Interview with Author Andy Kutler + Giveaway of The Batter's Box

Happy Monday, dear readers! It's a busy day here on the blog tour and first up I have a great interview with Andy Kutler who is currently on Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Batter's Box! I hope you enjoy the interview & be sure to enter to win a copy of the book!

Hello, Andy, and welcome to Passages to the Past! To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m a Wisconsin native, but I’ve been held hostage in the Washington DC area for the last quarter century. I’ve worked in and around government my entire career. Around my 40th birthday, I started writing columns for The Huffington Post, and in 2015, I had my first novel published. I’m passionate about history – my father was a renowned American historian – so most of what I write is tied to events and figures from the past.

What inspired you to write The Batter’s Box?

I’ve always had a fascination with World War II, and once considered myself somewhat of an expert on most aspects of that period. Then, in the course of my day job, I met a WWII veteran, and we saw each other every few months. He was a charming, sharp-witted guy, but the one thing he refused to talk to me about was his combat experience. And over time, I came to learn about the degree to which so many WWII veterans suffered from psychological trauma. It’s inexplicable why their story hasn’t received greater attention in film and literature, and that’s why this book is so important to me.

What research did you undertake when writing The Batter’s Box?

I traveled to the Ardennes region of Belgium, twice, because I wanted the battle scenes to be as accurate and authentic as possible. I walked every inch of those battlefields and engaged local experts and guides about the events that unfolded there. I also spoke at length to a number of veterans, and read the first-person accounts of others, detailing their struggles with post-traumatic stress. These insights were so compelling and heartbreaking, and vital to my story. Much of what my protagonist experiences is based on what I learned from those men.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Batter’s Box?

There is a bit of mythology out there about WWII veterans. That the men of this “Greatest Generation” were supermen of sorts. Men who bravely volunteered for duty, defeated the Germans and Japanese, and then returned home to fill the factories and fuel the post-war boom. Much of that is true, but we hear so little about the huge numbers of veterans – we’ll never know how many – who suffered quietly from all the horrors they endured, unable to share or speak about their experiences. This is largely true of any war, but we seem to pay little attention to those who suffered during this era. I want readers to know and understand their story.

What was your favorite scene to write?

I have so many favorites (said every author ever), but one that I really enjoyed penning was the scene with the Army public affairs officer tasked with talking Will Jamison out of serving in combat. We learn so much about Will in that scene – his convictions, his decency, his humor. It’s really the first glimpse readers get into what makes Will tick, what’s driving him to abandon his fame and fortune as a baseball player to volunteer for the war.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

No question, when Will finally breaks down and reveals the source of his shame and emotional suffering to the woman he loves. So much raw emotion in that scene, and it had to be pitch perfect if I was going to do these veterans the justice they deserve.

What MLB team are you a fan of?

I am a loyal, devoted, and long-suffering Milwaukee Brewers fans. We’ll get to the World Series someday. In the meantime, we have the best stadium food, best nickname, and best logo in all of sports, so there’s that.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’d like to say it was a lifelong dream, but no. In fact, for most of my life, I abhorred writing. I paled at the sight of Blue Book exams in college, and cringed every time I was asked to write a speech or white paper early in my career. But once I started writing more creative pieces for The Huffington Post, on subjects of my own choosing, and I saw the impact my words had on others, it was a revelation and life-altering experience for me. I now simply always follow the wise words of my father – write what you love. And I think readers will feel that in the pages of my books.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

Lots of moving parts in my daily life – full-time job, kids, sports obsessions galore – so my schedule needs to be fairly compartmented. My daily goal is to write for one to two hours a day, and I’m extremely disciplined about that. Sometimes it stretches to three or four hours – thankfully I don’t need much sleep. I have quite a unique writing environment. A small corner of the basement, which I share with a family of centipedes. It’s cold but blessedly quiet, and as long as I have my trusty 32-ounce Diet Coke nearby, I’m ready to roll.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

The research, writing, and editing that goes into a book, not to mention the publishing process, requires a ridiculous amount of patience, and I have so very little of it. I can’t get past the third step of assembling anything from IKEA. I don’t really believe in complete stops at stop signs. But writing scenery, developing characters, even the willingness to scrap thousands of words you’ve labored over to start a plotline anew, all takes wagonloads of time and patience. It’s still a challenge to this day. I need a Mr. Miyagi in my life.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I’m going to go off the beaten track a bit here, and cite the late film critic, Roger Ebert. Setting aside his cinematic expertise, the man was such a gifted and brilliant writer. His movie reviews were usually more entertaining to me than the movies themselves. And such wit. One example: The man described the disappointing Ben Affleck film, Pearl Harbor, as a movie about a surprise Japanese attack on a love triangle. So perfect. But going back to my father’s advice, Ebert loved films, so that is what he wrote about. It showed.

What was the first historical novel you read?

