I have a new book coming out this week for kids in the 3rd to 6th grade range. It's about a kid who has to make some tough choices about friendship, honesty, and his future, all staged in a golf setting.
If you've read my other books, you know this new one is outside my usual audience, but it was fun to write. The idea popped up last spring when a colleague decried the dearth of good golf-themed books for kids. Yes, she really was upset by that. I did some research and had to agree. So I decided to write one.
I gag when I read sports stories that are all about the main character winning the game in the end to become the hero, and I'm bored with sports stories that focus too heavily on the sport itself. So when I sat down to come up with the right story, I thought about my own experience with golf.
I am not a golfer. I have hacked around in the past, and I still enjoy a round with friends from time to time. Years ago, a good friend who is a great golfer watched me hit a bucket of balls at the driving range. He finally shook his head and said, "You have a beautiful swing. I have no idea why you can't hit the ball straight."
So you can see why I had no interest in writing a story about the highly technical nuances of the sport. But golf is so much more than just the physical activity. Golf is a connection between friends, between family members, between the individual and nature. Golf is as much about the bonds we create while playing as it is about the competition. On the flip side, the game itself is one of personal skill, concentration, and integrity. It's a very introspective game, and it can also be a lonely game.
Those are the very human elements of golf that drew me into this story. Jay, the main character, is a very good golfer for an 11 year old, but he's got real-kid problems. Parents recently divorced, peer pressure, the general stresses of growing up. He's faced with tough decisions that test his character and his relationships with his parents and his friends. Golf is central to so many part of his life, and when he's faced with losing that, it means more than just some game.
The book is scheduled to be available January 16 (print only), but recent crazy weather may push that out to the following week. In the meantime, I'm making free e-copies available to anyone who promises to post an honest review to Amazon or Goodreads by the end of January. Simply email me with the subject The Bad Lie Preview and let me know what e-reader you have, and I'll send you the file.
UPDATE 1/13/2014: The weather has indeed caused a delay. The book, originally scheduled to be available January 16, will now be available on or after January 22nd.