– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘More Than A Game’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England, and now lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife, two cats and a dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and of course a good book. His world is balanced by his obsession with comic books, quality TV, global events and the great outdoors.
Sabina Park Rangers is the first team of black players to reach the final of the Watney’s Challenge Cup. But coach Horace McIntosh has more selection problems than most. The First Division champions want to sign one of his best players – and right up until the day of the match he is uncertain that he will have a team for the biggest game in the club’s history because of arrests, a scam and an atmosphere of impending violence.
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
In my mid 20’s before cell phones were around, a good friend of mine, Don, living in Ireland, would keep in touch by mail. Humour was the common theme of our written exchanges – a tally of actual events that I knew Don would find entertaining. What I didn’t anticipate was that Don would read these tales I wrote to his dinner guests who would find them quite entertaining. Eventually Don suggested we put our writing talents into a book. Interestingly, we have never attempted a solely humorous work!
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Very rarely do I go back to a book that I’ve already read and considering that I read very few books as a child, I can’t think of any. However, as a kid I had very little time for books, much preferring to dwell in the fantasy realm of ‘Marvel’ comics. Enter the Dragon was the first real book that left me saying ‘wow’. I know…I know, it’s hardly Margaret Atwood but what can I say, it nudged me onto the tracks to where I am today.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Stephen King – who wouldn’t want to know what makes him tick?
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Justine Manley from the book – ‘Love, Lies and Bleeding’, the main character in my next book to be released shortly after ‘More Than A Game’. This is a crime thriller that starts off in Canada and migrates to England. It chronicles a black female private investigator on the heels of a human trafficking gang. I’m giving serious thought to turning this book into a trilogy. I would ask Justine questions regarding her motivations, her back-ground and her family. From ‘Love, Lies and Bleeding’ it’s obvious that she has a conflicted personality, a challenging relationship with her boyfriend and is often grappling with life itself. Is there a reason behind this? Perhaps her history as an immigrant plays a role? All questions I’d like her to answer before attempting the trilogy!
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
None really, but I keep a paper and pen at my bedside should an idea come to me in the night.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
As they say, real life is often stranger than fiction. I constantly monitor news media. Eventually something will spark an idea that I can develop and run with.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a plotter in forming rough plot or guide lines. Then, I can become a pantser and see where the story takes me.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Just do your own thing, persevere and try not to chase the latest trends.
What are your future plans as an author?
Along with turning the next book into a trilogy, I would like to attempt a science fiction novel. Always been a lover of sci-fi, especially movies. This would be a blast as the infinite creative liberties are truly exciting.
Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Before I begin to tell you, what befell the young men who made up the Sabina Park Rangers football team, I feel I should first give you a few ideas about the place and time in which they played.
The place was a town in decline called Wolverhampton. It was principally known for the factories and foundries that, for the most part, no longer existed and the Wolves team that had won the League Championship three times during the 1950s. Besides footballers such as Billy Wright, Jimmy Mullen, Ron Flowers and, much later, Derek Dougan, one of its most well-known inhabitants was the local MP Enoch Powell. He represented the town for almost a quarter of a century and in an infamous speech he drew a nation’s attention to a fading political career when he made it clear that he did not want so many black and brown people in England. Whatever the other consequences, his speech linked the name of Wolverhampton with prejudice and anti-immigrant movements for a very long time to come. No one involved with Sabina Park Rangers, who were all of a Caribbean background, could tell you what Powell had said. But they knew, if only because of the reaction in the media, that there had been no mention of an appreciation of the spirit of calypso or reggae music – and he certainly wasn’t looking to embrace any of his West Indian constituents whilst proclaiming ‘One love!’
This story took place in 1981. As I recall, it was a time of unreliable cars and scratchy vinyl records, of industrial strife and mass unemployment, most of which was blamed on the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was doing a fair impression of the Wicked Witch of the North. People who had become surplus to her requirements reacted to her government’s policies throughout the land with protest, riot and rage.
To me, the early 1980s now seem a strange and backward time: there were no mobile phones, nor home computers; there were only three terrestrial stations and no satellite TV. It was a time of different labels and descriptions: Starbursts were called Opal Fruits and Snickers were Marathon bars. It was a time when Michael Jackson was still black and people of a skin tone similar to the one he was born with were called nig-nogs in British TV sit-coms – just for a laugh.
The Sabina Park Rangers players were not the sort to watch a lot of TV; they were too busy with other things. In varying degrees of intensity, it was football that was their passion. Football was so woven into some of their lives that life without it seemed unimaginable. For other members of the team, talented as they were, it was simply something for them to do, as most of them had left school without any real chance of getting a job. It was hard for anyone to find work back then, but it was even more difficult if you were black. Amongst a few other things, it was the vexation caused by the lack of job opportunities that had led to widespread rioting during the previous year.
During the riots of 1980 in nearby Birmingham, some of the people I’m going to tell you about evaded police road-blocks and joined in the mayhem. Some wanted to bounce a few ‘rakstones’ off the heads of policemen in revenge for the harassment that was part of their daily lives, while others saw the rioting as a rare business opportunity. A fleet of vans and small trucks carried off such a large number of electrical appliances that six months later it was still possible to buy a very cheap, brand new video recorder, washing machine, or fridge-freezer in Wolverhampton, if you knew where to go.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Ralph Robb.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!