By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

After tracking his son’s rising star as a high school and college basketball player in his first book, author David Espinoza decided he wanted his next project to be more personal.

His new book Poor Kid, Wealthy Kid, explores his own struggles as a student-athlete and the lessons learned along the way.

“We didn’t have much money, but I had friends who did have money and I learned just by being around them and in their homes,” Espinoza said.

His book follows the story of a gifted high school quarterback, Carlos, his love interest, Liz, and Carlos’ friendship with Liz’s brother, Harv. It’s up to Carlos and Harv to push past their differences to see if they can lift the Gervais High School football team to the state championship.

“Gervais is the setting and the plot revolves around football, but it’s about what happens off the field,” Espinoza said.

Espinoza, a software engineer who works for the state and father of two former McNary High School Celtics, Matt and Jake Espinoza, scratched out the book over two and a half years on a tablet during his free time and lunch breaks. Espinoza, himself, was a talented kicker on the Gervais football team after his family moved from Texas to Oregon, but the book draws from his experiences growing up in a poor family while having wealthier friends.

“You’re around those people and you see the differences. They had food, they didn’t get the calls from people to whom they owed money, their dads didn’t come home too tired to play,” he said.

One of his goals with the book is to break down the walls that divide people of differing backgrounds.

As a writer, making the switch from creative non-fiction to fiction proved to be as much of a challenge as writing his first book.

“In the non-fiction book, I had to make certain I had all the permissions, but for this book I had to dig a lot deeper into myself and come up with characters and romance and mystery that other readers would find believable,” he said.

He’s already at work on a sequel, but the new book can be ordered direct from the author during December without shipping costs for a $14.95 check payable to David Espinoza at P.O. Box 20393, Keizer, OR 97307. He’ll also autograph each copy ordered.