As I write this, I’m watching the Spain vs. Croatia game in the UEFA 2012 European Championships. A little…obscure for an American romance writer to talk about? Maybe. Just hang with me for a bit.
The true definition of love, in the long run, is putting up with or even appreciating your partner’s faults, quirks and tastes in a way still keeps your relationship is a-ok. We all know that in real life, happily ever after is an ongoing process!
Roughly fifteen years ago, I decided that in order to date the Englishman who would be become my husband, I needed to learn about soccer. Oh. First lesson: football. I sat through drawings that explained the offside rule, tables that explained the relegation and promotion process, and brackets that explained the World Cup—a major math brain challenge. If it weren’t for Excel, I’d never keep up.
This wasn’t an endeavor for just one guy, by the way. I was learning the language of a huge part of the world. To marry an Englishman and understand British and European culture, I needed to speak this language. Or at least fake it. (I shall speak with said language throughout this post.)
Two years ago during the 2010 World Cup…I saw a man. I will not tell you this man’s name, because that would ruin the illusion. Readers will always see characters differently than their creators do. But this man…
I had been searching for an actor or model or whomever to represent, in my mind, Alexander Christie, the hero STARLIGHT, the second of my Christies series of Victorian romances. No one matched! No one was him. He needed to be a gentleman by day and an animal at night—the sort who howls toward the sky when someone finally shows him the moon. And of course, he needed to be hella hot.
My chance sighting of a starting member of the Spanish national side was an instant fit. I was in love…kinda literally, but mostly literarily. He just was Alex. Thus began my obsessive quest to find pictures! I learned he can wear the hell out of a suit, and that he’s a rough, scheming, hardcore b*****d on the football pitch. Win!
The accidental connection between football and STARLIGHT even inspired a scene where Alex is challenged by his lady fair’s Glaswegian friends to a friendly game of footie after a church picnic. Had STARLIGHT been a medieval romance, the challenge might’ve been a joust or an almost-but-not-quite-friendly swordfight. Football was growing by leaps and bounds in the late Victorian years, primarily because it was easy for working men to play. As my husband always says, “All we needed was a ball and jumpers [sweaters] for goal posts.”
In a roundabout way, my ambition fifteen years ago not only helped me communicate with my husband about the Beautiful Game, but it added an extra level of depth to a book I would write more than a decade later. Alex is “rough posh.” He is an astronomer who can get down and dirty with the roughest characters in Glasgow. In other words, he’s just the sort of man who needed a footballer as my inspiration.
And then there’s real life love. My darling husband went so far as to buy me the national jersey [uniform] of this particular footballer as a present. The problem, though? By the time you read this, England will have played in their final group stage qualifier for the European Championships. If all goes according to predictions, they will meet one particular team during their quarterfinal match later this week… Spain.
What’s next for me: After RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick STARLIGHT hits the shelves, I’ll be looking forward to the release of HIS VERY OWN GIRL, a historical romance set in World War II. It’s not women’s fiction. It’s not literary fiction. It’s a genuine romance, complete with sexy times and a happy ending. Look for it September 4th as a Pocket Star digital original novel. I cannot wait to see how readers respond!
I’ll also be launching a new co-written pseudonym, Katie Porter, with my long-time friend and critique partner, Lorelie Brown. Our “Vegas Top Guns” series of contemporary erotic romances will launch from Samhain on July 31 with the release of DOUBLE DOWN, which is also a RT BookReviews 4½ Star Top Pick. Two more from the series, INSIDE BET and HOLD ‘EM, will follow in August and September. You can learn more about these and future books at our website.
Where to find me:
This contest is closed. The winner is Crystal.