Today’s guest author is the fabulously talented Vanessa Kelly. Vanessa is a woman of many writing talents–she excels at her historical tales, and the woman is definitely gifted when it comes to contemporary romances. Welcome back to Magical, Vanessa!
Hi Cynthia! It’s great to be back here at Magical Musings pimping, er, talking about the contemporary romances I write with hubby as VK Sykes. For those of you who are familiar with our work, you’ll know that most of the books are sports romances. Our first book, CaddyGirls, is about a female professional golfer. The subsequent three books revolve around a fictional baseball team called The Philadelphia Patriots. I guess it’s not a surprise that a writing duo that includes a sports-mad husband would produce sports romances.
But here’s the interesting thing—authors have been told for years that sports romances are “box office poison.” That unless you’re Susan Elizabeth Phillips, nobody wants to read about hot athlete heroes or immerse themselves in the uber-masculine world of dressing rooms, playing fields, Nascar racetracks, or competitive alpha males. According to the powers that be, nobody wants to read those types of romances.
Good thing that hubby and I never listened to that advice, because our experience with sports romances has been just the opposite. Readers love them, as I’m sure authors like Jaci Burton, Rachel Gibson, and Belle Andre will tell you.
I actually believe there’s a subtle form of sexism in the assumption that women don’t like sports romances, i.e., that sport is primarily a male domain, and that women just don’t like all that macho, nasty stuff. Women, in fact, are avid watchers of most professional sports in North America, especially football and baseball. That being the case, why wouldn’t they be interested in sexy athletes as heroes?
In our latest romance, Bigger Than Beckham, we decided to go past the traditional American sports scene into the soccer world. I think we can all agree that a lot of soccer players are very sexy, cool guys, and would make pretty appealing heroes. Anybody who has seen David Beckham in one of those underwear ads knows exactly what I’m talking about. I really like our heroine for this book, too. She’s a sports reporter who inherited a failing soccer team, and is doing her best to pull it up from the rock-bottom rung it’s plummeted to. She and the hero have very different ideas on how to achieve that, which fuels the plot.
But no matter the setting or plot, our books are first and foremost about romance—the relationship between the hero and heroine and all the challenges and rewards that entails. Still, we love the sports background and we think it adds a lot of drama and color to our story world.
And readers, thank goodness, seem to agree!
What about you? Do you think the powers-that-be are off track? Do you like sports romances, or do they make you break out in hives? One person who comments will win a copy of Bigger Than Beckham, plus the first book in our series, Fastball.
Vanessa Kelly writes award-winning contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of VK Sykes. She also writes award-winning historical romance under her own name, and was named by Booklist as “one of the new stars of historical romance.” You can find her on the web at www.vanessakellyauthor.com or www.vksykes.com.
Bigger Than Beckham
Sports journalist Martha Winston loves her career, but her life goes sideways when she inherits a pro soccer team from her father. The team is almost bankrupt and on the skids, but Martha has vowed to save her beloved father’s legacy. But she needs to get a financial infusion fast, or else lose the team to the wolves baying at her door.
Former British soccer hero Tony Branch wants to add Martha’s team to his growing sports empire. But he wants it strictly on his terms—full control, not a partnership. When Martha turns him down flat, he’s determined to change her mind by any means necessary. If that includes using the sexual heat flaring between them, Tony is more than willing to play a game of seduction.