Welcome to the premier installment of “Catching Up With…” Xulon Press’ new quarterly series featuring interviews with select authors previously showcased in our “Successful Author Spotlight” series. The purpose of this new series is to revisit some of our authors and share what they have been doing since we last interviewed them. It is our prayer that by featuring their journey, it will provide both inspiration and encouragement to our readers through their examples. Whether it’s a new book they’ve published or a new opportunity that they have been afforded in ministry, we hope that you will enjoy each installment of Xulon Press’ new series “Catching Up With…”
Andy Purvis was first featured in our “Spotlight” in August 2012. Andy is a walking, talking encyclopedia of sports facts and stories, mostly personal and always entertaining. He has shared those stories that share their “Greatness” in a series of a sports enthusiast’s must have books. First in 2010, with “In the Company of Greatness”, then in 2012 with “Remembered Greatness” and in March of this year, Xulon Press will be publishing the third in this series, appropriately called “Greatness Continued” which features short stories about 58 new sports heroes that Andy brings back to life with his wit and gift of storytelling. He explains that there are three criteria to being featured in his “Greatness” series: 1- They have to have passed away, 2- They have to have been someone he met or had an encounter with, and 3- They have to be a “hero”, inspiring others with their struggles and their successes. They may have had struggles, like we all have, but they didn’t let their struggles stop their successes-- inspiring their fans and making them heroes.
As we began to catch up with Andy, I asked him “ What new opportunities have you been given since we last spoke?” As he began to share the “new” events of his life, you could tell, there was just no “retiring” in this southern gentleman. Andy has been really busy with the following:
--Two Radio shows weekly on ESPN 1440 KEYS AM Corpus Christi, TX.
1) “Storytime With Uncle Andy” airs Tuesdays 5-6PM Central. You can listen live to both shows on www.espncorpus.com. Here I promote my books and discuss athletes who I have written about.
2) “Dennis & Andy's Q & A Session” Thursdays 6-8 PM Central. It’s a two hour sports talk and call in show with trivia and special guests. 361 560 5397 My partner is Dennis Quinn. We have been together twenty years in the Corpus market and on several different stations. We also do live remotes at different locations in town including my restaurant, Beamer's Sports Grill. Some of the guests we have had interviews with these last six months include: Derek Jeter, Nolan Ryan, Milo Hamilton, Manny Machado, Buck Showalter, Steve Busby, Adam Jones, Bill Spaceman Lee, Gary Bell, Dooley Womack, Shane Nelson, Juan Castillo, Ron Harms and Norm Charlton. We also discuss different stories from my book on air.
--I write an ESPN weekly blog Go to espncorpus.com. Click on Blogs for dropdown and then click Uncle Andy. There’s a new blog every Monday with my book info at the bottom.
--My Web Site www.purvisbooks.com Super web site with hundreds of photos, reviews, book ordering info, radio interviews and TV interviews and a guest section to leave comments. Check it out.
--I also sell my books off the counter at my restaurant (Beamer's Sports Grill-located at 5922 S Staples in Corpus Christi) The restaurant has been chosen "Best of the Best Sports Grill" three years in row in Corpus by the readers. This gives me a chance to meet the readers in person, autograph or sign inscriptions to buyers. They always want to talk about their favorite sports stories. After the book purchase, I thank them “on air” the following show. Everyone likes to hear their name in the air.
--I have media credentials for the local Minor League baseball team Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, The Texas A & M Corpus Christi University Islanders Men's basketball and baseball teams and the Texas A&M Kingsville University- their athletic programs.
--I write a weekly sports article for The Island Moon, a weekly paper delivered free to all residents on Padre Island each Thursday. Each article includes my book info.
--My new book is finished "Greatness Continued." It includes 58 stories of some of the great athletes, coaches and announcers who have passed in the last two years (2012-1013) Some of those names are: Stan Musial, Earl Weaver, Ben Davidson, LC Greenwood, Steve Sabol, Darryl Royal, Jack Pardee, Bum Phillips, Beano Cook, Joe Paterno, Angelo Dundee and Gary Carter. I have met most of them and these are my stories of my heroes. The book includes 40 pictures, most taken by me or of me and the topic. This book is the third of what I now refer to as the “Greatness Series”. "In the Company of Greatness" and "Remembered Greatness" are the first two.
