Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

On My Journey as an Author

My Journey as an Author

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of speaking to a children’s literature class at the University of Memphis. The class had been assigned a reading of Coach Dave: Season One and was to submit questions prior to my visit. The class’s questions were excellent, and I answered as many as time allowed on that day. I have divided the students’ questions into several topic groups, which I will address here on the blog for all of my readers.

Topic 1: Platform and Perspective

Topic 2: Dealing with Adults

Topic 3: Coach Dave’s Cast of Characters

Today: On My Journey as an Author

Questions from Students: On My Journey as an Author

Has it been worth all of the time and money that you spent on this series?

More yes than ever before. I wrote on one of the earlier posts in this series about a message from a baseball mom who told me that reading the Coach Dave series had changed her husband’s and son’s relationship both on and off the field. I kept the scorebook and scoreboard at a tournament last weekend and had a coach tell me he was always on the alert to avoid saying one of the “12 Things Not to Yell at the Game.” Another coach I met at that same tournament read some of the articles here on the blog and wrote me this message: “You are doing a great thing for the game, the young men who play, and the parents.”

I am humbled by such remarks, but I feel like my years in the game as an imperfect coach and my years as an imperfect dad have equipped me to help other imperfect people trying to build values in their sons and in the teams of which they are a part.

How important are reviews on websites such as Amazon for an author?

I like ’em. They help other people find the books, and every book I write is to help people in some shape, form, or fashion. So if you want to help others find my books, go to Amazon, click on any of my books that you have read, and leave a positive review. I would appreciate it.

What is your opinion on the lack of sports literature written about and for female readers?

I think it is an area of great opportunity. Many young ladies are extremely dedicated to their sports and would probably enjoy some sports stories about other young ladies like them. I’m not the writer best suited to provide those stories, but I think the right writer could build quite an audience in that niche.

What is your support system like in regards to your journey as an author?

I have had people encourage me to write. I have had others who have financially supported several ventures I have started as a new author. Others have helped me get my writing from one stage to another. I deeply appreciate all of their support.

I will tell you what matters more than anything as a writer: someone who believes in you. I have a few readers who will likely never know–though I tried to express it to them–the lonely ache that their belief in me has shoved aside at various points in my journey as an author.

It seems as if writers are often criticized for their work. Has your work ever been criticized? If so, what was it?

Sure, I’ll share one. I shared an article in a LinkedIn group one time about values storying. One hater made some snide comments about how cute I thought I was, discovering the power of narrative and all. Never having thought such a thing, I was a bit taken aback. Then a little angry. Then a former member of that particular group, where I discovered that several members seemed to enjoy taking potshots at the work of others. To quote a phrase now ingrained in pop culture, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

I also consider, of course, constructive criticism. I invite that type of criticism from my writing mastermind group, from my editor, and from my beta readers. That’s the good stuff that causes me to wrestle with my words to make them better.

What do you think is the future of sports novels? What keeps them popular?

Sports novels will continue to be attractive because they inspire us to face conflict and overcome. The obligatory scenes of a sports novel are as predictable as any genre but the key to a good sports novel is redemption. Redemption is a theme as old as the Fall. Humanity has been longing for it ever since. So whether sports related or not, a good story with redemption as its theme reminds us that that there is a greater story, a greater need within all of us for redemption. And hope.

Do you ever regret becoming a writer?

My main regret is not becoming a writer sooner. I may not have had the experience to write what I have written in my books without the events of my life that has shaped my story, so I don’t lose sleep over it or anything like that. But I just have so many stories that I want to tell and that need to be told.

Wait, I had a little regret on the day that I discovered that I had been cheated out of $598 in design fees for a couple of my book covers. That wasn’t the greatest day on my journey as an author. Other than that…


I hope you have gained a better insight of why I write about dealing with adults through a fictitious coach through these excellent questions from students. Check out more questions and answers about Coach Dave and values storying:

Topic 1: Platform and Perspective

Topic 2: Dealing with Adults

Topic 3: Coach Dave’s Cast of Characters

Get a copy of Coach Dave: Season One and Coach Dave Season Two: All-Stars and shoot me some questions of your own.





About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell.

Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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