Sports Week continues! Today, I’m happy to host Lex Valentine, who I also just met at GRL. She’s got a new book out that tackles football. (Tackles, geddit?) Read on to learn how to enter to win a copy of her new book!
What is an author to do when presented with characters who cling to their childhood fears? What do we do when they don’t react as adults? Well, you write a book about characters who let fear rule their lives until they finally grow up, grow a pair, and get down to the business of love.
In my novel Scrambling, my two main characters both fear the same thing, losing their best friend. They will sacrifice anything for that relationship because it means everything to them. What they end up sacrificing is the truth and the chance to be together. You see, they are in love with each other and afraid to say so. They fear that they will lose the one relationship they have come to rely on…their friendship.
So how did a book about the first two out players in the NFL end up being a tale of fear? My characters. They wouldn’t get it together. They stayed locked in their fears, afraid of being alone, afraid of losing a relationship that defined their lives. Each man deliberately gives up the chance to be with the man he loves in order to preserve a friendship he can’t live without. Childish? Yes. Stubborn? Yes. Irrational? Sure. But love isn’t always rational and characters can often do and think stupid things.
Scrambling shows how the PR director of an NFL team spins the coming out of two newly drafted players into a positive thing for the team. My heroes walk the red carpet at every LGBT event she can send them to. They become poster boys for being out. As professional athletes who are also gay, they become trailblazers in an industry that has closet doors firmly shut. And while I originally envisioned this story being about the prejudices that these men have to overcome, once the writing began to flow, it quickly became a story about how even men who are out have things that they still hide in the closet.
Thanks to Kate for having me here today. If you leave a comment here, I’ll put your name in a drawing to win a copy of Scrambling. I’ll draw a name Thursday night at midnight Pacific time.
Here’s the blurb and an excerpt from Scrambling.
Evan McAdam has two constants in his life–football and his friendship with Reed Matthews. From the age of six, Evan’s played football alongside Reed. In his teens, he realized he was gay and loved Reed, but fear kept him from confiding his deepest emotions to his best friend.
When he and Reed are drafted to the L.A. Stars, Evan decides to come out. His decision impacts Reed who’s been in the closet too. The two men struggle with secrets of unrequited love while facing the world as the first two openly gay NFL players.
When injury forces Evan to retire, the love he bears Reed can no longer be hidden. But will Reed be able to reciprocate, or will Evan lose both football and the man he’s always loved?
Excerpt Under the Cut: