Every once in a while, I remember why I love being a writer. My modest goal is to have my books read by as many people as possible, to get good constructive feedback from readers and periodically hear how my book touched somebody’s life in a positive way. I had one of those moments a few days ago.
I had sent out a single book to a reader who wanted a copy for her daughter, but could not afford the bookstore or online price. After a few weeks, I got a private message on Facebook from the reader’s mother, expressing how much the book meant to her daughter.
The mother explained that my book had changed her daughter’s life. The girl, who is overcoming a slight learning disability, struggled with the story at first, but persevered to the end and loved the main character, Kayla Burbadge. She said that after reading Reversal, her daughter is becoming more independent and is less reliant on others for help. She went on to explain that the daughter has been willing to challenge herself to participate in activities that she’d previously been fearful of. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Mom explained that for the first time ever, the young girl is looking forward to returning to school in the fall (middle school, no less)!
So while riches, movie deals and critical acclaim may elude the majority of working writers, every once in a while, you get a reminder of what is really important about this work – having the ability and opportunity to positively impact a young person’s life.
“A refreshing viewpoint that addresses females participating in male-dominated sports”. The latest book reviewer gives Reversal, the YA novel by Eric Linne, 4 Stars.
Why they liked it
Christy wrote: “I enjoyed this story. I empathized for Kayla and her situation. The author nailed her internal struggle perfectly. Lots of issues were well addressed in this book. I followed Kayla as she encountered prejudice, loss, depression, bullying, war veterans and their stories, foster children, troubled youth, ethnic diversity, culture shock (big city life to small town life), abuse, and much more.
Most of the characters were very well thought-out.
You don’t often see a book that addresses females participating in male-dominated sports. It is a refreshing viewpoint. I also liked that Kayla began to heal from her grieving. She began to find beauty and laughter and love in her life again. I appreciate the author’s voice, and the way he brought everything together.”
What they questioned
The reviewer “didn’t get a good sense of Kayla’s physical features, though. What color was her hair? Her eyes? I always visualize characters as I am reading, but her face was fuzzy. I would have liked a bit more about Hollis and Arthur and their stories as well. Why is Arthur afraid of a few teammates? Why does Hollis follow Kayla around so much? If Hollis likes her, why isn’t he showing it more?”
The full Review
To read the entire book review, click here.
The article was submitted by Carolyn Statler of Three Sisters Books and Gifts:
“Some of you may know Eric Linne, a former Shelbyville resident. He is the author of a new book, Reversal. The target audience is young adult/teen and the protagonist is a fourteen-year-old girl. However, as many of you have discovered, our young adult section is a place to find many great books that adults will enjoy. Reversal is one of those books.
Reversal is the story of Kayla who has experienced a tragic loss when her parents are killed in an automobile accident. The closest family she has is a cousin of her father’s who agrees to take her in. This is not a family she knows well and a family already strapped for money and three children of their own. Moving to their home also entails leaving Chicago where she has always lived and taking up residence in the attic of her new home in the little fictional town of Sheffield, Indiana. Consumed by grief and anger, Kayla is having a great deal of trouble adjusting to her new life.
The story begins in a sort of “Cinderella” fashion. Kayla is given an unfinished attic room which was never intended to be a bedroom complete with a pull-down ladder to reach it. She is given many chores including feeding two ferocious dogs. The two older children seem to dislike her heartily (although the youngest seems to like her a lot) and her sort-of step-mother appears to be constantly annoyed at Kayla’s very presence. Add to the pressures at home are the pressures of being a new kid at school, especially when you resent being there at all.
Linne does a wonderful job of portraying life in a small Midwestern high school. You can almost experience the sounds and smells. Nothing ever quite smells like a school. Linne also captures the character of Kayla as she moves from grief and resentment to healing and acceptance. One of the points that LInne makes more than once which should be helpful to teen readers is that there are always some adults at any school who are willing to listen and truly want to help. I think the story is realistic in that Kayla does not want to ask for help and is most reluctant to accept it when it is offered. Linne has sympathetically and with amazing understanding given voice to a fourteen-year-old girl.
Local readers will enjoy the many direct and oblique references to Shelbyville and Shelby County. I will leave it to readers to discover those references themselves.
Linne has bachelor’s degree in English from Indiana University and master’s degree from the University of North Carolina. H e has been a consultant for community health centers and director of home care for the American Hospital Association. He wrote a screen play, The Bears of Blue River, based on the book of the same title. Reversal grew out of his Master’s thesis in children’s literature.
Linne will be signing his book at Three Sisters Books & Gifts, 7 Public Square, this Saturday, March 29 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please stop in to greet him and buy a copy of his book. Reversal is published by CreateSpace and retails for $13.99.”
Eric Linne will be signing his YA novel Reversal at Three Sisters Books on March 29th from 11 to 1. If you’re in the Shelbyville, IN area, drop by and have a chance to talk with Eric about his new book.
The novel is about a midwestern teen, Kayla Burbadge, living in a small Indiana farm town. As her life spirals downward, an unlikely mentor steps in and offers Kayla a challenge – to join the high school all-male wrestling team.
This “unconventional choice of a high school sport leads her on a path towards friendship and self discovery. I urge you to read this book.” WC, Santa Rosa, CA
The following is an excerpt of an article in Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law’s recent alumni publication that showcases Eric’s first YA novel, Reversal.
Eric Linne, ’81, Releases His First Novel Completed for Master’s Thesis in English
Eric Linne, ’81, has become a published author with the release of his novel for young adults titled “Reversal.” It’s the story of a recently orphaned and displaced 14-year-old girl who finds redemption by being a part of her school’s all-boy wrestling team. Linne completed the book as his master’s thesis in English at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. It’s available for purchase on Linne’s website, or at Amazon…. To read the entire article, click here.
