I LOVE sport romances and I'm pretty sure that when you hear "sport riomance" mentioned you immediately think of Jaci Burton and her drool-worthy Play by Play series covers! ;-) So it is my pleasure to welcome Jaci and all her sexy heroes to Ex Libris, take a seat and take your time staring at the gorgeous pics ;-p
Stella: Hi Jaci, welcome to Ex Libris! Your last novel, Thrown by a Curve, was released on March 5th, congratulations! Could you tell readers what they can expect of this latest Play by Play novel?
Thrown By A Curve is about Garrett Scott, an injured pitcher and Alicia Riley, the sports medicine specialist hired to rehab him. It’s hot and sexy, but also deeply emotional.
Stella: Would you care to introduce the Garrett Scott and Alicia Riley, the hero and heroine of Thrown by a Curve?
Jaci: Here’s an intro scene for Garrett and Alicia:
“My arm is stiff.”
“Because you’re babying it, because you won’t give it your all. Your therapists know what they’re doing, but you fight them.”
As soon as she said it, her eyes widened. Max crossed his arms, and Garrett could tell he was pissed.
Garrett wasn’t. His lips quirked. “Go on.”
“Look, I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“Yeah, you did. You’ve sat back quietly for all these months, and you obviously have something on your mind. Spill it.”
She looked up at Max, who shook his head.
“Don’t look at him,” Garrett said. “Tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
She sat next to him on the bench and laid her notebook down, her gaze lifting to his.
“Fine. You’re argumentative, confrontational, and a general pain in the ass to deal with. Honestly, no one wants to work with you because you fight your recovery. Half of healing is mental, and your head is the biggest obstacle to getting you back on the mound.”
Huh. He glanced up at the others, who did their best to look away. “I see.”
But when he turned back to—he had no idea what her name was. “What’s your name?”
“Okay, Alicia. You think you can make me a pitcher again?”
She gave him a confident smirk. “I know I can, if you pull your head out of your ass and work with me.”
Stella: Thrown by a Curve is the 5th novel in your Play by Play series, can you tell us what started the series?
Jaci: I wanted to write a new series after my Wild Riders series, and I got this great idea from my awesome friend Maya Banks to write a sports series. I owe her for that one. ;-)
Stella: Why did you choose to write a sport romance? Are you a sports fan in real life? Do you play/enjoy to watch any in particular?
Jaci: I love sports. I’ve always loved sports. I didn’t play a lot of it when I was younger, but I’ve always enjoyed watching sports of all kinds. My favorites are football, baseball, hockey and auto racing.
Stella: Did you have a vision for a series or was it something that evolved gradually?
Jaci: I knew I wanted to start out with a family centric series, so I created the Riley family, a sports loving/playing family, consisting of two brothers—Mick and Gavin. Mick plays football and Gavin plays baseball. Their sister, Jenna, runs the family sports bar. Their cousin Cole also plays football, and Cole’s sister Alicia is a sports medicine therapist. From there, I’ve expanded the Play by Play series to include four new guys, not related to the Riley family.
Stella: You have said that you have run out of the Riley siblings/family, so how will the next books be connected? Will the next heroes/heroines be friends of the characters we have already come to know in the previous books?
Thrown By A Curve, is the link to the new guys who’ll be the heroes in future Play by Play books. He and Drew Hogan, Gray Preston and Trevor Shay were roommates back in college, and that’s what ties them all together. You’ll meet them all in Thrown By A Curve, and again in One Sweet Ride, my June Play by Play book that features Gray Preston as the hero. Each of these characters winds in and out of each others’ lives, so you’ll get a chance to get to know each of them, and hopefully, fall in love with them as I have.
Stella: You have already featured football, baseball and hockey player heroes and next up is a race car driver. Are you so knowledgeable in ALL of these sports or do you have some help (maybe some friends or family members who are die hard fans) who can answer some sports related questions or do you do some research? And if you do, what kind and how do you research your Play by Play novels?
Stella: When you started with The Perfect Play, did you have any idea it would become such a tremendously popular and beloved series? Why do you think that is?
Jaci: Thank you. I had no idea. I just knew I wanted to write a sports romance series because it was something I loved. I had no idea it would be so well received. And I think there are several reasons. Number one, I’ve received amazing cover art for this series, and that’s certainly helped draw attention to the books, thankfully. The second reason is I’d like to think these are dynamic stories about amazingly talented but flawed men, and outstanding, smart women and the way they come together and fall in love. Third, there are lot more women out there who love sports than many people think. I know I love to read about sports and romance—it’s an enticing combination, isn’t it?
Stella: I know it is like asking a mother to choose a favourite child, but please tell is: do you have a hero and/or heroine that is somewhat closer to your heart for whatever reason? Or a character that is memorable either because you enjoyed writing their scenes or to the contrary because he/she was a challenge but in the end it turned out wonderfully?
The Perfect Play, and then in the end paying the ultimate price for it. And then I had to go and make her the heroine in Changing The Game, which was a huge gamble because so many people hated her. But I loved her and I’ve always loved her because she’s so incredibly flawed. And I wanted her to have redemption, not only for the mistakes she made, but in her personal journey. She was in love, and she’d been in love with Gavin for a long time. She just didn’t think being able to act on her feelings was in the cards for her, but oh, it was. And her love story with Gavin was one of the most fun to write, and the most fulfilling. I still love writing her and having her pop up in the Play by Play series. In fact, Holiday Games, my Riley family holiday novella, features Liz and Gavin, because I love and adore her so much.
Stella: Can you tell us what we can expect of the Play by Play series? How many books do you plan on having in the series? And what other sports will we explore? :-)
One Sweet Ride is Gray’s story, and it will release in June. Holiday Games, my Riley holiday novella, will come out in November. Because I’ve moved on from the Rileys, I wanted the opportunity for a Riley family reunion of sorts. You’ll get that with Holiday Games. Melting The Ice is Drew’s story and it will come out in February, 2014. Next up after that is Trevor’s story, which is yet untitled, but it’s due to release in the summer of 2014. After that I have one more Play by Play book contracted, and I don’t yet know who I’m writing about. As far as more books and more sports, I guess that depends on the readers—and my publisher. I love writing this series and I’m happy to do more, as long as the readers continue to want more books. :-)
Stella: Thanks so much for answering all my questions and participating in my Blogoversary celebrations, and here's to many more Play by Play books! :-)
Jaci: Thanks for having me—and happy Blogoversary!
Thrown by a Curve by Jaci Burton
Book #5 in the Play by Play series
She thinks she knows this player—but he has a few surprise moves.
For Alicia Riley, her job as a sports therapist for the St. Louis Rivers baseball team is a home run—until she becomes the primary therapist for star pitcher, Garrett Scott. Out of the lineup with an injury, he's short-tempered, hard to handle, and every solid inch, a man.
Right now, the only demand he's making on Alicia is that she get him ready to pitch in time for opening day. Except the sexual chemistry between them is so charged, Alicia's tempted to oblige Garrett just about anything. But both their careers are at stake—one bad move and it's game over for both of them.
Garrett also feels the hot sparks between them, and the way he figures it, what better therapy is there than sex? Now all he has to do is convince the woman with the power to make the call.
Jaci has generously offered winner's choice of one of her backlist books (except Thrown by a Curve) to a lucky commenter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway