Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Publication Date: April 7, 2103
Genre: Historical fiction
In Acre, George Johnson takes readers back to a nostalgic time in America’s history.
Remember When Baseball Really Was America’s Past Time?
Acre Thomas Tulley proved to be a product of his time. In the late forties and early fifties, back before laptops and computer games, he was outside more than indoors. He spent hours on the railroad tracks hitting cinders with a stick. Afternoons were meant for swinging at corn cobs or having cob battles between the barn loft and the cow pound with his friends. Acre, George Johnson’s debut novel, is about a boy from the heartland of America, who grows up to become baseball legend. It is a story that takes readers back to a time when family was everything, contracts were sealed with a handshake, and a man was as good as his word.
From swinging sticks at cinders, Acre grew up to hit baseballs with his bat. From the beginning, Acre Thomas Tulley set his goals high. He was still a teenager when he accomplished feats in major league baseball never achieved by any other player in the history of the game.
Keeping to his good family roots, Acre never forgot a promise he made early in his career. But now, after achieving a legacy that will remain a benchmark for many years to come, will Acre Thomas Tulley walk away to keep that promise? Can he?
Guest Post by George Johnson
What was the hardest thing about writing the first book?
I’ve always been told the first step is to get your ideas down on paper, then go back and edit it. Do not concern yourself with commas, periods, punctuation or grammar. Well, I followed that rule to the letter, only I went a step further. I did it all in longhand. Over three years and sixty chapters, I did it all in longhand.
Now I can type, I just don’t like typing. So, I hired a lady to type it for me, and I paid her very well for the effort. Then I persuaded two school teacher friends to help me edit my book. The machine the lady used to type it did not have spell-check. We realized that we had a job on our hands. Over the next several weeks we found and corrected many, many mistakes. When we came to the end we decided to go back through it again, and we found even more mistakes the second time!
There was three sets of college educated eyes going back and forth, trying our very best to find the slightest thing. We had to research things I used in the book. I used dates many times, and found out later that they were not in chronological order. That called for making another trip through ACRE to correct the dates.
The salaries of the players at that time was another problem. I was using figures paid to players today when I should have used figures paid to players during the later forties and early fifties. So, another trip through ACRE was necessary.
In the process of writing ACRE, some of the names I used for the players and managers, I decided I wanted to change after reading the book so many times. They just didn’t sound right, so more changes were made.
Even the signatures or autographs of star players on the bats used by Acre had to be researched. I couldn’t have Acre swinging a Mickey Mantle bat in 1948-1949 when Mantle had not even appeared in the league yet. I gave Acre a Duke Snider bat to use.
I had Acre driving a Saturn automobile. Saturn cars appeared much later, so that also had to be changed too.
In writing Acre, I found I put the cart in front of the horse so many times. I knew what I wanted to say, but I didn’t exactly know how to say it. My research should have come first, before putting the book together.
One important detail that we all missed was I had Acre playing for a team that had not even appeared in the league yet. The team entered the league after Acre’s time. I played it safe when I said in the front of the book that Acre was a work of fiction.
To answer your question – “What was the hardest thing about writing this first book? I would have to say it was all hard. I just had to make it worse.
About the Author
George Johnson is a retired elementary school teacher from Prince George’s County, Maryland.
He thought about Acre for two years before he finally put it in writing.Then, it took him three years, off and on, to complete it and put it in print. Being a late starter, the author completed his second book of fiction called Timber. Acre and Timber are brother and sister. Timber took him two years to complete.
At the present time, he is compiling a collection of short stories he has composed over the years. George Johnson lives in Hagerstown, Maryland with Sharon, his wife of fifty-four years.