About The Book
Author: Tom Swyers
Genre: Literary Fiction / Thriller / Sports
Based on a true story, Saving Babe Ruth is an award-winning novel about a family headed by David Thompson, a burned-out lawyer and Civil War buff. When he learns that the town’s youth baseball league is going to fold, David’s love for the sport and for his son, Christy, inspire him to try to save it for the boys in town. David puts his fading career on hold as he struggles to resurrect this dream while at the same time trying to salvage his marriage to his wife, Annie.
Though Christy and Annie want to see him save the league, David finds himself in way over his head; the more he passionately tries to save it, the more he ends up hurting Christy and Annie. It’s a catch-22 that leaves his family wounded and David lost, wedged between his desire to revive the league so he can live with himself, and the desire to heal his family so they can live with him.
When David starts to keep secrets from Annie to satisfy these desires, he weaves a web of deceit that further fractures the family. At the same time, the town wrestles to keep its own secrets under wraps while it almost bursts with people leading double lives. They want David and the league to fail, and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they want, even if they have to go through Christy and Annie to get it.
With the help of Johnny McFadden–a newfound friend who’s addicted to baseball–David concocts a plan to defend the league and his family. The pair will have to navigate through a maze of backroom politics, corruption, scandal and crime that extends to the professional sports world. David will have to call upon all of his legal and survival skills to try and turn things around.
Saving Babe Ruth is also the inspiring story about a baseball team full of teenage outcasts struggling to believe in themselves. When the time is right, they’ll face the prospect of having to fight crazy with crazy to save baseball for themselves, their town and beyond.
The novel reveals the underbelly of youth sports that’s hurting communities nationwide today, but readers and reviewers say you don’t have to be a fan of baseball or sports to enjoy the story. Its themes, including one of community responsibility, are beginning to resonate. The story is so powerful that one of the nation’s leading professional sports agents has threatened a lawsuit over the book. The novel has even caused one town to come to a standstill to hold an emergency board meeting over it. Watch this trailer video to learn more about how Saving Babe Ruth came to life.
New York Times bestselling author Margot Livesey says Swyers “has created a man for all seasons” in David Thompson and calls Saving Babe Ruth “an absorbing and compulsively readable novel.”
Saving Babe Ruth is the winner of a number of accolades including the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Book Award for “Best First Book: Fiction.”
If you like fast-paced and humor-laced stories, don’t miss this family’s fight to stay together as it confronts a youth sports underworld loaded with captivating characters.
Special Q&A With The Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did your background influence the genre you write in?
I am an attorney by training so you’ll find a good part of Saving Babe Ruth (my first book) has a legal angle. In a way, it’s part legal thriller. I’ve also worked in youth baseball for a number of years so it has a sports element as well. But according to readers and reviewers, you don’t need to be a fan of baseball or sports to enjoy the book. I think in a way it’s a portrait of small-town, suburban America which everyone will recognize to one degree or another.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
My family upbringing was filled with storytelling around the dinner table. I started to enjoy writing stories in grade school.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
There are too many for me to list. Any well written work of fiction will resonate with me. I’ve been told by my editor that Saving Babe Ruth reminds her of the writings of Tom Perrotta and Nick Hornsby.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I begin writing at 5:00 in the morning or thereabouts. I’ll write until midmorning. The I’ll take a break and get some exercise, outside preferably.I’ll take care of other business until midafternoon. Then I start another shift of writing that goes well into the night. I’ll ht the sack when I feel stuck or unproductive.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your book, “Saving Babe Ruth?”
The book is a work of fiction based on a true story. It’s a story I lived five years ago. So many of the ideas came from my personal experience.
6) What do you think sets your book apart from others current on the shelves?
I don’t think there’s a book out there (fiction or nonfiction) that examines the youth sports industry and how it has undermined the real importance of youth sports for 99.5% of participants.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Since the book is based on my experiences as the head of Babe Ruth baseball for teens in my town, protagonist David Thompson is a character I side with and you’ll find a lot of me in him.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
I really enjoyed writing the boardroom scene where David goes up against a entire room of men that want him removed from his position as Commissioner of Babe Ruth Baseball in his hometown. How can one man disarm twelve angry men? No spoilers from me, but as a lawyer I enjoyed writing this scene.
The climax scene was a lot of fun too as was the town championship game chapter.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
I hope they’re entertained first and foremost.
On a thematic level, the novel addresses some important issues facing us today. In high school, teenagers are very vulnerable to a lot of negative influences. It’s up to adults to reach out and touch as many lives of these teens as possible and to direct them to positive outlets like youth sports. But youth sports are being threatened as an outlet for every child by the youth sports industry which is putting dollars ahead of kids and our communities. If we don’t recognize and address this issue, the availability of youth sports to every child will evaporate and we will lose yet another positive outlet for youths. That’s something that we can’t afford to lose. Losing youth sports will undermine every community across this nation.
10) What are your hopes for this book?
I want to get as many copies into the hands of readers as possible. That’s a challenge being an independent author. Last month, it made some progress as it reached bestseller status on Amazon Kindle in some categories.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m not entirely sure at this point. But David Thompson may live on in another novel. Stay tuned!
After high school, he worked his way through some of the best colleges in the country. Employed in a variety of jobs ranging from a late-night convenience store clerk to a fine jewelry salesperson, Tom eventually graduated from college and then worked his way through law school in the caverns of Wall Street.
Since then, he’s studied at the New York State Summer Writer’s Institute at Skidmore College. He’s also a member of both the Authors Guild and the Hudson Valley Writers Guild.
Along the way, he married his high school sweetheart and raised a family. With that came baseball, but that’s another story (Saving Babe Ruth). Tom is also an award-winning youth sports advocate.
When he isn’t writing or reading, Tom is usually running (literally) away from trouble on the back roads of Upstate, New York where he lives with his family and two cats (really two dogs working undercover).
Saving Babe Ruth is his first novel and these are some of the awards it has received:
- Gold Winner, “Best First Book: Fiction,” 2015 Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.
- Silver Winner, “Best Popular Fiction,” 2015 Independent Book Publisher Association’s Benjamin Franklin Book Awards.
- Reader Views, “Best Regional Fiction 2014/2015: Northeast.”
- Finalist, “Best New Fiction,” 2014 USA Best Book Awards.