Jerry Amernic

Jerry Amernic

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
November 17, 2004

Q. Who is Jerry Amernic?

A. Iím a writer who lives in Toronto. Iíve been a newspaper reporter, freelance writer for magazines, weekly columnist with a large daily, and a college writing instructor. Iíve written four books, but Gift of the Bambino is my first published novel. I work as an independent writer and public relations consultant.

Q. What inspired you to write GIFT OF THE BAMBINO?

A. Shortly after my father died, I got hold of a photo of his 1934 city-champion basketball team. At the time I was reading a biography about Babe Ruth and found out about his first pro home run taking place in Toronto in 1914 when he was a minor-leaguer. The boys in my fatherís old photo came to life in my mind and became characters in my novel. I wound up dedicating the book to my Dad.

Q. How did you come about the title?

A. It was originally called The Southpaw, which was a terrible title. But the story is really about hope, fantasy and mythology. Babe Ruth was the Bambino and he left my protaganist (and hopefully my reader) a valuable gift so thatís how it came about.

Q. Did you base Stephenís character on somebody that you know?

A. Stephen is really a composite of lots of people. When I wrote Gift of the Bambino, my neice was about six and I took note of how she reacted to things. What I was trying to do was look at the world the way a child would.

Q. How did you come about Grandpa Lazoís character?

A. Thatís easy. Grandpa is (loosely) based on my Dad. His family was Polish in origin and his real name was Lazaros. But eventually the characters a writer writes about become their own people.

Q. Why did you choose to tell a story surrounding Babe Ruthís career?

A. It was serendipity. The story came from the old photo of my Dad and the Babe Ruth biography I was reading.

Q. How long have you been writing?

A. A l-o-n-g time. But I enjoy fiction more than anything else. Unfortunately, it can also be the most frustrating.

Q. How many books have you written?

A. My first book was a non-fiction book published in Canada in 1984. It was about the criminal justice system. Two other books were business-type books for a US publisher, published in 1998 and 1999. As for fiction, Iíve written five novels, Gift of the Bambino being no. 2. (The first one will never see the light of day. It was bad). As for the three novels written since Bambino, one is a lark, totally off-the-wall, but the other two are serious works of historical fiction. QUMRAN has a definite Middle-East flavor and MEDICINE MAN is about the legacy of the Iroquois Indians. The agent who sold Bambino to St. Martinís has read them both and is now marketing QUMRAN to US and UK publishers.

Q. Are you currently working on another book?

A. Not right now. Trying to make a buck. But I have an idea for another novel that wonít go away.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading GIFT OF THE BAMBINO?

A. That life is more than what you see and hear. Itís also what you feel.