My Brother Sam is Dead. It was required reading in middle school, and notwithstanding the grim title, I loved this book. It is a wonderful story of the Revolutionary War told through the eyes of a young boy in Connecticut, whose family is divided between rebels and loyalists.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I’m in the middle of a long series by English writer Alexander Kent about a British naval officer during the late 18th Century. It is a wonderful series and an utterly fascinating character study; it is my second time through it. Once I pick up one of the books, I literally can’t put it down.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I have taken off and landed from two aircraft carriers (as a passenger); I’ve never tried green vegetables, seafood, or peanut butter in my life; and I’m an exceptional craps player. Everyone is going to blow right past the aircraft carriers and gambling, and express their horror that I’ve never had peanut butter.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love sharing little-known stories that are historically accurate and so imperative to understanding historical events and figures.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

19th and 20th Century American history. That’s my wheelhouse, tracing our history from infancy to global superpower.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Love to get out on my bike – I try to ride 30-40 miles every other week or so. Hardly the Tour de France, but for a guy my age, I do okay. I’ve also got a 6th grader and a 9th grader, so other parents know that most of my free time is spent as their personal Uber.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’ll be going public with that soon, but for now, I need to keep it under wraps. Hint – I love challenges, and as a writer, this one will be the most daunting I’ve faced.

Ooohhhh...exciting! I can't wait to hear more! Thank you for stopping by today!

The Batter's Box by Andy Kutler

Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Warriors Publishing Group
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1946, a returning World War II veteran is determined to reclaim his place among professional baseball's upper echelon and win back the woman he once fell for. Two months into the new season, at the top of his game, he abandons his team, casting aside his fame and riches and vanishing forever from the public eye. What drives a man to walk away from everything he cherishes, never to be heard from again?

The Batter's Box follows the path of Will Jamison, a star player with the Washington Senators who enlists in the U.S. Army following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. When the war ends, Jamison returns to Washington, a decorated hero tormented by deep emotional scars. Burdened with a crushing guilt and harrowing memories he cannot escape, Jamison's life is consumed by an explosive temper, sleepless nights, and a gradual descent into alcoholism. Will he continue, alone with his anguish and misery? Or will he level with those around him, including the woman he loves, and seek the professional care he desperately needs, even at the risk of exposing his most closely guarded secrets?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


"We remember World War II as 'the Good War, ' when right and wrong seemed so clear. We won, they lost, and our guys came home as heroes. But as gifted author Andy Kutler tells us in THE BATTER'S BOX, mortal combat is anything but good, heroism comes with a horrific price, and some of the most tragic wounds don't bleed -- and don't go away. If you want to know what really happened at Bastogne in the terrible winter of 1944, read this powerful, haunting book." -- Daniel P. Bolger, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Ret.), author of Our Year of War: Two Brothers, Vietnam, and a Nation Divided

"Andy Kutler has the eyes and ears of combat soldiers and the heart of those who love them. The horror, courage, and camaraderie of battle rivals the grit of Once an Eagle, while the poignant authenticity of Will Jamison's struggles with his hidden wounds highlight that, for many, the impact of war lingers far past the last shots of battle. THE BATTER'S BOX is a superb work of historical fiction that carries important lessons for today." -- William E. Rapp, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.), Former Commandant, U.S. Army War College, and Commandant of Cadets, U.S. Military Academy

“The Batter's Box is a riveting read. It is a love story and a war story and a novel with far more truth than fiction. I’m a psychiatrist specializing in treating men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder. If you love someone with that invisible wound, read this book. If you are curious and concerned about the condition, read this book. Most survivors of profound trauma lack a language to convey their life stories because those stories include the unspeakable. When the hero of this compelling novel speaks, we listen, we learn and we are transformed. If you are currently struggling with the impact of major trauma, reading passages here may be disturbing and ‘triggering.’ But I believe it is worth the risk because this book affirms your reality and your dignity.” --Frank M. Ochberg, MD, Former Associate Director, National Institute of Mental Health

"Historical fiction, if it reflects careful scholarship, is a powerful tool in the hands of a gifted writer, and can deepen our understanding of real events and people. Andy Kutler's THE BATTER’S BOX offers an impressive addition to World War II literature, bringing fresh attention to the adjustment struggle faced by so many returning war veterans. Kutler's depiction of one of the more heroic small-unit engagements in US Army history is both compelling and long overdue." -- Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, President & CEO Emeritus, The National WWII Museum

About the Author

Andy Kutler is a writer living in Arlington, Virginia. His debut novel, The Other Side of Life, was awarded a Bronze Medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards, and Honorable Mention from Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Awards. He has also authored a number of columns for the Huffington Post and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and spent more than a quarter century in public service, including with the United States Senate and the United States Secret Service, and as a consultant in the national security community.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, October 8
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Thursday, October 10
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, October 14
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Friday, October 18
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, October 21
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 23
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, October 24
Review at Impressions In Ink

Tuesday, October 29
Review at Peaceful Pastime

Thursday, October 31
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, November 1
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, November 5
Review at Red Headed Book Lady


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Batter's Box! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Batter's Box

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Passages to the Past
All rights reserved © 2013

Custom Blog Design by Blogger Boutique

Blogger Boutique