I’m interviewing Michael Boylan today, author of sports fiction “Rainbow Curve”. I’d like to welcome the author to my blog and thank him for answering my questions.
Have you been writing for a long time? What inspired you to start a writing career?
My first published short story occurred in 1970. My first published novel was 1973. I have written continuously in fiction and in philosophy. I have 26 published books (see: michaelboylan.net). 20 of these books have been in philosophy. I was not inspired to write; I was compelled to write. As I mention in a 2013 podcast at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, my mother used to make me copy by hand on a regular basis her idea of the best essay stylists in British Literature. Listen to the 70 minute podcast for more: http://suchthatcast.com/boylan/
Is Rainbow Curve your first book? If not, please tell us a little about your first book.
My first published book was Far into the Sound (1973). I sent the book in without an agent. It was in what they used to call the “slush pile.” The editor was reading the slush pile all morning and stopped just before my manuscript. Then she went out to lunch with her boyfriend. He asked her to marry him at the luncheon (a proposal for which she was in favor). She came back to work very happy. Mine was the first manuscript she saw. She liked it. The book was published, reviewed in the New York Times, won a national prize, and eventually got me admitted as a life member of the British Arts Trust in Reigate, Surrey. There would be a 15 year gap until my published second novel.
Why did you choose sports fiction as genre for your book?
There is a mythical nature about the American sport of baseball. This allows me to reach rather heady themes about the nature of politics and racism in an accessible fashion. I have lived in Chicago and Milwaukee the principal cities in the first and second stories of the book. I have also travelled in Mexico (prominent in the first set of chapters). This gives the book authentic connection with the areas during a particular point in history (1970s).
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes, it would be to re-write. I structure my teaching so that my students are required to re-write at least twice (with comments from me) on every assignment. In my published novel The Extinction of Desire (2007) I went through around 70 drafts over 17 years before allowing it to be published. This is an age of speed. However, good things often take time. Rainbow Curve’s first draft was completed in 1981 and I have been working at it ever since.
Do you have any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?
Well, in fiction I have two large series: De Anima (classical Greek for “on the Soul”). These are four books that take key worldviews that are loosely associated with the major societies and religions of human history. Rainbow Curve is the second book in this series. It is about justice (seen variously). This book was just published.
To the Promised Land will be the third book in this series. It is about forgiveness. The story follows on a narrative similar to the “Love Canal” disaster in which thousands in upstate New York were hurt (cancer, childhood seizures and brain damage, et al.) by a chemical company’s discharge. One of the central characters in the novel is a lawyer who gets the chemical company “off the hook” for any damages. But there is trouble in paradise when that lawyer’s wife suddenly dies of cancer. This shakes the lawyer up and he bonds with his only child, a daughter. And he tries to connect to Judaism (in which he was born but non-observant). At the beginning of the book all of this background is history. The lawyer, Moses Levi, has tried to connect with his college roommate to help him out. However, Moses has wronged the former roommate as well. What should the former roommate do? Moses is missing: presumed dead. The book begins as a murder mystery but evolves into a meditation on the nature and limitations of forgiveness.
This book is planned for publication on the 4th of July.
The SECOND major series is called Arche. This is an ancient Greek word meaning “the source or principle” of everything. In this series there are also four books meant to represent the genre possibilities of the novel. In the first, Naked Reverse, the sequential simple story narrative is employed. This form in the English language is thought by scholars to have its premier in the novels of Fanny Burney and Jane Austen. For most of history (so far) this form has proved to be the most popular (as measured by novels written).
Naked Reverse explores infidelity and young adulthood during the 1980s in the upper Midwest (USA). It also treats some themes of sport and internationalism via a leit motif about the Olympics. Publication date: Late November 2015.
Georgia is also in this series. It is meant to represent one form of the novel that seeks expression in the form of the epic (a la Homer, Vergil, and Milton). In the novel this quest has often found expression in the quest for the Great American Novel. My former teacher, Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize winner in 1976, tried on three occasions to fulfill this quest and felt that The Adventures of Augie March (1953) was his best attempt. Because Georgia is a long manuscript, it will be published as three separate novels in 2016. This book explores race and the decline of the Old South. It is set in the late 1920s with a foundling who does not know whether he is born black or white. This meant a lot to the society at the time, but the ambiguity is sociologically perplexing and also speaks to America and all other multi-racial societies today. To be published 2016.
Each of the two series has more to come in 2017 and beyond.
In philosophy, I have a book on the origins of Greek Science from 700BCE to 300 CE that will be published by Routledge in May, 2015. The book contains many new translations from ancient Greek and interpretations of what are the characteristics of good scientific methodology—that is true across time and cultures. This book has been pre-ordered by 1,000 of the 2,000 major research libraries in the world.
About The Book
Author: Michael Boylan
Buy a ticket for a bus ride taking you from North to Central to South America and a boat ride to the Caribbean along with a traveling baseball team. Discover baseball in all its mythical allure: Rainbow Curve is a compelling tale about race, politics, corrupting power and one man’s courage to stand up against it.
An aging baseball player, his multi-cultural teammates, a domineering manager, and a South American drug lord—are all brought together in Rainbow Curve, a gripping novel that explores the international baseball scene. Moving from training camps in Sun City, Arizona, to Wrigley Field in Chicago, to a mountain citadel in Columbia, author Michael Boylan expertly draws connections between America’s favorite pastime, cultural power, and ethical choice.
-Linda Furgerson Selzer, Associate Professor of English/ Penn State University.
Michael Boylan writes like a true baseball fan. Rainbow Curve is a novel filled with more than 9 innings of history. From barnstorming and tales about the Negro Leagues to the Chicago Cubs, Boylan examines the life of players on and off the field. Bo Mellan, Rainbow Billy Beauchamp and Buddy Beal are just some of the characters who give this novel a high batting average. Baseball is not just a game about balls and strikes, it’s also about economics, race, youth and growing old. Rainbow Curve is a reminder of why we sing “God Bless America” at the ball park.
– E. Ethelbert Miller, Literary Activist and author of The 5th Inning.
Michael Boylan is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Marymount University. He is the author of 26 books and over 120 articles in Philosophy and Literature. Details can be found at michaelboylan.net.