It’s the question I’ve been asked a lot since I started writing my Play-by-Play sports series. What’s the appeal of professional athletes? For me, they’re larger than life and sexy as hell. Have you seen the covers of my books? These are smoking hot guys who work hard and play hard, and that’s the way I portray them in the books. To me, athletes have charisma and stamina and a strong work ethic that goes above and beyond the average guy. Plus, they look hot in those uniforms, don’t they? ;-)
But there’s something else about athletes that makes me want to write about them. Their careers could be cut short with one wrong play, so they tend to live in the moment and more than a little bit on the edge. And it’s that edge I find so appealing. My heroines find it appealing, too, and I hope my readers find them that way, too. That chemistry is what attracts my characters to each other, at least in the beginning.
But mixed with that athleticism, sexiness and charisma is also a vulnerability. I think athletes are vulnerable, not only to intense scrutiny because of their game play, which could be awesome one game and awful the next, but also because of the possibility that they could be the star one season, and a has-been the next. It adds a sense of urgency to their play and to the way they live.
My heroines have tapped into my heroes’ vulnerable sides, and I love to see them break down those walls and really find out who these men are, to chip through that veneer of bravado and delve into the soul of the man, not just the physical athlete everyone sees on the surface. That’s when the real romance kicks in, and that’s where I can delve into the honest emotions between the characters. Chemistry is a wonderful thing, but physical attraction only goes so far. Without that emotional connection and being able to strike to the heart of who the characters really are, you can’t have an honest romance. And despite the hot covers and the sexy athletes, the core of the story is a real, honest romance between the characters. That’s what I love to write, and that’s what readers expect.
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