When Frank Deford sat down to write "Bliss, Remembered," the latest chapter in a glorious writing career, something unexpected happened.
His main character, whose first-person account drives the novel, became a woman.
"All of a sudden, without intending to, I'm a woman," Deford, one of six authors appearing at the 2010 San Antonio Express-News Book & Author Luncheon on Oct. 18, said recently from his home in Westport, Conn. "The process led me into it. I became a woman who's a swimmer."
And what a woman.
Deford, the award-winning author of "Everybody's All-American" and a celebrated figure in print and broadcast media, creates as his heroine Sydney Stringfellow, an American athlete who falls in love with a dashing German while competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Describing that doomed love affair, against the budding wartime landscape of the time, Stringfellow relates the intriguing timeline of her life in a descriptive narrative to her son. The result is compelling and, from start to finish, filled with serpentine twists.
For Deford, 71, the novel was a necessary departure from his previous two works of fiction, which dealt with rape and dementia.
"After that, I wanted something a little lighter, OK?" he said, chuckling. "I really wanted to write a love story, that's the first thing, and it went from there."
Deford's background includes spectacular work with Sports Illustrated and regular appearances on NPR's "Morning Edition" and HBO's "RealSports With Bryant Gumbel."
But he hopes that readers will accept "Bliss, Remembered" as something other than a sports novel.
"They can certainly learn a lot about that time and the way people felt at that time," he said. "I think I got that pretty right. It's important for people to remember that that's how it happened. At the time, people weren't aware of the future, of what was at stake."
Personally, he added, "I love working in the past. And the Olympics are a wonderful device for a love story."
Monday, October 11, 2010
Frank Deford in the San Antonio Express-News
While we're sad not to be at the Texas Book Festival, we love the coverage of it by the San Antonio Express-News. Here's their interview with Frank Deford, author of one of Overlook's biggest books this year, BLISS, REMEMBERED. Click here to go to the article on mysanantonio.com, and click here for previous coverage of Frank Deford on the blog. Emphasis ours!