London was an amazing place to be in the summer of 2012. Andy Murray reached the Wimbledon final, Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, and Olympic fever transformed the city into a weeks-long international party. I was swept up in sporting mania and decided to challenge myself to write a sports-themed romance novel in the month of August, figuring it would be a satisfying capstone to a brilliant summer. I’d always enjoyed soccer (or football in the UK), but thanks to my Arsenal-obsessive then-boyfriend of five years I’d developed an increasingly nuanced understanding of the game, so it seemed like the perfect sport around which to build a story. Plus, let’s face it, “researching” pictures of pro soccer players was no hardship (special thanks to Spain’s 2010 World Cup team – muy caliente!).
Unbeknownst to me, I was at the very beginning of one of the most significant years of my life.
On the last Saturday in August – with about 15,000 words left to write – my boyfriend casually suggested, over our morning tea and croissants, that I pack an overnight bag because we were leaving in fifteen minutes. He whisked me off to Oxford, where we’d met nine years earlier at an undergraduate dinner, and by mid-afternoon I was wearing an engagement ring and squealing down the phone to my parents in the States.
Needless to say, I didn’t finish my novel on time. But I did complete it, and quickly enough to send off for Carina’s feedback opportunity in October. It was a chance to get a response in six weeks plus a few lines of editors’ input, and I thought it would be a good way to see what was and wasn’t working in the story. I’d recently returned to romance writing after a long hiatus (another post entirely!) and at best thought I’d come away with a request to revise and resubmit.
Then, one Friday in mid-November, I came back from a slightly boozy work lunch and opened my personal e-mail at my desk. I had a message from Angela James – Carina Press wanted to acquire my manuscript.
Naturally I did what any sensible, rational adult would do in this situation. I proceeded to the restroom, locked myself in a stall, and cried.
Fast-forward through the ensuing year of transatlantic wedding planning, edit rounds, the acquisition of my holiday novella (yay!), oh, and did I mention my fiancé and I both changed jobs and moved from London to Johannesburg? Now it’s September, and these two interlocking journeys will finally reach their conclusions. My debut novel The Striker’s Chance released yesterday, and in a little over three weeks I’ll walk down the aisle to marry the man to whom the book is dedicated.
I’m so thrilled that I get to share The Striker’s Chance with readers, and I’m so incredibly lucky to have my very own romance hero by my side as I do. To say it’s been a wild ride barely begins to capture the excitement, stress, and giddy joy of the last year – and as I transition from fiancée to wife and debut author to building a backlist, I have high hopes the next one will be even better.
Landing the PR contract for North Carolina’s new soccer team could take Holly Taylor’s career to the next level. Her task? Make Kepler “Killer” de Klerk, an athlete with a party-hard reputation, a star. But revamping the sexy footballer’s image while battling her unwanted attraction to him is easier said than done.
The car accident that derailed Kepler’s European career also gave him some much-needed perspective. He’s ready to give up on fame and focus on the game he loves. The last thing he needs is a headstrong brunette pushing him back into the spotlight, even if butting heads with her is the most fun he’s had in ages.
The more time Holly spends with Kepler, the more she sees how different he is from his tabloid persona. But when she’s offered her dream job for a price, she finds herself torn between the career she’s spent years building and the man she doesn’t want to give up.
Rebecca Crowley inherited her love of romance from her mom, who taught her to at least partially judge a book by the steaminess of its cover. She writes contemporary romance with smart heroines and swoon-worthy heroes, and never tires of the happily-ever-after. Having pulled up her Kansas roots to live in New York City and London, Rebecca recently relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa. Find her at rebeccacrowley.net and on Twitter at @rachelmaybe.