You may know today’s guest as our resident indie author who pens the bimonthly “Indie Way” column here at Writer Unboxed. Today, Erika Liodice joins us to launch Rookie of the Year, the first book in her new High Flyers chapter book series for children ages seven to ten.
Three years ago, while driving on the highway, Erika spotted a truck with the words CONTAINS LIVE RACING PIGEONS stenciled on the side. What are racing pigeons? she wondered. This question sparked a journey that led her to discover the fascinating sport of pigeon racing, its wonderful winged athletes, and the passionate community of people who raise and race them. And it ultimately inspired her to write her newest book, Rookie of the Year.
Q1: What’s the premise of your new book?
Rocket’s got speed. He’s got talent. He’s even got two blue racing stripes on his wings. But one thing stands between this rookie racing pigeon and his dream of scoring a spot on the High Flyers racing team: ground school.
Determined to fast-track his way onto the team, Rocket crashes a race to prove that he belongs flying at the front of the flock, not sitting in the back of a classroom. But when danger strikes, he makes rookie mistakes that cost him the race and push his dreams even farther from reach. With the help of an unlikely friend, a forgotten legend, and lessons from his long-lost racing champion father, Rocket learns that racing takes more than speed, and he discovers what it really means to be a winner.
Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself?
Rookie of the Year is a humorous yet heartwarming racing tale that touches on themes of teamwork, perseverance, and friendship. It introduces children to the two-hundred-year-old sport of pigeon racing, which, until a few decades ago, was an international sensation and popular family pastime. Today, the sport is in danger of dying out because not enough young people are getting involved. Few even know about it, which was one of my motivations for writing the High Flyers series.
Q3: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?