Earlier this week M2 and I sat down (at a computer) with Jay Francis Mistretta the author of The Parkour Code. The book is described as a parkour based story for very young teens. It chronicles the fictional Team X as it navigates urban landscape seeking adventure.
To find out about Jay click read more...
Tell us about what you do when you're not writing?
I work for the public school system managing and overseeing multiple Exceptional Education Programs for kids with disabilities. (Undergraduate Degree in Exceptional Education = ESE kids and Graduate Degree in Educational Leadership).
When did you discover Parkour?
About four years ago, at the age of thirty-four, I discovered parkour. My uncle's son trained with some friends at a neighborhood gym. Via a video clip, I observed teenagers, from Iowa, conducting movement through urban landscape. To me, the first time I saw that type of movement, I was fascinated! I, an aspiring author having limited association with PK, decided to write a book for very young teens. When completed, I dedicated "The Parkour Code" to Cedar Rapids Parkour. Although it is an exceptionally creative story, my true desire was to capture the positive aspects of PK through hard work, collaboration, and camaraderie.
How long did it take you to write The Parkour Code?
TPC took me about one and a half years to complete. Although I have always been an aspiring author, I was introduced to PK back in 2008. Overall, the book attempts to capture the group Cedar Rapids Parkour. The Iowa team created a Youtube video for me coinciding with the book. From the get-go, parkour was different to me. I had always played organized sports and other activities (surfed, skimmed, sk8).
Who is your favorite character in the Parkour Code and why?
I tried to make each character in the book unique. CRPK helped me capture that . . . As for my favorite character, I would probably have to say it is Rocco. There is definitely something intriguing and "beast" about him. That is probably what I inspire to become.
I'm curious, is Raven based off of anyone you know?
Well, I wanted Raven to be strong and authoritative. Back in 2008, I did not come across many traceuse performing and did not see many in videos. Therefore, I attempted to capture a female's perspective giving her a significant role within the TPC book. She brings balance and order to X team.
What about any of the other characters, or is that a secret?
In my next book (The Parkour Legacy), I take the first book's main character Luke Bail to another location. I then intentionally faded out the original team (Xtreme PK Motion) in an attempt to capture PK at a centralized location where all traceurs and traceuse around the planet train together. In Martinique, I introduce a few new characters.
Since the book came out it has received some criticism. What do you have to say about it? Did it affect your next book?
To be perfectly honest, at that time, I did not intend, in any form or fashion, for the "Code" to limit or define parkour. After receiving feedback and corrective criticism from the PK community, I decided to realign my next story (The Parkour Legacy) in pursuit of fundamentals - PK in its purest element. In a desire to be a quintessential author, I decided to train more seriously seeking self-improvement developing a broader skill set. During that transitional period, through the guidance of America Parkour, I received further clarity following the 'Leave No Trace Values', participating in the APK workout of the day (WOD), and watching tutorials. Over time, a transformational change transpired.
You mentioned that you have another book in the works. Can you give us an idea about when the book will be finished or published? Can you give us some spoilers?
At this point, I would love to complete a third book; however, I do not have a completion date. Through my first two books, a reader can clearly visualize where I came from and where I am currently at in my PKendeavor. To be perfectly honest, I want to live the experience seeking growth that is reflected in my writing. *As for BK3, I would like to capture skill and technique training within a very creative story. As a note, I would also like to be more descriptive with mycharacters. I am determined to keep high, aboveground level jumps and stunts out of in my next book. For me, it is be about practical training and safety. My goal is to inspire others to dream big finding his or her own God given talent.
Anything else you would like to say?
In summary, parkour has helped me to get into the best shape of my life! Through the sharing of knowledge, it has provided me with the confidence and focus needed in order to overcome obstacles. As a lifelong learner, I seek continuous advancement in movement acquiring skills through technique training.
The Parkour code has sold around 300 copies since it was released for purchase on Amazon. Jay never graduated high school but later received his GED and now dedicates his life to teaching and learning.
You can purchase his books on Amazon.