Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sports-Related Romances: A Rising Subgenre.

A recent article in a Romance Writers Report (Romance Writers of America) magazine about the rising subgenre of sports-related romances intrigued me. Probably because the hero in my completed YA contemporary is a rising college football star. So many books feature the 'dumb jock' archetype, and oftentimes the jock is the antagonist. I wanted to tell a different perspective.
So, what do you think? Is there a rising interest in these novels? And why? According to the RWR article by author Cassandra Carr, many publishers believe sports-related romances will rise in popularity. One such publisher mentioned is Entangled Publishing, an impressive publisher with a unique (read: awesome) business model.

So back to the why. What is it about athletic protagonists that intrigues us? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments. I believe physical strength, confidence, a bold character and an ability to commit and work hard are all common characteristics that can't hurt.

The article suggests that because a star athlete often has many women after him, when he does finally settle down and commit, it's that much more satisfying for the reader.

In the case of my novel, Austin Dobbs makes a choice between true love and football that could prove to be the demise of his hard-earned dreams. A sacrifice is made. And I hope it makes the happy ending between Sienna and Austin that much more rewarding for the reader. He had a choice, and he chose love.

Alright, so I'll admit that I love athletic protagonists. My husband is one! (Was an athlete, that is, as he just now corrected me). I'll share an excerpt from my novel from a scene where Austin teaches Sienna to throw a football (taken from my experience with my husband teaching me how to swing a tennis racket while we were dating). Hot man putting his arms around you to show you how to swing. Mmm.

In this scene, Austin is tossing a football around with Sienna's little brother, Spencer...

“Catch?” Austin asks as I walk out.
I try to stand confidently as the ball zooms toward me. Despite my football skills—I don’t have any—I make a decent catch. Austin holds his hands up to catch a return toss.
“She’s even worse at throwing,” Spencer speaks up. “The fish out there catch more of her balls than I can.”
Austin looks at me. “Oh, yeah?”
“Spencer,” I whisper sharply.
I look to Austin and confirm it with a shrug. Austin closes the distance between us. I’m increasingly aware of him as he stands behind me and wraps his arms around mine. Oh, wow.
“I’ll teach you,” he whispers in my ear.
His hand cups the back of mine. I watch as he positions my pinkie and ring fingers over the threads and slides my thumb down. “Hold the ball with your fingertips.”
I glance at his face above my shoulder, his blue eyes, strong jaw, and thick lips. And suddenly, football is the last thing on my mind.
“Now, lift your arm.”
I clear my throat, concentrating. “Like this?”
“Mm-hm.” His nose brushes through my hair. I take several shallow breaths, my pulse flickering as he smells my hair. “Keep your eye on the target.”
I force myself to focus on Spencer. Since he’s staring at us like he would at a clogged toilet, I remind myself to make him promise not to speak a word of this to Mom.
“Now step into the throw. Put your whole body into it, not just your arm.” Austin practices the motion with me. “Then let the ball roll off your fingertips.”
His body guides my movements. After a few run-throughs of the motion, he tells me to let it fly, and I do. The ball rolls off my fingertips and soars through the air in a perfect spiral, landing in Spencer’s open hands.
“Wow! I’ve never thrown a ball like that. Thanks, Austin.”
“My pleasure," he says.
I blush.
Spencer clears his throat audibly. “I’m going to go play with friends now. Or maybe to the bathroom to puke.”

 Examples of sports-related novels:

Soccer book picture courtesy of ponsuwan via 
Tennis picture courtesy of PinkBlue via
All novels displayed can be found on or


  1. Honestly, sports are anathema to me. I dislike most of them and have always avoided literature where they play a big part. That being said, I wonder if the rise of sports-related novels is because they are such a large part of so many American lives and it has - in the past - been such an untapped novel market? Maybe there has been a hunger for it all along and it's only just now being met.

    Visions of Other Worlds

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jessica.