Albert Camus

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

a shocking truth - Strange Country Day by Charles Curtis

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers.


Publication Date: August 2015

Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, wants to play for the school’s football team. During tryouts, and under the watchful eye of the team’s coach, he suddenly manifests mysterious superhuman powers. Alexander makes the team, but not before the some ill-intended adults take notice, putting his life in danger.

Alex struggles to suppress and control his strange new abilities, worried about exposing his secret and being kicked off the football team. Then he befriends Dex, a diminutive classmate who can somehow jump as high as ten feet in the air. Seems Alex isn’t the only one at school with a secret.

As the school year unfolds, Alex will find himself the target of bullies, holding hands with his first crush and discovering the shocking truth about himself and his parents.

From Sports Reporter to Fantasy Writer 

Sportswriting might be one of the coolest jobs in the universe, but it’s a career that also requires 24/7/365 attention, especially in today’s content-driven market that asks for up-to-the-second updates. What’s going on off the field before the game? What are the notable/fascinating/season-changing moment during games? What do athletes say after that day’s contest? The cycle can be never-ending.

I spent much of my 20s with sports on my mind – even at a freelance job at ESPN The Magazine, which looked less at the day-to-day and more at what was coming down the road, I had to stay one step ahead of everyone else, especially to make that next paycheck. My creative writing aspirations – I wrote and published stories in high school, went to college hoping to be a screenwriter and left it wanting to be a playwright – slowly faded as I realized I had new priorities, including the possibility of moving up from freelancer to full-timer and having the carrot of an editor job dangled in front me. Make no mistake, I was having a blast (and still do!) writing about sports – it’s a dream come true.

Years later, the nugget that ended up being the idea for “Strange Country Day” popped up thanks to a random book concept my mom mentioned to me. Though her idea was “vampires playing football,” I tossed out the living dead and replaced it with dashes of “writing what I knew”: A sports-centric series along with the inspiration of my extensive comic book collection and the piles of young adult, science fiction and fantasy books I read growing up.

I felt a spark in my brain I hadn’t felt in a long, long time. My walks to and from work focused on “Strange Country Day” and countless nights over the next few years were spent writing fiction. There was something liberating about being able to create an entire universe from scratch and see it come alive on the page, instead of writing about reality all the time.

I also took inspiration from my day job. Back at ESPN, I’d interviewed a famous futurist and inventor named Ray Kurzweil, who predicted the not-so-distant future of sports would include legal, technology-driven performance enhancement. SORT-OF SPOILER ALERT: That plays a big part in “SCD.” The fantasy in the novel might turn out to be reality.

Here’s your non-spoiler guide to “SCD”: Alexander Graham Ptuiac, the son of an inventor, arrives in a new town and at a new junior high school where he knows no one. But the football-loving seventh grader finds he’s imbued with special abilities that help him throw like an NFL quarterback. When he finds out his friend Dex can leap 10 feet in the air to grab passes, they suddenly find themselves on Strange Country Day’s football team … and the people looking to find out about their powers begin closing in. 
About the author:
Charles Curtis is a writer and journalist based in New York City. He has reported and written for publications including NJ.com (where he is currently the site’s sports buzz reporter), The Daily, ESPN.com, ESPN the Magazine, Bleacher Report, TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Charles has covered the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, golf, tennis and NASCAR. He has also written about television, film and pop culture.

In addition, Curtis has also written, produced and was featured in videos for ESPN.com and The Daily. He has made radio appearances on stations including 92.9 The Ticket in Bangor, Maine, WLIE 540 AM in Long Island and on morning shows across Canada via the CBC.

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