Book Tour: The Babe Ruth Deception

Author Interview

  • How long have you been writing?

About 15 years ago, after a long time as a trial and appellate lawyer, I wanted to figure out how to write novels.  Three unsold manuscripts later, I moved on to writing narrative history, and published four books on American history with Simon and Schuster (starting with The Summer of 1787, about the creation of our Constitution).  But the fiction itch never went away.  I got to scratch it for good with The Lincoln Deception, a historical mystery about the John Wilkes Booth Conspiracy, which released in 2013.  The Babe Ruth Deception is the third in this series of mysteries.

  • What is your favorite genre to write?

Whatever I’m working on in the moment.  I love writing fiction – having the characters come alive on the page, creating a story and imagining conversations (dialogue is the best).  But straight histories are fascinating, too.  I enjoy the puzzle of sorting out key moments in our convoluted and poorly documented past.  I have been working on two historical novels that I hope to find a home for soon, and am now researching a book on George Washington for Penguin Random House.

  • Please tell us about The Babe Ruth Deception.

Blending history with an imagined story, it begins with the Roaring Twenties, when America is bursting with both energy and corruption — bootleggers flout Prohibition while baseball heroes face scandal.  The central figure, Babe Ruth, has seized this boisterous new era by the scruff of its neck, becoming an instant legend by hitting more home runs for the New York Yankees in 1920 than any other team in the American League.  But the Babe pays a price for being larger than life on the field and off.  The gamblers who fixed the 1919 World Series in the “Black Sox Scandal” zero in on him . . . investigators are sniffing around the 1918 World Series, which Ruth won with the Boston Red Sox.  And the Babe has a secret.

With gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein turning up the heat, Ruth turns to Speed Cook, ex-ballplayer and now a promoter of Negro baseball, who can play the game rough or straight, depending on what’s needed.  Cook brings in help from Dr. Jamie Fraser, whose wife Eliza produces a silent movie starring the Babe, only to find that Cook’s son (a bootlegger) and Fraser’s daughter embroiled in an interracial romance that carries terrifying risks in sharply segregated America.

To protect Babe Ruth – and their love-besotted children – Cook and Fraser have to play a very dangerous game. . . .

  • Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Nothing compares with the challenge of bringing to life a legend like Babe Ruth.  He was this prodigiously talented manchild: the best baseball player ever, yet barely educated, way too trusting, and a slave to his appetites (food, liquor, sex).  Yet he also was endlessly charming and surprisingly savvy about business.  The Babe often played the buffoon in public, yet no one becomes the best at anything without discipline, drive, and a sharp intelligence.  I loved trying to capture all of his many qualities.

As for my least favorite characters, I can’t say there was one.  Working out the villains is just as much fun — in this story, the gambler/gangster and former world flyweight champion Abe Attell gets the most air time as a heavy, and he was a hoot to figure out.

  • What was the hardest part about writing your book?

For me, it’s always the ending that’s the hardest.  The major story lines have to resolve in ways that are credible (no comets from outer space saving our heroes) yet are still surprising (“hey, I didn’t see THAT coming. . . “).

  • What is your writing routine?

I SO wish I had a writing routine.  Every day is different.  Should I go to the gym?  Do I have to do something for the online book review I founded (The Washington Independent Review of Books,  Or do I have a consulting gig that day, or am I giving a book talk?  There’s only one constant:  every day, I have to put in some work on the current book project.

  • Can you tell us about your editing process?

Endless!  Every sentence can be made better.  Or shorter.  Or punchier.  Or carry more of the story along more effectively.  One thing has changed over the years:  Now I try not to edit too much until I have a full draft, mostly to ensure that I don’t lose my forward momentum while fussing over a scene or a character or a paragraph.  But once I have the draft, I’ll go over and over it, then ask friends to take a look, then revise again after setting it aside for a while.  The final step involves reading it out loud to myself:  sometimes you hear a problem more readily than you notice it on the page, especially after you’ve edited that page a dozen times.

  • Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

The Babe Ruth Deception is the third in my Fraser-Cook series.  I have some ideas for what might happen next for my heroes, but for now I’m working on other projects.

  • Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Be brave.  Writing is terrifying.  You could write something really stupid, or wrong, or just plain shallow.  Do it anyway.

  • Why should everyone read your book?

For fun, to appreciate the Babe, and for a chance to dip into a fascinating era in the past.

  • What inspired you to write your book?

The first two mysteries in this series involved very serious matters – the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln (The Lincoln Deception) and the disastrous treaty that ended World War I (The Wilson Deception).  I wanted to write a story that was fun, and involved baseball!

  • Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I have working drafts of two historical novels inspired by stories in my family.  The first explores the hardship and terrors of settling the Maine Coast in the 1750s and then becoming part of a new, revolutionary nation.  The second picks up the tale a century later, with a legendary Maine regiment during the Civil War and then the fresh challenges of moving West.

