Frank McNair, author of Life on the Line, grew up and played football in small-town southeastern North Carolina. Frank understands life as a middle school boy because he was one, and because he has—for years – served on church mission trips with middle school guys. He gets it.
Frank is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, where he was a Morehead Scholar and an undistinguished student. This is his first novel. He is working on a novel about the life of Christian faith entitled A Creeping Certainty.
Frank and his wife are active members of their church community, where they teach and contribute in other ways. They live with their beloved lab, Buddy Brown, in a house overlooking the woods in Winston-Salem, NC.
Life on the Line is the ideal book for the sports novel enthusiast or the reluctant teenage reader. It is the gripping story of two middle school boys struggling to understand themselves and the world around them. Life on the Line gives teens and adults a front row seat to authentic gridiron action, the struggles and joys of adolescence, and the redemptive power of love and faith.
Set in the rural South of 1965, Life on the Line brings together Bart Wagram and Franklin Gibson. Bart struggles in school and at home, and hates his stepmother with a passion he cannot name. He is fast becoming a man – thick, well muscled, lean. His body was made for the violence of football.
Franklin, the goody-two-shoes son of a local banker, is just beginning to mature. He’s a pudgy kid, a Boy Scout, and a good student. He got his head handed to him last year on the football field.
The two meet – and immediately lock horns – on the practice field of the Laurinburg Fighting Scots. The conflict between the two simmers while the team keeps winning, then finally resolves itself in The Battle of the Century.
This compelling story, built around football, encompasses family and faith, love and loss, and the ultimate reconciliation of two teenage boys who, on the face of it, have very little in common.
A Young Adult Novel of Gridiron Action & Adolescence
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Q: Life on the Line seems to appeal to teenagers, especially teenage boys, interested in sports and sports fiction. Are they your intended audience?
A: While I certainly think the book will appeal to teenager boys and young adult men who love football. I hope the deeper themes of rage and redemption, conflict and resolution, love and forgiveness appeal to middle- and high school readers regardless of gender or interest in sports. I also hope this book will attract teenagers who love football but think they don't like to read.
Q: How did you come to your life as a writer? Have you always written?
A: I have always liked to write. You would have to ask someone else if I have always been a legitimate writer. My love of writing began in Nancy Liles’ third grade class when we were asked to write a poem. I somehow cobbled together four rhymed couplets, which I still remember and can still recite. I was hooked from that moment.
Most of my professional life required writing: proposals, market research summaries, strategy documents, and marketing plans. I wrote a couple of nonfiction books (How You Make the Sale, The Golden Rules for Managers) for the business market, and they were well received.
I keep up an active personal correspondence. I am extraverted and writing is – to me – just conversation on the page. I love to write.
Q: How did you begin the book?
A: Life on the Line had its beginnings in a class taught by Lynn York at the Duke Writers’ Workshop in 2007. The first scene was the incident in Chapter One where Franklin surprises his football coach and knocks him down. I had no idea what would happen next.
Q: When you began the book, did you know how it would end?
A: Heavens no! I didn’t even know it was a book. I just knew the first page and a half were pretty engaging, and I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to see how the characters developed.
Q&A About Life on the Line
"From its first sentence, Life on the Line wraps you in a gripping story of physical and emotional conflict, the violence of football, plus love and unexpected redemption."
an old football player
"Life on the Line sweeps you up in the fast-paced world of two boys becoming men, set against the backdrop of small-town American life in 1965."
author of “Play On”
Frank McNair’s background in corporate training makes him an engaging and entertaining speaker. Middle School and High School groups, book clubs, creative writing groups, and others have enjoyed his fast-paced and entertaining presentations. Topics include Life on the Line, the creative process, adolescent coming of age and others. Click the button and tell Frank a little about your group and your needs. Let’s schedule a visit!
The book will appeal to anyone who has played football, loves someone who plays football, or has ever been an adolescent. It likely would also appeal to boys who think they don't like to read.
Life on the Line gives great perspective on the life of an 8th grade boy. Not one to read a book quickly, I found it hard to put this one down. Great read for parents and teens alike.
Five Star Amazon Review
Five Star Amazon Review