenges."
-Alex Rodriguez, NY Yankees

"Speaks powerfully, brilliantly to anyone who loves baseball or anyone who loves a special person who is dealing with the rigors and challenges related to autism."
-Autism Speaks

"The baseball elements really sing; baseball fans will find much to appreciate, while the sports treatment of triumphing over adversity adds crossover appeal to the YA market."
-Publishers Weekly

"Riveting. Rewarding. THE LEGEND OF MICKEY TUSSLER reaches the heart the way Alex Rodriguez reaches the bleachers."
-New York Daily News

The Legend of Mickey Tussler Excerpt Link:

Sophomore Campaign Excerpt Link:

The Legend of Mickey Tussler Book Summary:
In the late 1940s, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers are foundering yet again and manager Arthur Murphy is desperate. When he sees seventeen-year old Mickey Tussler throwing apples into a barrel, he knows he has found the next pitching phenom. But not everyone is so hopeful. Mickey’s autism—a disorder still not truly understood even today—has alienated the boy from the world, and he is berated by other players and fans. Mickey faces immense trials in the harsh and competitive world of baseball while coping with the challenges inherent to his disorder. An honest and knowledgeable book about overcoming adversity, and the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes, Mickey’s powerful story shows that with support and determination anyone can be triumphant, even when the odds are stacked against him.

Prices/Formats: $12.95 paperback, $12.95 ebook
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781616086589
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release: April 1, 2012

Amazon buy link ($12.95):

Barnes and Noble buy link ($12.95):

Kindle buy link ($12.95):

Nook buy link ($12.95):

Sophomore Campaign
Book Summary:

It’s 1949 and eighteen-year-old pitching phenom Mickey Tussler is back with the rejuvenated minor league Brewers in the sequel to The Legend of Mickey Tussler (the basis for the television movie A Mile in His Shoes). Despite Mickey’s proclamation that he will never play baseball again after last season’s violent conclusion, his manager—and now surrogate father—Arthur Murphy cajoles the emotionally fragile, socially awkward boy with autism into giving it another shot. Mickey reluctantly returns to the field and must once again cope with the violence and hatred around him. When a young African American player joins the team, the entire team is subjected to racial threats and episodes of violence, one of which Mickey witnesses firsthand. Struggling to understand such ugliness and hatred, and fearful of reprisal should he tell anyone about what he has seen, the boy’s performance on the field suffers. Mickey now must deal with a side of human nature he scarcely comprehends.

Prices/Formats: $12.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
Pages: 280
ISBN: 9781616086633
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release: April 1, 2012

Amazon buy link ($12.95):

Barnes and Noble buy link ($12.95):

Kindle buy link ($12.95):

Nook buy link ($12.95):

Frank Nappi's Web Site:

Frank Nappi's Blog:

Frank Nappi's Facebook:

Frank Nappi's Twitter:

Frank Nappi's Goodreads:

The Legend of Mickey Tussler Goodreads:

Sophomore Campaign Goodreads:

A Mile in His Shoes (movie) link:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

The Legend of Mickey Tussler/Sophomore Campaign blog tour site:

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

Cheryl, as a Dean Cain fan, I'm glad you discovered a new movie to watch. Thanks for inviting Frank by for an interview, to talk about the books that inspired it.