This column launches an AJT series in which authors in Jewish Atlanta discuss their latest books. Scott Zucker writes about his novel “Rally on Two.”
“Rally on Two” is essentially a story of redemption. It’s about a man, Hank Bennett, who loses everything and is given a chance to rebuild his life and career. The question in the story is whether he can do it.
What I really enjoyed about writing this book is that I was able to explore different themes within one story line — themes that affect all of us as individuals, like work, love and loss. Wrapped around this story of redemption is the game of baseball.
I love baseball. I see it as a metaphor for life. The fact that each year in the spring all the teams start anew. Last year’s record becomes irrelevant, and everyone is given a clean slate.
And in the game of baseball, it’s never over until it’s over. Teams always have the chance to rally back to win. Even if they can tie, the game allows the opportunity for extra innings, or more new chances to win.
And that’s Hank’s story. He finds himself helping a friend coach a Little League team while he starts to rebuild his life and law practice after experiencing a traumatic personal loss. And just as in the game of baseball, he begins to rally.
He becomes involved in two significant lawsuits, each affecting other people’s lives, and he begins to open himself up to the chance at life again. He even finds himself with the chance to love again.
I love writing fiction. Since I have been practicing law for over 30 years, it gives me a chance to let my mind wander from the structured aspects of writing legal briefs to writing creatively and with a different style. It is really fun for me to create these stories and to put them down on paper.
If I like the character and where he is taking me in the story, the writing becomes easy. I essentially become the writing instrument for the character itself. When that happens, and the words flow from the character, the character takes on a life of its own.
I am an example of someone who writes from what he knows or has experienced. So the inspiration for the book evolved not only from my love of the game of baseball and what it means to me, but from my own experiences coaching my boys in Little League when they were younger.
On top of that, I have witnessed over the years, in both my family and with friends, the incredible ability to overcome personal adversity and challenges. And it is in the spirit of honor and reverence to those who have prevailed that I created this character who is fighting for his chance at a renewed and happy life.
I tend to write in a short-chapter, somewhat staccato format. Essentially, the story lines in both “Rally on Two” and “Chain of Custody” occur during a short period of time, basically an episode in someone’s life. And the stories are somewhat linear as well.
I have read plenty of books that jump back and forth in time and have multiple characters. My goal was to make my books relatively simple in structure, easy to read and follow. I have had a number of people tell me that they read the book in one night. My response has been that the book was “too hard to put down” or that the person must have a bad case of insomnia.
I wrote this book, as I did my first book, “Chain of Custody,” hoping to have the readers invest themselves in the characters and share their quest for justice and personal success. But “Rally on Two” is a bit different because readers get to explore the main character’s personal journey.
It’s my hope they’ll be rooting for Hank in the story, hoping that he’ll win in the end, both personally and professionally. Because at the end of the day, the book offers us the chance to answer the same question for ourselves that Hank strives for in the book: If we’re in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, can we still rally?
Can we rally on two?
Scott Zucker is a partner in the Buckhead-based law firm of Weissmann Zucker Euster Morochnik & Garber, is a past president of Temple Sinai, and serves on the boards of American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. He and his wife, Melanie, have two children, Drew and Jack, and live in Sandy Springs.