What is your genre? Why did you choose it? – Our genre doesn’t necessarily fit into one box. It is a non-fiction, compilation of twenty interviews we have conducted ourselves with professional footballers, about their football careers and Christian faith. Each interview features a mini biography of the player.
Do you work on more than one manuscript at a time? – This is our first book and for us, we had to juggle multiple interviews over a very short period of time. We didn’t necessarily have more than one manuscript on the go, but we did have at times, 6 or 7 interviews going on that needed editing.
Do you work with a writing/critique group? – No, not at the moment. It would be nice to meet other writers who have produced content that runs parallel to our book. We always appreciate feedback and it would be great to connect with more writers.
Do you nibble on snacks while writing? If so, what is your chosen treat? -Well, transcribing 20 interviews can take its toll! I can be partial to the occasional Haribo whilst facing a few hours of typing up questions and answers.
Tidy desk or a bombsite? Describe your writing area with us – I am incredibly tidy! OCD tidy. A tidy desk is a tidy mind in my eyes. I do like to have some of my published articles on the desk to encourage and inspire me, otherwise I like to keep things quite neat and clutter free.
Are you published in the traditional manner or self-published? Share your journey. – Well, our journey has been quite amazing. I’ll try my best to talk you through it. It first began about 4 years ago when I was in my garden at home, in Frinton on sea. As a Christian, I love to spend time praying and talking to God and that’s exactly what I was doing on this one summer’s afternoon. I remember sitting out and really felt God say to me, “Ollie, you’re going to write a book.” I laughed it off in my head and so did my Mum when I told her! Nothing really came of it for the next few years, but I always thought about why God had told me I would write a book. Maybe I was making it up in my head?
Anyway, fast forward a few years and I was in my 3rd year of University. I was studying PE and Sports Science and I had conceded to the idea that the next natural progression was for me to become a PE teacher. However, I stumbled across an advert in sports writing and entered a competition to write for a big website over the 2014 World Cup. Incredibly, I was named one of the winners and all of a sudden I found a huge passion for writing. I loved the buzz of it. During this time, I had been talking with a good friend of mine, Liam Flint who I knew from church at University and we had joked about the idea of starting a “faith and football” website or magazine as that’s what we were both passionate about. After a year in the writing industry, I contacted Liam and said, “let’s give this faith and football thing a go”. We started our own website called ‘Cross The Line’ (www.xtheline.co.uk) which after a year of hard, dedicated work has reached over 6,000,000 views and is growing daily. We started by writing faith and football articles but really wanted to branch out and interview professional Christian footballers. We contacted a few players but with very little response. However, we finally got 1 or 2 players and it snowballed from that point on. People were seeing and reading our interviews, they were commenting and telling us to talk to more players. It was brilliant.
At this point, it was about October 2015 and I strictly remember saying to Liam who is the other co-founder of Cross The Line, “mate, I really think God’s got something big coming for us very soon”. I think it was about 2 weeks later when we received an email from the UK’s leading and largest Christian book publishers, SPCK who invited us to come to London to discuss some ideas about writing a book based on our interviews with Christian footballers. They were so excited by the idea, they fast-tracked the book and wanted it completed by February! That gave us 4 months to write a book consisting of 20 interviews with high profile professional footballers. It seemed impossible, yet we believed. It was then I remembered what God had once promised me all those years ago and I knew this was going to happen. Now, the book is in its final stages of editing and is set for release in July 2016. The title is “Cross The Line: Christian footballers talk God, faith and the beautiful game”. We have been so blessed to have interviewed the likes of Kaka, Hernanes, Saido Berahino, Heurelho Gomes, Odion Ighalo, Victor Wanyama, Linvoy Primus amongst others for the book. It’s just been an incredible and surreal journey.
Who would you say have been the three most influential authors in your reading/writing life? I love reading the Bible, for me, that is the most influential book anyone could ever read. I see it as the “Best Instructions Before Leaving Earth”, so I would have to say that.
When I was younger, I really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books, I think J.K. Rowling is an incredible writer and her personal story to success is a testament to anyone about not giving up and believing in your dreams.
I think C.S. Lewis was a genius. His ability to write such gripping stories with incredible simplicity whilst holding a powerful Christian message was phenomenal.
What advice would you like to share with other writers/authors with regard to preparing a manuscript? – Prepare to go through all the emotions! Obviously our book is slightly different to the normal novel, but it has been a rollercoaster. Some days you are inundated with interviews, whilst others, such as Kaka took 5 months of hard work and persistence to get hold of. I think myself and Liam have both wanted to throw in the towel sometimes, but we knew that the hard work will be so worth it in the end. Keep persevering and enjoy the journey.
If the movie rights to your novels are purchased, who would you like to play your main characters? Again, a difficult one for us to answer. I would love for ours to be turned into a documentary with all of the players opening up and talking about their answers they gave us in the book. I think that could be amazing to watch!
Written by Ollie Baines and Liam Flint:PURCHASE AMAZON