ASK THE AUTHOR: Travis Thrasher
LATEST PROJECT: Home Run (978-0-781-40838-7, $14.99, March).
PUBLISHER: David C Cook.
What is the premise of Home Run? A professional ball player with a substance abuse problem is forced into rehab in his hometown, finding new hope when he gets honest about his checkered past and takes on coaching duties for a misfit Little League team.
A film version of the story releases in theaters April 19. How did you end up working on the novelization? In December 2011, I got a call from Don Pape, vice president of trade publishing at David C Cook. He and I have worked together since his time at WaterBrook Press. He said they were bidding on an exciting project and thought of me for it. Later I discovered that a couple of publishers had suggested my name for this project. That’s always gratifying to hear. I’m delighted Cook ended up publishing Home Run.
How was writing a film novelization different than writing a novel from scratch? With a novel, I start from scratch with my own ideas and characters and story lines. With a novelization, I’m working off a script that’s already been written. My job is to flesh out the story and put it into a novel form. I strive to get to the heart of the story and accentuate what’s already there in the script.
How did you collaborate with the film team? The entire process has really been remarkable. I feel like the Home Run team adopted me in January of 2012. I’ve been a part of their family ever since. The first thing I did was to meet with the producers at a Celebrate Recovery event. Carol Mathews [executive producer and producer] and Micah Barnard [associate producer] wanted me to see what Celebrate Recovery was all about as well as connecting with them. I got to hear Carol’s heart and vision for the project. She gave me a ton of creative license with the story, which was good to have. She also remained in touch via email and phone as I worked on the novel.
What is Celebrate Recovery? Celebrate Recovery [CR] is a program designed to help those struggling with hurts, hang-ups and habits by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through the recovery process. The thing with CR is that it’s for everybody—I don’t know anybody out there who doesn’t struggle with something in their life. The amazing thing about this program is that it’s such a safe and supportive environment. The people I’ve met in this program are some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met in life.
In the beginning, the main character, Cory Brand, exhibits extremely destructive behaviors. How will readers be able to relate to him? I think Cory Brand is a very relatable character. Yes, he has destructive habits, but he’s also very likable. He’s a sports star—that’s all he’s known his whole life. But he comes from a small town where he experienced what everybody does—falling in love, dreaming big, having growing pains. Cory deals with his struggles by using humor; ultimately this is masking the pain and hurt he hides deep down.
What is one of your favorite scenes? There are quite a few, and they all come from the great script I was given. I think one of the most impactful is the scene where Karen, Cory’s sister-in-law, gives her testimony. I love what she says. The actress portraying her in the movie, Nicole Leigh, did a fabulous job, just like everybody else.
Did something in particular about the story resonate with you? If there’s one common theme in all the novels I’ve written, it’s been the theme of redemption and second chances. There’s a line when Cory Brand first gets into recovery where everybody is sharing what they’re struggling with, and he says his agent is trying to be funny. I thought to myself, I so get this guy, dealing with the hurt through humor. I loved the fact that everybody in this story is broken, yet they’re choosing to deal with their hurts in a different way than our star baseball player.
What is the message of the book? Freedom is possible for anybody. Anybody.
Who would enjoy Home Run? I think anyone who loves a powerful story about redemption will love Home Run, both the book and the movie.
ECPA Fiction Top 10
1. The Harbinger, Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine/Charisma House Book Group)
2. Cross Roads, William P. Young (FaithWords/Hachette Book Group)
3. The Bridge, Karen Kingsbury (Howard Books)
4. Full Disclosure, Dee Henderson (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
5. The Shack, William P. Young (Windblown Media/Hachette Book Group)
6. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers (Multnomah Books)
7. A Patchwork Christmas, Judith Miller, Nancy Moser and Stephanie Grace Whitson (Barbour Publishing)
8. The Bridesmaid, Beverly Lewis (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
9. Tidewater Inn, Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson)
10. Coming Home, Kingsbury (Zondervan)
The ECPA list is compiled from sales of Christian books in hundreds of Christian retail outlets nationwide, collected using Pubtrack Christian ,(<a href="http://www.ptchristian.com" target=_"blank">www.ptchristian.com</a>). February best-sellers are for the five-week cycle ending Jan. 12, 2013. All rights reserved. © 2013 ECPA. <a href="http://www.epa.org" target="_blank">www.ecpa.org</a>.
New Fiction in April
A Season of Mysteries, Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)
Daughter of Jerusalem, Joan Wolf (Worthy Publishing)
Deceptions of Angels, Amelia Glynn (Nail Prints Press)
Magnificent Malevolence, Derek Wilson (Lion/Kregel Publications)
One Glorious Ambition, Jane Kirkpatrick (WaterBrook Press)
Past Darkness, Laurel Woiwode (Crossway)
Roses Have Thorns, Sandra Byrd (Howard Books)
Sinners and the Sea, Rebecca Kanner (Howard Books)
Stress Test, Richard L. Mabry, M.D. (Thomas Nelson)
Surrendered Love, Laura V. Hilton (Whitaker House)
Sweet Sanctuary, Kim Vogel Sawyer (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
Take a Chance on Me, Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)
The Color of Hope, Kim Cash Tate (Thomas Nelson)
The Dance, Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)
The Gate, Dann A. Stouten (Revell/Baker Publishing Group)
The Heart of Stone, Sherry Kyle (Abingdon Press)
The Hope of Spring, Wanda E. Brunstetter (Barbour Publishing)
The Message on the Quilt, Stephanie Grace Whitson (Barbour Publishing)
Though My Heart Is Torn, Joanne Bischof (Multnomah Books)