I had the idea for Fastball Fari many years ago, but I was too occupied with the business of survival to actually write anything. Instead, I daydreamed about the various scenes I wanted in the book – essentially writing it on a mental tablet. When I finally had the freedom and time to actually get the book out of my head, the dreams poured out quite quickly; I wrote the first draft in four months. Since then, it’s been rewrite, rewrite and rewrite.
I especially enjoyed the clash of personalities. I gave the main characters wildly different worldviews and threw them together. For example, Fari and her mother Frances hold quite radical political and social philosophies, and yet Frances must negotiate with the team’s owner, Howard Sikes, billionaire. Frances enjoys the opportunity to make Howard squirm; she’s Fari’s agent and Howard desperately wants Fari on the team.
Fari Madrigal is a quiet, shy girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, which manifests as a collection of social phobias. She lives in total isolation – what she calls “hermitation” – but when she joins the Minnesota Twins professional baseball team her identity is immediately thrust out on the national and international level. Fari reacts strongly and suffers a few panic attacks. She employs various emotional and mental strategies in trying to cope, but the media is voracious and everywhere. Fari clashes with everyone, except the pitching coach.
A romance blooms as a natural consequence of two wayward souls uniting through loneliness and grief. Chet Macquire, the Twins pitching coach, is a recent widower and recluse. Fastball Fari, hermit and baseball pitcher, charges into his life with all the heat and brilliance of a new sun.