A new game planPublished 2:19pm Saturday, July 20, 2013
After covering sports for over 20 years Kevin Travis learned a lot about game plans and how to tweak them on the fly. So when he found himself in a new state with a new bride and some newfound time on his hands he decided to take the talent that enabled him to win several writing awards as the former sports editor of the Washington Daily News and apply it in a new field by creating three self-published books.
Over the past year Travis, who worked for the Daily News from 2000 to 2010, took the jump from sports writer to fiction writer and landed squarely on his feat as he produced a sports-based Christian-themed book titled “Home Run From Heaven,” along with two children’s books called “Skyler’s Magical Christmas” and “Skyler’s Magical Year.”
After leaving the Daily News to serve as the sports editor of the New Bern Sun Journal in the summer of 2010, Travis had his own magical year as he met a woman named Allison Rhett, who would turned out to be his future bride.
The two were thrown a curve when Rhett, a retired Marine, was offered a federal accounting job in Wildwood, Missouri, a town located about 20 minutes away from St. Louis. The duo agreed to the move and the change took both Travis’ personal life and professional life in a new direction.
While Rhett had a job in the waiting, Travis had to seek one out and instead of waiting for work to come to him he went to work on his books.
“I’ve always wanted to write a book, it’s always been in the back of my mind. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about but I knew I wanted to write something, especially sports themed,” Travis said. “When I got to (Missouri) I had some extra time on my hands and I finally decided I was going to sit down and write a book and I just went from there.”
Travis’ first venture into the world of fiction was “Home Run From Heaven,” a Christian-themed story about a young high school baseball player who often looks to his deceased father in times of crisis and confusion.
“It’s Christian-themed book about a high school freshman named Dylan Bell whose late father was kind of a journey man who played on the Indians team that went to the World Series in 1995 and also played for the Cardinals,” Travis said. “Dylan tries out for his JV team but ends up making the varsity team and becomes a high school phenom who leads his team to its first state championship in school history.
“Dylan was really close with his father who died when he was in junior high and he talks and prays to his dad throughout the book and looks to him for help throughout certain situations and it always seems like his dad helps him achieve success.”
The book contains Travis’ comical style but also captures genuine emotion that traces back to his own childhood, as Travis’ father died of cancer when he was young.
“When I was writing it I got sad once and a while because I was thinking of my dad and obviously how close he was to me,” Travis said. “A lot of that closeness plays out in the book.”
Travis, a Cleveland native, has drips of reality in all of his writing, including a few nods to North Carolina.
“In the books some of the themes that I wrote about and some of the areas I wrote about are kind of based on my background,” Travis said. “I incorporated some stuff about Ohio into it and some stuff about the Washington and New Bern area. A lot of the characters names are based on people I know. For example there’s a Dr. Hiatt who I named after (former Washington grad) Haley Hiatt.”
After releasing “Home Run From Heaven” Travis decided to take a turn in a new direction with “Skyler’s Magical Christmas” and “Skyler’s Magical Year.”
Once again, Travis dipped into his personal life for subject matter as the books revolve around a young girl and her two talking dogs. Something Travis came up with while taking care of his own dog “Thor.”
“My first children’s book was “Skyler’s Magical Christmas” and it’s about a an eight-year old girl who has two dogs and one of things she wanted at Christmas was for her dogs to be able to talk with her. So Santa grants her wish by giving her magical dog biscuits that once they eat them allows them to talk with her and they go on to have some crazy adventures,” Travis said. “I kind of based a lot of the stuff on my own life. The dogs names are “Thor” and “Tasha” and some of the silly stuff that happens with the dogs are based on me and my ‘Thor.’”
The second book in the Skyler series centers around her year with the two dogs as they encounter several fictional characters from Baby New Year to Cupid.
The books can be ordered at http://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Travis/e/B009SCI224/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1362165968&sr=8-1 and Travis said he has thoroughly enjoyed the process of writing them.
“I loved it,” Travis said. “I’ve always liked writing and with the way my weird mine works I like getting down ideas and seeing how the characters develop. It’s kind of like you’re going on the story with them.”