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Fanbase Press Interviews Johanna Garton on the Upcoming Release of the Biography, ‘All in Stride,’ Through Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

The following is an interview with Johanna Garton regarding the upcoming release of All in Stride, a biography of athletes Shadrack Kipchirchir, Elvin Kibet, and Sammy Schultz through Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Garton about her creative experience in sharing these athletes’ stories, what she hopes that readers may take away from the book, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of All in Stride! What encouraged you to share these individuals’ story with readers?

Johanna Garton: All three of these athletes are extraordinary human beings who have boundless optimism and resiliency. I knew immediately upon hearing their individual stories that I wanted to learn more. I knew others would, as well.

I was also drawn to the fact that their stories would allow me to weave together so many fascinating issues that people love to read about and knew immediately this would make a compelling book. First and foremost, this is a running narrative. Running is such a vital part of their journey, and as a runner myself, I knew there would be an audience for that. There’s a rich history of distance running lore that I was able to explore, both from a Kenyan and American perspective. There’s also an immigration component, which I think is always worth exploring because of the ever-changing demographics of our country. Their time spent in the U.S. Army is intriguing. Military life has always been endlessly fascinating to me and it’s a world I don’t think enough of us know about. Finally, there’s the love story, and how the two of them met, fell in love, and went on to create a history together. So, it’s got all the elements that make for a captivating read.

A Johanna Garton

BD: This is your third biographical work, following the release of Awakening East and Edge of the Map. As a writer and journalist, what can you tell us about your creative process in both researching and crafting the narrative behind these stories?

JG: There are biographical elements in what I write, but I consider all my books narratives which tell stories that transcend the lives of the people I’m writing about. I start by making sure that there are several different elements in place before I write each book. I want to take readers on a journey that often will mimic their own journeys. The characters must be relatable and willing to show vulnerabilities so that readers can really connect. I spend time getting to know my subjects, but also talk to friends and family so that there’s a richer portrait to each. Finally, I try to ensure that there’s a strong story arc in place, so that readers feel pulled along in the narrative.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Kipchirchir, Kibet, and Schultz’s story may connect with and impact readers?

JG: One thing I loved about weaving these stories together was the variety of challenges they each had to overcome. There’s not just one theme the book explores, but many, which is so often the case in our own lives. There are moments of poverty, racism, transitions to new lives in a new country. I explore what it’s like to face an eating disorder, the highs and lows of being an Olympic athlete, we see moments of overt sexism, as well as pregnancy and how that impacted an athletic career. I suspect that readers will find multiple way to connect with the characters, even if their own life stories are very different.

BD: What makes Rowman & Littlefield Publishers the perfect home for this book?

JG: Rowman & Littlefield does an outstanding job of highlighting sports narratives, particularly those untold stories that otherwise would never be heard. It was clear from the start of working together that they would allow me enough creative expression to tell the story I wanted to tell, rather than molding the story to fit a particular formula. Most books about sports revolve around one big event, and there’s a crescendo, followed by a victory or defeat. All in Stride is more reflective of the lives most people can relate to, that being lives which have peaks and valleys and stories within. Rowman & Littlefield is a big believer in supporting authors who want to share those stories.

BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you would like to share with readers?

JG: I’m working with a production team who’s keen to make my last book, Edge of the Map, into a feature film. As you can imagine, this could take years if it ever happens at all, but I’m enjoying learning about the movie business and would be thrilled if it someday happened.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about All in Stride and your other work?

JG: I’d encourage them to reach out, as I’m an author who loves hearing from fans. I can be reached via my website, and on Instagram at johannagartonbooks.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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