Friday, March 18, 2011

Athlete romance heroes - yay or nay?

I’ve read the advice that romance writers should never write about heroes who are athletes. But I’ve broken rules before, and writing a romance with a hockey player hero was something I always wanted to do. So I did it!

Why shouldn’t we use athletes as heroes? I actually don’t know the reason behind it other than I always thought it was maybe because they were “overused” and people got tired of them. But actually, I haven’t read many romances where the hero is a professional athlete. Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes about great football players. One of my favourite Sandra Brown books, Play Dirty, is about a (former) NFL quarterback - OMG I loved Griff. I’ve read a few books about hockey players - a couple of Harlequins and a Rachel Gibson book. Erin McCarthy writes some great stories about NASCAR racers and Jill Shalvis has written about baseball players.

Today is release day for my book Breakaway, which features a professional hockey player hero. Lest you think that hockey players are big and ugly and have no teeth, behold:

Zach Parise (Can I just say a hockey player in a suit is sooooo hot)

Henrik Lundqvist

Jose Theodore

Mike Camalleri

Maxime Lapierre

Patrick Sharp

But of course, it’s not looks that make a hero, although big muscles and a sexy smile do help! Qualities of determination, passion, loyalty, dedication, sacrifice and courage are important for heroes too. And don’t professional athletes have all those? In Breakaway, Jase is a man who grew up with a lot of struggles that made him determined to succeed. He’s loyal to his team, dedicated to his sport and passionate about hockey. He’s brave enough to fight when he needs to, but smart enough to step away when fighting isn’t right. He’s not perfect—he’s afraid of commitment and responsibility outside the rink (at least, at first) and he’s a fun loving guy rather than serious. But a hero is also someone who’s brave enough to face his flaws and fears and who is willing to grow.

In Breakaway, Remi’s best friend isn’t thrilled that Remi is getting involved with a professional athlete. She’s thinking about the athletes who've been in the news lately—men who cheat on their wives. Men who are accused of rape or "sexting". Men who get drunk and crash their cars. Men who take performance enhancing drugs. Some of the qualities that make them so successful—single-minded determination and ambition —can also turn selfish. And when an athlete becomes a “star”, when he becomes wealthy, able to do whatever he wants, buy whatever he wants, maybe that can change him. Maybe he feels privileged, entitled, above the law.

Jase is successful and he has reporters and puck bunnies stalking him, and he’s definitely wealthy, but at his core he remains profoundly grateful for the talent he’s been given and determined to make the best of that by working hard at his profession. Yes, it’s a game, but even fun-loving Jase knows it’s a business and it’s serious. And when the chips are down—oh, sorry wrong game metaphor. How about, when the puck is dropped, Jase mans up and takes responsibility for his actions.

Any other athlete romance heroes you’ve fallen in love with?

For an excerpt from Breakaway visit my blog.
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Harlie Reader said...

You wrote a story about my favorite sports player. I love you! Great pics of Jose and the boys.

Kelly Jamieson said...

Yay Harlie! Glad to hear you like hockey players!

Erin Nicholas said...

Um, athlete heroes-- hell yeah! :)
I'm excited about this book! (Well, any Kelly Jamieson book but with a hunky hockey player? you bet!)

Puck bunnies? Seriously, that's what they're called? lol (we don't "do" hockey where I'm from-- though we have plenty of ice. Ugh)

Kelly Jamieson said...

Thank you Erin! *hugs*
They're called many things! Where I grew up the team was the Wheat Kings (yeah, it's the prairies) and they were "Wheatie Sweeties" or "Wheat Puffs"!!

PG Forte said...

Yeah, I can't understand the "no athlete heroes" rule either. Obviously it's there just so you could break it.

I just downloaded this book and can't wait to read it. But, what I really want to know is when are you going to write a rugby book?

Kelly Jamieson said...

Rugby!! Yeah, I've seen your rugby player photos and yeah, they are HOT! But I couldn't even fake knowing anything about rugby! Hockey's my sport!

Juniper Bell said...

Gosh, I had no idea athlete heroes were a no-no! I say they're a yes-yes. I love SEP's football players. I can't wait to read Jase and Remi's story. Congratulations on "Breakaway," it sounds fantaastic.