It’s no secret I love athlete heroes and heroines. I wouldn’t write hockey romance if I didn’t.
But, lately I’ve discovered that some people are on the fence a bit about reading sports romance. When I ask why, I usually hear, “Well, I don’t know too much about XYZ sport, so I’m not sure I’d like it.” They may be sports fans, but not of a particular sport, so they might be hesitant to take a leap into reading about a sport they aren’t familiar with. Granted, this isn’t *everyone*, but it does happen.
It made me think back to the various sports romances I’ve read. The level of sport involved in the actual books seems to vary widely.
Some authors mention the hero or heroine play the sport, but really send the details into the background. You don’t really see them play. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of that tactic. I usually crave more detail and want to see the hero (or heroine) in their element. I’m not knocking anyone for their style, but personally, I like to see the sport woven through the book.
However, I’m not a fan of overdoing it either. Especially if new readers are to be attracted to this particular niche. We don’t want to overwhelm them with too many details they don’t understand. We also need to respect the reader and why they bought the book in the first place. And that’s for a good romance. It’s a delicate balancing act for authors.
Personally, I like to make the action relatable to what’s going on in the plot. For instance, in the first part of Getting Lucky, the heroine is at a hockey game for the first time. You “see” the action going on around her and in front of her, but it’s all flavoring for what she is dealing with at the moment: she’s not only having a bad day, she’s having a bad birthday.
I also like to show the hero or heroine in different aspects of the job, such as practices and away games. Usually, in those situations, they are going to be dealing with a problem, or thinking about something that relates to the relationship or other issue within the book. This isn’t always the case, but I like to keep moving the story forward. I don’t want to waver from what’s really important in the book, and that is the romantic relationship.
The sports action, well, all of it is just sauce for the goods, really. Yes, we always want to see our fictional teams and heroes / heroines win it all, but in the end, winning the girl (or guy) is what it’s all about. The rest is gravy.
What do you think? What’s the right balance for sports romance books? Do you prefer a really detailed account of the sport, or barely any? Or do you like a happy medium?