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An Interview with Peter May

After reading and reviewing Peter May’s “Top of the World” I was able to ask the author some questions to get a behind the scenes perspective of writing such a time sensitive book.

  • Jeff: What inspired you to write the book?
    Peter: In January, I had talked with my book editor (we had collaborated before on an as-told-to bio of Kim Mulkey, the Baylor women’s head coach) and he brought it up. I initially declined because they were only going to publish it if (the Celtics) won it all. Too risky I thought, for all that work. But in March, we revisited it (and) I agreed to take it on. It wasn’t so much inspiration as a desire to stay busy because I had decided at that point to take the buyout offer from the globe.
  • Jeff: What kind of cooperation did you receive from the Celtics?
    Peter: Excellent cooperation from ownership and management. Doc was great. Danny, too. The players were good, though I would have liked to have had more time with them. (see below, biggest regret.)
  • Jeff: What was the hardest part of gathering information/writing the book?
    Peter: The timing made it really hard. I am superstitious, so I didn’t start to actually write the book until June 19. I had gathered a lot of info to that point, and done a lot of interviews, but had not written a single word. Getting the full manuscript in by the end of July, about six weeks, was huge.
  • Jeff: Certainly the NBA title meant a lot to Boston sports fans, what did you gather it meant to the front office and the players themselves?
    Peter: It meant everything to them. For ownership, it vindicated their faith in Danny and they made good on their word to spend money when it was necessary. Believe me, a lot of owners would not have taken on the luxury tax commitments that the Celtics did. For Pierce, Allen and KG, it was also huge. Ditto for P.J. Brown. Those guys deserved it after all they had been through.
  • Jeff: Based on the way they gelled last year, how long of a window do the Celtics have to be championship caliber?
    Peter: I said three years when they made the trade, but that may have been too low. As long as KG is around and healthy and menacing, they’re going to be in the hunt (assuming pierce and ray or someone like ray is there as well). Ray has one more year on his contract after this one. We’ll see what happens with him.
  • Jeff: What’s one thing you would change about the book?
    Peter: I wish I had more time. It simply wasn’t possible to do what I wanted to do in the time frame. I don’t think the average fan/reader understands that. You can only do so much in a certain amount of time. Normally, I’d have 15 months to get the book done, not six weeks.

A big thanks has to go out to Peter May for answering my questions as well as Da Capo Press for allowing us to review the book.

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