Think about it: you’re feeling lazy and want something to do; so you pop a DVD into the player and two hours later it’s done and dusted.
For Travis Thrasher, however, the adaptation process was a little different. Having been approached by Christian-based publisher David C Cook, Thrasher was asked to turn David Boyd’s 2013 Home Run film into a novel.
Widely known for addressing topics of redemption in his writing, Thrasher was the perfect candidate to bring the character of Cory Brand (a professional baseball player with a substance abuse problem) to life.
“A book can explore many more issues in a deep way,” he says. “People seeking to know and understand more sometimes find it helpful to have a book in hand. I loved being able to flesh out the story and the characters.”
Thrasher, who had a lot of creative freedom, notes that redemption is always a defining theme in his books, because it’s something that he and his Christian readers can relate to. “I love stories about messy, broken people in search of hope,” he says.
“The stories that have moved me the most, whether they were novels or movies, have had this theme [redemption]. It’s obviously the theme of Christianity. I’ve been a Christian since I was in fourth grade, but I’ve spent a lifetime since failing time and time again. I’m that messy person I’m writing about, whether it’s someone young or old, or whether it’s a male or female. I see God’s hand in my life time and time again even though I still end up doing really stupid things. I study the mirror a lot,” he laughs.
“I love broken characters and every single person in this world is broken. Everybody has hurts. Some mask them well. Some cope with them or give them over to God. Some do really dumb things because of them. That intrigues me. I love observing the world and wondering why people are the way they are.”
Growing up in Germany, where football was the sport of choice, Thrasher knew nothing about baseball, so a period of research was necessary.
“I just wanted to get Cory Brand’s emotions right,” he says. “I didn’t want to have him do or say something where the reader would be like ‘That’s ridiculous! That would never happen!’.
“At the heart of the story is a broken man trying to deal with the hurt in his life and that I could relate to. There were a few moments when I felt like it wasn’t Cory Brand telling his story but me sharing my thoughts and heart on the page.”