Please Support The Writing Show!

Writing Historical Fiction #1

RSS Link

With Robert Skole, author of Jumpin’ Jimminy: A World War II Baseball Saga: American Flyboys and Japanese Submariners Battle It Out in a Swedish World Series



When the Jumpin’ Jimminy—a Flying Fortress shot up in a raid over Nazi Germany—crash lands in neutral Sweden in the autumn of 1944, its crew couldn’t dream they would wind up playing a World Series. Especially a Series against tough enemy Japanese sailors from a submarine that went aground on Sweden’s rocky coast.

The Jumpin’ Jimminy crew, the best ball team in the Eighth Air Force, is a heaven-sent gift to the baseball-crazy Swedish Major responsible for American internees.

The Japanese have made meatballs of the Major’s amateur Swedish ball players. Now, he can field a hard-hitting, determined American team to battle the Japanese in a Swedish World Series.

Waiting for spring training, the Yanks get “essential” jobs. Two carry out daring undercover assignments for the OSS. The team’s shortstop, the only black GI assigned to a U.S. bomber crew, speaks fluent Swedish which he learned working for Swedes in Chicago. He helps his Swedish moonshining “cousins” create Sweden’s absolutely greatest akvavit. And the other Yanks valiantly help the Allied war effort in the cold, grim, oasis of peaceful Swedish neutrality.

And then it’s Spring of 1945 and “Play Ball” in the first and only Swedish World Series.

–From Jumpin’ Jimminy, by Robert Skole

Writing historical fiction requires a stickler’s attention to detail, even if you’re not putting words in real people’s mouths. This week’s guest even got access to classified documents so he could make his story realistic. But there’s nothing dry about this comic tale that brings together, of all things, baseball, soldiers, and World War II Sweden.

Robert Skole, a reporter and foreign correspondent, has written for newspapers and magazines in the United States, Japan, and Europe. He covered Sweden for McGraw-Hill business publications for 25 years. Author and editor of a dozen books, mainly about Sweden, he lives in Boston and Stockholm. His first novel is Jumpin’ Jimminy: A World War II Baseball Saga: American Flyboys and Japanese Submariners Battle It Out in a Swedish World Series.

Join Bob and host Paula B. as they explore this wacky world, including:

  • Where he got the idea to combine World War II and baseball
  • How he got access to Swedish classified documents so he could research his story
  • Which easily accessible research tool helped him the most
  • How he unobtrusively wove in context that helps readers understand the background of the story
  • How he worked his research into the story
  • What he thinks about the importance of accuracy in writing historical fiction.

Interviewee: Robert Skole
Host: Paula B.
Date: May 7, 2007
Running time: 52:46
File size: 32 megabytes
Rating: G
Robert Skole’s Web sites: Jumpin Jimminy; Big Dig Highway Robbery

Purchase Jumpin’ Jimminy at