Tracy Solheim is an author who speaks my language. Like her, I've been a sports enthusiast since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Give me an athlete hero and I'm sure to give your book a second...and third...look!
After years of writing reports and testimony for Congress, Tracy Solheim decided to put her fiction writing talents to better use. In May, Berkley Publishing launched her Out of Bounds series, featuring the fictional Baltimore Blaze football team. GAME ON, book one in the series is available where all books are sold. FOOLISH GAMES, book two, will be released December 3, 2013. She lives in the heart of SEC country, also known as the suburbs of Atlanta, with her husband and their two works-in-progress. When she’s not at the barn with her daughter or working out with friends, she’s writing. Except for when she’s reading, but according to her, that’s just necessary research. See what she’s up to at www.tracysolheim.com, WomenUnplugged and Romancing the Jock. Be sure to LIKE her on Facebook to be eligible to win an advanced copy of Foolish Games!
Please give Tracy a warm Romance Dish welcome!
PUTTING A LITTLE GAME IN ROMANCE
Long before I cracked the spine of my first Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel and well before I was introduced to Deirdre Martin’s New York Blades hockey team or Jill Shalvis’ Santa Barbara Heat baseball team, I was dreaming of my own jock hero. Just ask my mom. While other girls were reading Seventeen, I was pouring through Sports Illustrated, cutting out pictures of hunky athletes to tape up to my bedroom wall. (Don’t mention the tape to my mother, though. She’s still unhappy about the damage to the freshly painted room.)
When it came to writing my first contemporary romance, GAME ON, I naturally gravitated to an athlete as the hero. At the time, Navy SEALS were the rage and there weren’t enough books on the contemporary shelves about jocks. (Not that I don’t love a good Navy SEAL book, because I really do!) But times have changed since that first draft a couple of years ago and sports romance has quickly developed into a strong sub-genre of its own. Which leads me to ask: What took so long?
Athletes—like the aforementioned Navy SEALs—are larger than life. They’re warriors with hard bodies, ego-induced swagger and lots of disposable income. What’s not to love, right? They are the absolute perfect romance hero.
Not so fast, though. It takes more to make a reader cheer for a jock. The best sports romance heroes have to be vulnerable, too. Vulnerable to injury or loss of the championship, or worse, their career. In GAME ON, quarterback Shane Devlin is scrambling to keep his career alive. Not for the money, necessarily, but so he can surpass NFL records set by his estranged father. In FOOLISH GAMES, the second book in the Out of Bounds trilogy, linebacker Will Connelly’s vulnerability is an infant son he never knew he had and will do anything to keep. In the third book, RISKY GAME, tight end Brody Janik is hiding a potentially career-ending secret. Of course, all three players meet women who help them navigate their vulnerabilities to score their happily ever after. It is romance, after all.
But let’s look at this from a totally different perspective. What about a book with the heroine as the sports star? Would her vulnerabilities be the same as a male athlete? I think most would. More importantly, what would her hero look like? I’m seriously toying with the idea, so I’d appreciate your perspective.
Leave me a comment with your thoughts and you’ll be eligible to win a signed copy of GAME ON and some fun, handmade bath soap! (U.S. addresses only)