Thank you, All About Romance, for the chance to guest blog on the release day for Getting Inside. It’s always so much fun to talk about a new book when readers are getting their hands on it for the first time.
Getting Inside is the story of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. (Hint: sparks fly.) The irresistible force is Ty Williams, the Seattle Grizzlies’ star linebacker and the immovable object is Iona Thomas, the team’s brand new linebackers coach.
Iona’s not the first woman to coach a men’s football team—and she knows she won’t be the last. But she’s a pretty rare thing in romance! So what made me decide to write about a woman who not only coaches football, but also loves to play it?
Of course, I was inspired by women like Jen Welter (the NFL’s first female coaching intern) and Kathryn Smith (its first full-time permanent female coach), but the truth is, I wrote Iona for a reason much closer to home: my own thirteen year old daughter. My daughter fell head over heels in love with basketball when she was nine years old, and since then, she hasn’t missed a chance to lace up her Hyperdunks and hit the court. As someone who didn’t play a team sport till college and often felt over her head in PE class, I was in awe of her coordination, spirit, and determination.
So when she decided she wanted to play fall short court three-on-three in sixth grade, I signed her right up.
Only we failed to read the small print. It was boys’ fall short court three-on-three.
“You don’t have to play,” I told her.
But she wanted to play, because there was no girls’ three-on-three, which meant this was her only option. She was nervous, but she showed up. She hung in.
Gradually, she showed the boys that it paid to pass to her. She demonstrated to the coaches that they needed to take her seriously—she even won over one dad who gave her personalized coaching, which took her game to the next level.
And since then, if there’s a chance to play, she’ll take it, even if she’s the only girl on the court.
What I love is that it’s no big deal to her now. And she’s no longer a big deal to the boys and the boys’ coaches. Which means she’s changed her world in a good way, by doing the thing she loves most.
So in her honor, I wrote a heroine who was just like that. Iona is doing what she loves most—and she’s not going to let any force—however irresistible—get in her way.
Or—that’s the plan, at least.
Here’s a little taste, from when the scene where Iona first meets Ty.
“I’m going to switch some things up,” I say.
Ty Williams shoots me a look that should kill. Instead it does something not quite kosher to my girl parts.
“I’m starting Diaz instead of Ohalu at middle linebacker.”
“No #$%^ing way,” Williams says. Coach Thrayne makes a hissing sound, but Williams ignores him. “You can’t do that. His contract—”
Thrayne cuts him off. “No requirement in the contract that he start.”
“I knew that agent was @#$%,” Williams says to the room at large. Then he fixes his attention on me. “O’s gotta play. O’s the best. O and I—we’re like P B and J.”
I shake my head. I’ve been watching film, and film doesn’t lie. “Ohalu doesn’t look like a leader out there. And you guys don’t have a pass rush.”
A muscle tightens in Williams’s chiseled jaw. “It’s because Dave Brogan made him jumpy.”
“Film says it started before Brogan.”
“What? Show me that #$%@ing film.”
He’s glaring at me defiantly. A look that scares the @#$% out of quarterbacks and running backs.
A look that’s probably told quite a few women they’re in over their heads.
But not me. I’m not afraid of Ty Williams or his ginormous shoulders or his big, bad glare.
So… let’s talk sports romance! Who are your favorite sports romance writers or books?
USA Today bestselling author and RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee Serena Bell writes richly emotional stories about big-hearted characters with real troubles and the people who are strong and generous enough to love them. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and she adores hiding in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head. When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also her enormous collection of constantly changing and passionately embraced hobbies, ranging from needlepoint to paddle boarding to meditation.