A Right Turn at the Soccer Field

Our recently published book, Kicking Grass Taking Games is not a mystery. Traditional wisdom dictates that if an author is departing from her usual brand of writing, she should do so under a pseudonym. Otherwise, she risks alienating readers. Think what a shock it would be to aficionados of Mother Goose to pick up one of her books and discover it was a slasher-horror. Oh wait, that would be The Three Little Pigs. Hmm. How about Stephen King writing a romance novel with a buxom raven-haired beauty on the cover? His legions of readers would, in a word, be surprised, but not necessarily delighted. So why didn’t we choose a new and memorable pen name for our non-fiction book, like Nancy Nithercott, or Poppy Portendorfer? Why did we use our mystery pen name, Maddi Davidson, to publish a non-fiction book?

There is method in our madness. First, mystery is the most popular genre with nearly half of book readers consuming one each year. Mystery aficionados are avid readers consuming a dozen or more mysteries each year. And many read in other genres, too. Seventy percent of those who buy mystery books are women. We believe these readers, and by extension our readers, are drawn to stories with strong women. Emma, the heroine of our first three books, is no little mouse. In fact, she’s more like a curious cat, poking her nose into places it doesn’t belong, precipitating a situation where she ends up with her back against the wall, and comes out hissing and clawing. Emma’s landlady, Magda, twice widowed wife of military men, also faces down adversity and epitomizes the “kick-ass, take-names” attitude of the Marine Corps.

And that brings us to Kicking Grass Taking Games, a story of women who were determined to play soccer and overcome whatever stood in their way. Magda Basilone could have been one of them. The lack of fields, disrespect of referees, football-centric mentality of coaches, and opposition from the macho-male soccer establishment did not keep these women from forming teams and leagues and playing the game. Similarly, when the women suffered broken bones, battles with cancer, and loss of loved ones, they battled back to return to the game they loved and their teammates who had become so important in their lives.

We’re confident Kicking Grass Taking Games will be a treat for those who liked our first three books, as well as those who have yet to read them.

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