Solana Beach author publishes second novel at 74
For Alan Mindell, “Life begins at 70” isn’t just a saying.
In the past four years, the 74-year-old Solana Beach resident has published his debut novel, won several gold medals, led group tours and given motivational talks. He recently published his second book, “The B Team: A Horse Racing Saga.”
“No matter what your age or physical condition, don’t give up,” said Mindell, who has lived in Solana Beach for more than a decade. “Keep going. Good things can happen.”
In June 2013, Sunbury Press published Mindell’s first book, “The Closer.” A story about love and baseball, the book has been on several of Amazon.com’s best-seller lists, including ranking No. 1 paperback best-seller in new sports fiction.
It took Mindell 15 years to publish the novel.
“It’s taken that long to get published,” he said. “It’s not an easy situation.”
Originally from Arizona, Mindell came to California for college. He studied business at UC Berkeley, where he also played on the school’s varsity baseball team.
Although he wasn’t good enough for the big leagues, his experience inspired his debut novel, which follows main character Terry Landers, a pitcher, who spends 15 years in the minor leagues before his big break.
“It was my dream to play professional baseball,” Mindell said. “I wasn’t quite good enough, so 50 years later, I wrote ‘The Closer.’”
Mindell dreamed of being a writer in his 20s, and even penned an unpublished novel, but stopped writing to focus on his business, Friendly Excursions, a Los Angeles-based bus tour company. After he sold the business about 17 years ago, he picked up the pen again.
Also published by Sunbury Press, Mindell’s second book hit shelves in April, also reaching No. 1 on Amazon.com’s new sports fiction list. Like “The Closer,” “The B Team” is also inspired by his life and love of sports — this time, horse racing.
For about 30 years, Mindell has bought, bred and sold racehorses. He came up with the concept for the book about 12 years ago.
“I’ve always had a dream of having a big horse that became a champion, so I wrote “The B Team,” Mindell said.
The book is about a one-eyed racehorse whose biggest fan is a young boy who also only has one eye. Seven people, all at key stages of their lives, purchase the horse, One-Eyed Bandit, from a claiming race at Santa Anita.
“The one-eyed racehorse ends up at the Kentucky Derby,” said Mindell, who has also written a children’s version of the story.
“It’s a nice story,” he added. “It’s heartwarming and positive, and yet it deals with life. It’s not all peaches and cream.”
The book is available from Amazon and Sunbury Press, and can be ordered at any bookstore or online.
When he’s not writing, Mindell still gives group tours for the travel company he founded. He’s also very active, having earned six gold medals in the San Diego Senior Olympics, including gold in the 50-, 100-, 200- and 400-meter races in 2012. He’s training to compete again this fall.
After becoming a published author, Mindell also became a motivational speaker, sharing his secrets with other seniors and championing that “life begins at 70.”
“Since I turned 70, these books have been published and I won four gold medals in one day in the San Diego Senior Olympics,” Mindell said. “Life has been great. It really does begin at 70.”
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