The Babe Ruth Deception
by David O. Stewart

Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages

Series: A Fraser and Cook Mystery (Book 3)
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mysteries/Baseball

As the Roaring Twenties get under way, corruption seems everywhere–from the bootleggers flouting Prohibition to the cherished heroes of the American Pastime now tarnished by scandal. Swept up in the maelstrom are Dr. Jamie Fraser and Speed Cook…

Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, is having a record-breaking season in his first year as a New York Yankee. In 1920, he will hit more home runs than any other team in the American League. Larger than life on the ball field and off, Ruth is about to discover what the Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are learning–baseball heroes are not invulnerable to scandal. With suspicion in the air, Ruth’s 1918 World Series win for the Boston Red Sox is now being questioned. Under scrutiny by the new baseball commissioner and enmeshed with gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein, Ruth turns for help to Speed Cook–a former professional ballplayer himself before the game was segregated and now a promoter of Negro baseball–who’s familiar with the dirty underside of the sport.

Cook in turn enlists the help of Dr. Jamie Fraser, whose wife Eliza is coproducing a silent film starring the Yankee outfielder. Restraint does not come easily to the reckless Ruth, but the Frasers try to keep him in line while Cook digs around.

As all this plays out, Cook’s son Joshua and Fraser’s daughter Violet are brought together by a shocking tragedy. But an interracial relationship in 1920 feels as dangerous as a public scandal–even more so because Joshua is heavily involved in bootlegging. Trying to protect Ruth and their own children, Fraser and Cook find themselves playing a dangerous game.

Once again masterfully blending fact and fiction, David O. Stewart delivers a nail-biting historical mystery that captures an era unlike any America has seen before or since in all its moral complexity and dizzying excitement.

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Praise for The Babe Ruth Deception

“Having mastered the craft of writing novels that feature Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson, David O. Stewart has now chosen someone who is perfect for the genre. Babe Ruth was as mythic as a person gets, and the author has surrounded The Babe with a Prohibition cast of bootleggers, gangsters and thugs, giving us a fine yarn that mixes and matches the grand glories of The National Pastime with the nefarious foibles of human nature.” –Frank Deford, Sportswriter and Bestselling Novelist

“This is so much more than a baseball book. There’s a lot of the Babe, but it’s a history book, a mystery book, a complex book that beautifully details an era in America. I loved it!” –Tim Kurkjian, ESPN Baseball Contributor and Author

“[The Babe Ruth Deception] cleverly mixes real-life people and historical events. The problems of the unlikely sleuths will particularly appeal to baseball fans.” –Kirkus Reviews

“A rollicking real-life figure leads to a rollicking fictional romp. The allure of the Babe may bring you into this book; David O. Stewart’s lively tale will keep you there.” –Kostya Kennedy

“Well-written novels that blend fact and fiction always get my attention, and if it’s Babe Ruth and characters from his era, I’m in. David O. Stewart reminds us of why the ‘20s roared, and how much fun the Babe was. A delight!” –Marty Appel, author of Pinstripe Empire

“David O. Stewart, the master of fictional historic deceptions, has hit one out of the park with The Babe Ruth Deception. Not only is it most cleverly plotted but gives us a feel for the corrupt and colorful Era of Prohibition when Babe Ruth was at his most beloved despite – or because of – his off-the-field flaws and excesses.” –Paul Dickson author of Leo Durocher – Baseball’s Prodigal Son

About the Author

David O. Stewart, formerly a lawyer, writes fiction and history. His first historical work told the story of the writing of the Constitution (“The Summer of 1787”). It was a Washington Post Bestseller and won the Washington Writing Prize for Best Book of 2007. His second book (“Impeached”), grew from a judicial impeachment trial he defended before the United States Senate in 1989. “American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America” explored Burr’s astounding Western expedition of 1805-07 and his treason trial before Chief Justice John Marshall. “Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America” debuted in February 2015. He has received the 2013 History Award of the Society of the Cincinnati and the 2016 William Prescott Award for History Writing from the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

Stewart’s fiction career began with the release of “The Lincoln Deception,” an historical novel exploring the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy. “The Wilson Deception,” the sequel, is set at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. “The Babe Ruth Deception” occurs during the Babe’s first two years with the Yankees while he remade baseball and America began the modern era with Prohibition, bootlegging, and terrrorism.

Stewart lives with his wife in Maryland. Visit his website at

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 27
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 28
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, June 29
Interview at I Heart Reading

Friday, June 30
Spotlight at A Holland Reads

Sunday, July 2
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, July 3
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, July 4
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, July 6
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, July 7
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, July 10
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, July 11
Review at Laura’s Interests

Wednesday, July 12
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, July 19
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 21
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Wednesday, July 26
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Thursday, July 27
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of The Babe Ruth Deception! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Babe Ruth Deception

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