-- I have been asked to write for a brand new monthly magazine called "The Bend." It is short for the “Coastal Bend”, I believe. They want to give me the back page and call it "Back When." First issue is due out in April 2014.”
I was already very impressed with the opportunities he has been afforded, but Andy continued “The additional session on Tuesdays for “The Storytime with Uncle Andy”. I get to talk about the folks I write about. Listeners come into the Beamer Restaurant and ask “where is that Uncle Andy guy?”. I believe that the stories are gifts and it’s these stories that connect us together.”
Andy continued.”Jesus was the greatest storyteller of all time. When He gathered His disciples together, it was about relationships. When I write, it’s about me sharing with you what you don’t get to see on TV. Don’t forget: The TV is “used” to sell you something. But there’s a story behind what you see on TV. In my new book, there is a picture of Mickey Mantle with a girl in the wheel chair and her mom . Back story to that? Mickey and I were walking down the hall, and…without being asked, no one else there, not a publicity stunt, Mickey knelt beside her and took a picture with the girl. And… I took a picture of that. That’s the picture that you don’t see on TV. He was more than just what TV portrayed him as, which was: a womanizer and a drinker. He was that little girl’s hero… and mine!”
I probed further when I asked “What is on the horizon for the next year?” Andy responded “My new book will be released March/April timeframe. I’ve already started with two new stories for a new book in the Greatness Series. I’m kicking around some possible titles: More Memories of Greatness and My Brush with Greatness.”
I wanted to dig deeper into the life of this seasoned author, so I asked “How has God blessed you in a way you never expected?” He pondered for a moment and then shared “My oldest granddaughter Sarah decided in June 2013 that she wanted to be a missionary to Bolivia, and she will be there for 18 months. And I am a great grandfather to little Jack James, born in Branson, Missouri in 2014. And finally, our youngest grandson Nathan, 14 years old, has started writing. He even put in a statement in my latest book, and I envision us someday writing together.”
I asked Andy, “Where do you see your next adventure taking you?” he sounded like a 15 year old, full of hope and wonder as he answered “I’ve always wanted to do play-by-play on the radio. There is a chance that I might be able to do that for the first time. I want to continue to meet more of my heroes. I want to learn more of the social media--Twitter and Facebook. I want to get back on “session” with my church, where I serve our congregation, 3 years an elder and 3 years as a deacon. You can only serve six years and then take some time off… which I did, but I would love to serve again in that elder/deacon capacity.”
As we drew to a close, I challenged him “If you could share one message with our viewers about the Lord, what would you share?” He became reflective and revealed his heart as he encouraged our audience with “You are loved, you are forgiven and you are a child of God. Our faith gives us balance. God uses what we go through for someone else’s benefit.”
I concluded our time of catching up with “What would be the one thing that you dared to write about that scared you but… you knew… you just had to write?” Andy welled up as he spoke “My father’s book “Upon Further Review”. It took twenty years just to decide to write it. I would write and then-- tear it up. My wife would ask “you’re not going to include that in the book, are you?” but… I did. I finally decided to lay it all out there and I’m glad I did. I was afraid to write it but… my father taught me to stand up for what I believe-- To express my feelings-- He gave me the drive to get things done.”
Andy asked me to wait a moment and then, I heard him turn pages and began to read from this book about his father. As he read the last chapter….he wept as he lived the words he was reading. I wept too… honored to be ”living it” with him.
Andy shared what his friend Mike Patranella said “when I read your book, I can hear your voice reading it to me!”
And isn’t that the test of a true storyteller?
Andy just makes us feel like he is “right there, by our side, sharing his story.”
And that’s what made it so good.
Just “Catching Up with Andy Purvis!”