To write a novel that involves playing for a Superliga basketball team, you have to approach it like travel writer in a sense.
I’ve traveled to some of the places in the Czech Republic like Prague and Cesky Budejovice back in 2004. But for the rest I used guide books and imagined. After all, I am a fiction writer.
All the places are real in the novel except Svet. Svet is the team Frank Savek plays for. That way I could create the little town I wanted in the north of the country in a football shaped canyon with a river running through it.
I had to be a kind of travelogue novelist. You have to know the place to render it real but not get bogged down in details that a tourist would be looking for.
Here is a scene from near the beginning that gives you a feel of where things are headed.
When we got back to my apartment, Josef pulled out a letter from the Svet Sports club.
“Here is that letter. Let me read it to you,” he said.
17 April 1993
Dear Mister Josef Savek,
We have heard very positive things about your recent play in the Inter-England league. Congratulations on your fine season! You should be very proud of your accomplishments. This letter is a follow up to your phone conversation on March 30 with our representative Bryan Wexford from Manchester, U.K.. As the head coach of the Svet Basketball Sports club I would like to introduce myself to you.
Svet is an idyllic town of 30,000 located in the Czech Republic in the Krakonce Mountains. We are 175 kilometers northeast of Prague. Our basketball club welcomes a player with your abilities. We think you will be able to help us be more competitive in the ten-team Czech Professional Basketball Superliga. Last season we had a strong team. We play a 40-game season. Your compensation will be 5,000 Crowns per month. Your accommodations will be dormitory style in housing provided by our team owner, Mr. Milos Koliar.
Our season begins 17 August. We are beginning our training camp 15 July but we would be willing to have you come two weeks prior to our first game. The best arrangement would be to meet you in Vienna, Austria on 24 July and drive you across the Czech border to Svet.
We think that you will find that Svet is an enjoyable place to live and play in the upcoming season. We hope to speak with you very soon to confirm your intention to join our team.
Coach/Director Svet Lions Sports Club
“Any more info on it?”
“Yes, here are the teams in the league,” Josef said.
He handed me a league schedule that listed the ten Czech teams on the front.