I didn't become a baseball fan until after I got married. I've watched more baseball games in the past ten years than I did during the first twenty-two years prior to meeting my husband. I've seen men come and go from our home team. Some continued to stay in the spotlight as sportscasters. Others kind of faded into obscurity. It wasn't until a few years ago that I wondered what an athlete's life is like after retirement. My husband was nice enough to remind me that "retirement" from a sport doesn't necessarily mean what I thought it did. Retirement sometimes happened early on in an athlete's career due to injury.
I imagine said athlete would experience bitterness at having lost the ability to play the sport he/she loves. But how does their life change? How do they change when they've hung up their number for the last time? What do they do?
The lovely Anne Lange has written a book called Sliding Into Home. This story could have been about anything about her lead character's life as an athlete. Instead, Ms. Lange wrote about his life after baseball. Of course, I wasn't about to let the opportunity to pick her brain pass me by so I asked, "Why write about him after his retirement? Why not write about him during his career?"
*smiles and glances at Ms. Lange* She didn't disappoint with her answer.
I think the quick and easy answer to that question is that most of the sports stories I read are written about the character’s life as an athlete—he or she is still actively playing the game. I want to do something different. But that would make for a very short post. LOL
Actually, during the waiting period of hearing whether Sliding into Home would be accepted or not, I started thinking about the next story in line. At the time, I had no clue if it would be a stand-alone or a series, but I wanted to leave my options open. So when it was accepted and I suggested that it might be the beginning of a series, the publisher requested a proposal for my series.
Oh crap. Now I had to come up with one. Damn! LOL.
So I sat back and thought about it. Writing about sports figures and sports teams is a new challenge for me, so I found the idea exciting. I’m not a huge sports fan, simply meaning I’m not compulsive about it, and I’m certainly not immune to a good looking guy in a pair of tight pants and a well-fitting shirt. Perhaps it’s the uniform. Sliding into Home was already written, and quite honestly, I knew from the start that my male character was going to be out of the game. That was a big part of his backstory and part of the reason he was heading to Vegas in the first place.
For the series, however, I wanted to do something a little different than what I’ve seen done before. When I started considering the backstories for my various characters in both Sliding into Home and potential future stories, I wanted to connect them through family and life experiences, but not necessarily the game itself. I didn’t want to create just another character that’s playing, struggling for sure, but in the end he’s still playing the game, only now s/he’s found their HEA.
I want characters that are being forced to leave their first love, their reason (up to now) for their existence. I want their love interest or soul-mate to be the one to show them that the game is just a job, and not who they are.
To do that, they need to leave the game. At least, I feel they do in order to come to terms with the fact that there is a life for them beyond the sport they love so much. Some of the stories may still play out during the active season for the character’s respective sport; however, they won’t actively be playing. Unfortunately, it’s game over for them.I guess it comes down to those clichés - not putting all your eggs in one basket, or needing something to fall back on in case things don’t work out. I don’t want things to work out for these characters. In order for them to grow, they need to lose the one thing they feel defines them.
See? Told you she didn't disappoint! Thank you for stopping by today, Ms. Lange, and for sharing your logic behind your approach to writing Sliding into Home. Best of luck with your new series too. Can't wait to see what other athletes you write about!
If you want to know more about Sliding into Home and about Ms. Lange, keep reading. Click the links, buy her book, and enjoy!
Title: A New League Series, Book 1: Sliding Into Home
Author: Anne Lange
Publisher: Totally Bound
Release Date: October 17, 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Shoes are her addiction, but books are her passion. Anne Lange grew up with a love for reading. If you take a close look, she’s got either a book, her Kindle or her Kobo—maybe all three—tucked into her bag or a pocket when she leaves the house. You know, just in case there’s time to sneak in a chapter or ten. Anne reads many genres of romance, but prefers to write sexy stories, often with a dash of humor, and usually with a side of those sinful pleasures your mom never told you about.
Oh, and always a happily ever after.
While embarking on this wild journey of becoming a romance author, Anne juggles a full time job and a family. Not always successfully. Who needs a clean house every day? And what’s wrong with cereal for dinner? She lives in Ontario, Canada with her wonderfully supportive husband, three awesome kids who are growing up way too fast, and Rocky the bearded dragon.