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Thursday, 5 September 2019

ℚ♫ More Than A Game - Ralph Robb

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about More Than A Game (first published as Sylvester Young on 1 February 2006, this edition , Ralph Robb, 325 pages), a Historical Fiction with sport and crime elements.

"More Than A Game is an entertaining read! Robb has a great sense of pace and his characters are always very real. I fact I often felt as though I was reading an engaging history rather than a historical fiction novel.[...] More Than A Game is a good fusion of historical fiction, sport, crime caper and friendship. It's a strong portrayal of Thatcher's Britain and I think should appeal to a wide readership, whether they can remember the 1980s or not." ~ Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)


|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to Ralph Robb; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music, so Ralph Robb has shared with us his music playlist for More Than A Game - enjoy!
What was the inspiration for More Than A Game?
"As a teenager I belonged to a karate club that took on the name of the organization in which we practiced – Wolverhampton YMCA. The same vicinity served as a club house for an all-black football team, to which several members of the karate team also belonged.

Many of their experiences were casually shared between members of the club, this painting a tapestry of characters and events both uplifting and heart wrenching. It is from these stories that the inspiration for the book evolved."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I suppose a certain amount of myself is sub-consciously transferred to some of the character but in general I try not to project myself into characters. I don’t want any of the characters to have any common threads unless intended."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for More Than A Game - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"The story takes place in the early 80’s in an industrial town in the heart of the West Midlands, Wolverhampton. It was a period of strife, where people of colour were not fully accepted as British citizens. Politics were divided and Wolverhampton had the scourge of Enoch Powel to contend with, as the cries for ‘Repatriation’ was never far from the tongue of such politicians.

I wanted the cover (as well as the title) to emphasize the political climate and what football meant to many young black amateur players.

The cover concept was a combined effort of a close friend / editor in Ireland, my daughter and myself."
Why should we read More Than A Game and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"This book is not only a snapshot in history, prior to an age where black football players had not yet advanced into the mainstream, it also brings up the question of greed and morality within a community. Issues that are all to prevalent in today’s society."
Can you tell us something quirky about More Than A Game, its story and characters?
"At this particular time in British society, homosexuality wasn’t only considered a sin by the vast majority of the public but also within the uber macho environment of black inner-city youth, could have sparked violence. Yet, one quirky character shows all the signs of being gay and is still somewhat accepted. Confused by his antics, the other players are unsure how to categorize him as so many of his traits are the same as their own and his sexuality is laced with contradictory innuendo."
Who would you recommend More Than A Game to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is aimed towards teens, new adults and adults. Although the themes may be controversial to some, I hope it accurately reflects a section of society within that period of time.

I don’t see a need for warnings or any disclaimer to be issued, for this book."
If you could / wished to turn More Than A Game into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"The answer for which director would have to go the production team behind ‘Peaky Blinders’ would be well suited to direct a mini-series, given their accurate portrayal of the 1920’s West Midlands.

For the lead actor, role of Horace McIntosh, the head trainer. I believe Lenny Henry would be idea for this role. I was impressed with his serious role in ‘Broadchurch’ plus his roots in the West Midlands would be a strong fit. A command of both Midlands and Jamaican accents, gives him a true edge for the role.

Coincidentally, in the series Peaky Blinders there is a reference to a company call ‘Beans Industries’ in Tipton. My father worked many years for foundry section of this company, before it closed down and if I’m not mistaken, so did the father of Lenny Henry."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"Crime mysteries are by far what I’m most comfortable writing. Trying not to limit myself I/we do explore other genres, such as sci-fi. In the past I did tend to stick with one genre, but my wife has introduced me to dystopian and non-fiction works which have opened my eyes to other new experiences in literature."
What is your writing process?
"Being a morning person, I prefer to write as early as possible after waking up. The later the day progresses the more my brain becomes tired, especially after a taxing day at my regular job. By the end of the day my thought process begins to shut down.

Making hand written notes is another matter. These are done at infrequent times, sitting in the car, break time at work or simply chilling on the sofa in the evening.

Stories sometimes only come to me after weeks of pondering followed by research to determine if my ideas are workable. During the pondering stage I make endless handwritten notes, in which most are scrapped. As the character and story begins to take shape, it’s then that I begin to consider serious typing on my computer."
What is in store next?
"The release of the next book – Love, Lies and Bleeding. This is a crime thriller that starts off in Canada and migrates to England as a black female private investigator is on the heels of a human trafficking gang. I’m giving serious thought to turning this book into a trilogy."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"No special pets but as a young man I represented Great Britain in the European championships as part of their Under 21 National Karate squad. I made it to the individual finals, unfortunately losing out to an Italian fighter."
Thank you for sharing!

A Story About Football and other stuff

More Than A Game
Available NOW!

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