Wednesday, August 7, 2019



For as long as she can remember, “Toady” wanted nothing more than to play football.  But for Toady, the love of football is bittersweet – because Toady’s given name is Christine. She’s a girl, and girls “can’t” play football. Despite her exceptional abilities, she watches bitterly as the boys play on the high school team and win scholarships. Reluctantly, she gives up her football dream and moves to New York City – where she finds that life is full of surprises. Christine learns of a group of women playing flag football and, before long, they have the opportunity to become part of a professional women’s tackle league. But the challenges to women playing football remain intense. Finding a coach who isn’t abusive is a struggle. Rallying team spirit is an endless quest. Add to that the loss of her one true love, the devastation of the September 11 attacks, and the sudden death of one of her players, and her dream seems doomed. Does Christine have the guts and the stamina to spite the odds?

Sports icon Billie Jean King says “Black & Blue will strike a chord with anyone who grew up before Title IX, but its poignancy and appeal go beyond that.” A story of empowerment loosely based on the author’s own life, it will inspire anyone to pursue their dreams.

Book Details:

Title: Black & Blue

Author: Andra Douglas

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: BookBaby (July 2019)

Print length: 296 pages


Andra, what’s the story behind the title of your book?

Black & Blue are the team colors of the New York Sharks – the football team I played on and owned. They are also the colors of bruises; something football players get in games and what female football players get fighting for the chance to play.

Do you have another job outside of writing?
I am a retired VP/Creative Director in the Entertainment Industry. I am currently a mixed media fine artist. (

Who are you?
I am constantly reinventing myself. I have so many interests and so little time. I still want to be a certified wine sommelier and learn how to create a delicious cabernet in California. And maybe a pilot. As of late, I am most comfortable calling myself an author. It feels right.

Where’s home for you?
New York City and Florida. I am peacefully comfortable in either place.

Where did you grow up?
Zephyrhills, Florida on a cattle ranch. Which is also the setting of the early chapters of my book.

What’s one thing you wish your younger writer self knew?

Take more notes!

What’s your favorite line from a book?

It’s actually from a song by the Counting Crows: “Plain old Jane told the story about a man who was too afraid to fly so he never did land.”

How did you create the plot for this book?
It created itself. Life imitates art? Art imitates life? I wrote the book because it’s a wonderful story of women’s empowerment that I watched unfold through the years. I began writing short pieces, little shards of the humor, joy and heartbreak that was common in my life and on the team. It was very cleansing to me. The plot more or less revealed itself as I wove the snippets together—controversial, athletic, witty and fresh—a story of women powering through significant, life-altering obstacles and, in the end, finding their ‘home’ and their voices.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?

Yes, all of the characters are. In several instances, I’ve combined several personalities into one character but all are taken from real people.

Is your book based on real events?
Yes. It is loosely based on my life experience as a girl who wanted to do more in life than society thought appropriate. My sojourn to NYC and the Sharks adventure is my personal story, but ultimately the book is about women everywhere who are told ‘no’ but do it anyway. Football is the vehicle but I hope it gives voice to every woman who has ever felt suppressed or stifled.

Are you like any of your characters? 
Yes. Christine is basically me. She is named after my mom who was a brilliant woman who was held back by the times she lived in. She encouraged me to live a ‘big’ life and bravely supported my interests even when they weren’t quite aligned with society’s norms for a girl. I think she lived somewhat vicariously through me. We had fun.

Do you have a routine for writing?
No. I write whenever the creative spirit moves. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have some thoughts that I get up and write down before they disappear—and they quickly do! If I am driving down the road and feel some words coming to mind that I like, I’ll pull over and write them in a journal I keep in the car.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I prefer writing in a quiet setting. I have a cottage in the Hamptons and have done much of my writing there. I also rented an adobe in Santa Fe one winter and found that to be a good place for the creativity to flow.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
I was told that reading my book was an emotional roller coaster; that the reader laughed one minute and cried the next. I try to put a lot of emotion into my writing so this was great to hear.

What are you working on now?
I am just starting my second book called Changing Cadence. It’s a sequel to Black & Blue but focuses on a time in my life when I was facing major, but inevitable changes: the selling of the team that I’d had for 20 years; my parents passing; my athletic body betraying me; friends and teammates battling cancer, etc. Yet in the midst of these monumental life shifts, the Sharks embark on their last season of existence and put together the ‘Grand FINale’ which turns out to be the most magical year yet!


Andra Douglas is a native of central Florida and a graduate of Florida State University and Pratt Institute. A national champion athlete in rugby and women's tackle football, she was the owner of the New York Sharks Women's Pro Football team for nineteen years and is the founder of the Fins Up! Foundation for Female Athletes, a non-profit to benefit at-risk teens. In addition to her love of football, Andra is a professional artist and served as a Vice President/Creative Director at Time Warner for many years. Today, she lives with her parrot, 'Pie' in New York’s Greenwich Village where she creates mixed-media artwork.

Connect with the author:
Website  |  Goodreads

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