How a jaded leading man can be redeemed
While writing the character of Chase Whitfield, I had a very clear idea of who he was. Arrogant. Aggressive. Entitled. I didn’t set out to make him likeable, thereby breaking every rule when it comes to romance. I mean, c’mon. What reader wants to be repulsed by a book’s leading man? But in fashioning Chase’s personality I wanted to hold a mirror up to reality, capture what the ego of a rich and successful athlete is probably like. As Chase says in NIGHT GAMES, “I don’t do humble.”
But there’s a reason behind his behavior – he’s trying to protect his heart. Chase has been in the public eye nearly all of his adult life, since he was eighteen years old. He doesn’t know what it means to be normal anymore. He lives behind closed doors, keeping people at arm’s length, not letting anybody get too close. Since he’s the face of a multibillion dollar sports franchise, he can’t afford to get entangled in the ups and downs of a real life relationship. He’s expected to project stability and strength, but in so doing it becomes his biggest weakness.
What he’s lacking in his life is love, that all important balm of acceptance and understanding. By shutting himself off, he’s become touchy and cynical. He doesn’t want to act like this, but he feels like he doesn’t have much of a choice. He has a high profile job. Sacrifices must be made. It’s not until he meets Grey that he realizes just how much he’s missing out on. He thought he could survive without love, but he can’t. Even if he’s revered as a sports god, he’s still human. He wants what everyone wants – a chance at that one true love.
And helping him find that as a character was one of the biggest joys I’ve experienced as a writer. After reading his story, I only hope you feel the same way about him too.
The moment Grey Kelleher locks eyes with All-Star shortstop Chase Whitfield, she’s a goner. For years, she’s watched him play on TV, and now she’s gazing at his hard, lean body across a bar in her hometown.
Grey’s crush on Chase goes all the way back to his rookie season. So when she approaches him for an autograph, she’s startled by what a jerk he can be.
Chase is no mood to humor his fans, even one as alluring as Grey. He’s in the last year of his contract and stuck having to prove himself on a minor league team. He’s only there to rehab an injury, nothing more.
But when Grey tells him off, Chase realizes her fiery spirit may be just the distraction he needs to take his mind off not being in the majors. His heart is safe. No one’s going to break his streak as baseball’s most eligible bachelor. Not even someone as irresistible as Grey.
Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of ba
seball’s biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette’s impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.
Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she’s not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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