First published in the Jan. 15 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
If you love summer, we are just about as far from it as we can get.
As of today, we have 157 days to go until the arrival of the summer solstice.
Knowing that we still have months to travel before we can enjoy those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, Burbank author Vic Cabrera decided to bring a little summer into our winter by releasing his latest book, “Summer Ball” (Cabrera Productions, 2021).
Cabrera’s novel, set in Burbank, features three teenage girls, Monica, Jessica and Takisha, who play for the Viper softball team. It is a coming-of-age tale of first love, friendships, dreams, aspirations, family, love, respect, joy, pain and scars that last forever.
“The book is about a bond that has formed between the girls, and the challenges they face that are complicated and emotional as they become women,” Cabrera said.
“It takes place just as they are about to begin their senior year,” he continued. “Knowing it may be their last summer together, they are facing a time when they realize everything in their lives is about to change, that the friendships between them will either end or strengthen, and that their families will be forced to change and either bend or break.”
The book was inspired by Cabrera’s involvement in coaching his two daughter’s softball teams with the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department, which he credits in the book. In fact, Burbank softball played such a big role in inspiring the book that its cover image is of the softball fields of Burbank’s Izay Park, where his daughters played and where he formalized the idea for the story.
“Many times, during their playing days, I would sit in the outfield in a lawn chair during their games and write,” Cabrera said. “The notes I wrote back then helped form the backstory of this book.”
Cabrera is a writer, director and producer with a diverse background in the entertainment industry. He is the president of Cabrera Productions, a company that creates, produces and distributes books, movies, theatrical productions and television, radio and internet programming.
After working for television stations in Reno and San Jose, Cabrera, who holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television from New York University, moved to Burbank. A member of the Directors Guild of America, he worked as an on-air and post production supervisor for the Turner Cable Music Channel before taking on what would be a 20-year stint with KNBC, where he was a staff director, associate director and stage manager with NBC-4 News.
A native of Cuba, Cabrera and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 7 years old. His first book, “My Cuban Story — Funny Memories From Serious Times” (CreateSpace, 2011), is a memoir that defines his family’s challenging search for the American dream. It chronicles his family’s risky departure from communist Cuba in the early 1960s, their political asylum in Spain and the struggles they encountered to make ends meet as immigrants in New York and New Jersey. What sets this book apart from similar stories is Cabrera’s ability to incorporate humor into the hard times that brought him and his family so much grief and heartache.
“Despite the troubles, poverty and general struggles that come with being a minority and an immigrant, I wanted to look back on our early years in America with fond memories,” Cabrera said.
His second book, “Pipo’s Flag — A Cuban-American Tale” (Cabrera Productions, 2019), is a fictionalized story largely based on his first book.
As for “Summer Ball,” Cabrera said the story came to him as a nugget inspired by his daughters.
“I always try to include humor in my stories, and Dr. Melody Jackson, the founder of Smart Girl Productions, who works with actors and screenwriters, was my editor. She was instrumental in helping me with ideas and developing the characters and plot line,” Cabrera said.
A self-described “eternal optimist,” Cabrera said the pandemic has proved to be a positive thing for him in that it has given him the time to do a lot of writing. His latest tome, he points out, may be about teenage girls, but isn’t just for young readers.
“The book is for a broader audience than just young adults,” Cabrera said. “While it does deal with complicated and stressful situations, it’s not a downer. It’s a story about our desire to want happy days to be here again.”
Explaining that his goal was to make the book inspirational, Cabrera said that much like his first two books, “Summer Ball” is based on real-life situations.
“As I worked on it, I would recall the conversations my daughters and their friends would have in the backseat of our car as my wife and I would drive them to practices and games,” he said. “The things they talked about sparked a lot of my story. They would bicker about all sorts of things, and yet, when they would walk on the softball field they would come together as one unit. That’s what this book is really about, which is also what I would love to see happen in our country, although, sadly, it doesn’t seem to be going in that direction.”
After saying that, Cabrera, an Ernest Hemingway look-a-like, glanced out over the fields at Izay Park.
“I hope, in some small way, this book will inspire those who read it, to help them find those happy days again,” he said.
He turned and broke out in a smile.
“At least, that’s my hope.”
All three of Cabrera’s books are available on Amazon.com
DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at email@example.com or (818) 563-1007.