At one point in the match, with the score tied and my son in control of his opponent, my son let the other boy up, pointed to the kid’s face and looked at the ref in question. The ref signaled the boys to continue wrestling. While my son was looking at the ref, the other boy scored a takedown and ended up winning the match by one point.
When the match was over and I’d given my son a cooling off period (essential, as any wrestling parent will tell you) I approached my son and asked him what happened. He said that the boy screamed and then shouted, “My eye!” So he let the boy up so that the ref could stop the match for an injury timeout. But in this instance, the ref either didn’t see an injury or didn’t feel that the injury was serious enough to stop the match. Also, my son’s decision to let the boy up may have cost him an otherwise winnable match in an important competition
Takedown on Ethics via the High School Wrestling Mat
After my son walked off to join his teammates, I started to think of a parent’s ethical obligations in a situation like this. Should I have encouraged him to ignore the boy’s cries and continue wrestling until the referee stopped them? Or should I have congratulated him for deciding that the other wrestler’s eyesight is more important than a high school wrestling match? I should mention that my son is 17 years old, a high school senior and in his final year of competing in wrestling (having decided to forgo competing in college).
As it is, I took the third route. I simply said, “Good match” and walked back to join our group of parents.
One of the hardest jobs as a parent is to realize that at a certain age, our children have internalized the value system that will guide them through the myriad of ethical choices that they will face as adults. In this instance, my son didn’t need me to tell him whether his choice was right or wrong. During a heated competition, he used his own ethical compass and decided to err on the side of avoiding further injury to his opponent . At the time, he didn’t know that this decision would cost him the match. And I doubt that he would have acted differently had he known that.
So my advice in this instance is to myself (and maybe any other parents of athletes reading this). Once your kids reach a certain age, trust them to do the right thing. Most of the time, you’ll be proud of their decisions. And you’ll feel like you’ve done an OK job as a parent. That’s my advice to myself and I’m sticking with it!
Once wrestling season starts in the Charlotte, NC area, things take off with a bang. Many teams try to squeeze in 50 or more matches for their wrestlers before tournament time rolls around in late February. One of the more popular ways to maximize the number of matches for a wrestler is with multi-day dual meets. These meets, in which athletes wrestle as many as 10 matches over two days, are grueling affairs for the competitors.
Grueling Schedule for High School Wrestlers
To wrestle the maximum number of matches in a day (5) is tough. But to compete in 5 match days back-to-back can be brutal. Often wrestlers are still competing at 10 or 11 p.m. at night, a time when their non-wrestling friends may be considering sleep (but probably not). Then to board a bus at 6:30 a.m. the following day to hit the mat at 8 am takes a level of fortitude that is hard for a non-wrestler to imagine.
But the grueling days prepare the most competitive wrestlers well for the pressure of the all-important state tournament.
So when February rolls around in Charlotte and venues across North Carolina, three or four matches in one day seems like a walk in the park. But the ground work for those competitions get laid in old drafty gyms throughout the state, after dark, on cold December nights.
All sports teams have their traditions and wrestling is no exception. When I was in high school, I started a tradition while on my high school wrestling team in Indiana. My tradition (silly as it seems looking back) was to warm up for matches with a blanket wrapped around me. It wasn’t particularly cold in the gym and I wasn’t trying to sweat off pounds. I just felt more relaxed carrying a blanket around my shoulders before a match. Before long, one of my teammates brought in his favorite blanket. Then another and finally most of the team had caught the trend. Pretty soon, we started seeing guys on other teams carrying their blankets. We knew we had started something
Then a change popped up.
In the state finals one year, one of the wrestlers entered the warm up mat wearing a bathrobe with his favorite stuffed animal tied around his waist. Since he was an exceptional wrestler participating in the state championships, his trend caught on. Pretty soon bathrobes and stuffed animals of all types were the warm up attire of choice. The blanket was out and the stuffed bunny was in.
Some traditions are team or coach instituted. Theses traditions often either involve the physical space of a wrestling room or take place in the wrestling room. My son’s school has just a couple of these traditions, because after 25 years of fielding a wrestling program, the school has never been able to find the space for a designated wrestling room. Finally, next year, just after my son graduates, the school plans to reconfigure some underutilized space and create the school’s first ever designated wrestling practice room.
Just like almost every school has a designated place to practice—a football field, a basketball court, a baseball diamond, tennis courts and/or a swimming pool—e very school with a wrestling team needs a designated wrestling room. The reason for this is that the wrestling room must contain wall to wall mats, padded walls and ideally a place for pull-ups, a training bike, a climbing peg board and similar equipment. Having a designated wrestling room does away with the need to roll out the mats to practice then re-rolling the mats at the end of practice. In addition to the time saving, permanent practice mats allow wrestlers and coaches easy access for off season practices—practices which dramatically improve a team’s performance during the season.
Since my son’s school has not had a designated wrestling room, our wrestling room traditions are limited to a board listing the names of previous year conference and state champions. Other schools may have team mascots or images of intimidating looking wrestlers on their team walls. Others may have inspirational wrestling related phrases on their walls. Some teams have unusual traditions such as tying the wrestling shoes or headgears of graduating seniors in the rafters.
I look forward to next year, when our school’s team can start its own traditions in its own designated wrestling room. I’m sorry that my son won’t be part of those traditions. But with his final season beginning next weeks, maybe he’ll come back to see his name on the wall of champions. Or maybe not.
But a proud father can dream.
The Independent Author Network is a community of authors who are self published or published by a small indie press. The members actively promote their books at social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn etc.
Eric’s page on the Independent Author’s Network may be accessed at http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/eric-linne.html.