The Story behind the Story
and Parent Resources
Cruz de la Cruz Saga
The Story behind the Story:
The Desperado Who Stole Baseball
Call this my "I have a dream" story.
I wanted to write a prequel to The Boy Who Saved Baseball, so I knew the story would have to take place in Dillontown. And I wanted to answer some questions readers asked about Cruz de la Cruz. But I also needed my “story beneath the story” to keep my interest from waning as I plugged away. So I went back to 1881 and started there.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama began his run for president. Just the idea that this black man could take charge of the country spurred my imagination into a thundering gallop. Could he win, given our country’s history? Could Dr. King’s ultimate dream come true? Instantly I had my bedrock story. The images poured in. Desperado became my passion.
When Senator Obama announced his longshot candidacy, Long John Dillon, a one time runaway slave, announced his impossible dream challenging the Chicago White Stockings to a high stakes game only the Wild West could provide.
Enter Jack Dillon, a young dark-skinned white boy from the Midwest, soul-wounded, searching for his long lost uncle and following the three big dreams of his life.
As the campaign heated up, Desperado continued to flow. Dillon’s team swung from being too skilled to rowdy outsiders unworthy of their goal. On many levels, the parallels to my story multiplied. My eyes in the story became Blackjack Buck’s, the Quechan Indian, the seer, the wine barrel prophet.
The ending? The ’08 election would come after my book was already done. So I "visioned" it. Let me just say, it’s one thing to draw on magical realism; it’s quite another to discover the realism of your life has turned magical.