Yesterday we heard from Kelley Vitollo about what she loves about small town romances. Today Ophelia London joins us with her thoughts about writing her small town romance, Playing at Love.
I love small town romances; maybe because I was born and raised in a small town, and it brings back lovely memories. Since I’d already earmarked my cozy hometown (Eureka, California) as the setting for another book, for my Bliss series, I did a bit of research and settled on Franklin, Indiana as the setting for Playing at Love. I’d never been there, but thanks to Google, Google Earth and Google Images, I knew it had the right vibe for the story. I was able to take my memories of Eureka and parlay those into building the Playing at Love (and later, the entire Perfect Kisses series) world. I had the best time writing this story!
Some of the fondest memories I have of life at my tiny high school are of my choir classes. I can perfectly recall the moment I decided to make my heroine, Tess, a small town high school choir teacher… Bette Midler’s “The Rose” came on the radio. Random, right? I had an immediate flashback of my first day in choir. I’d never heard that song before and—I swear to you—at least five different duets of girls sang that as their audition piece. It was such a vivid memory of a happy time in my life that I knew I wanted to live in that world for a few months as I wrote my new story. To this day, I can’t hear that song without thinking about Mr. Moehnke’s Mixed Ensemble class. So, I transferred all of my love and passion for music to Tess.
Now, let’s get to the guy… Since I was writing an “enemies-to-lovers” story, I knew I needed my smexy hero to also work at the high school. I toyed with the idea of having him be a baseball coach, but when I decided to have the entire story take place in just a few weeks in the fall, it was obvious Jack had to be a football coach…and the dreamiest, hottest football coach out there! The thing is, I didn’t know much about high school football. Okay, I didn’t know anything about it! When I went to the games as a teenager, we never watched the actual games, we mostly gossiped by the snack bar then ditched and headed to Burger King after the third quarter. When I was first drafting Playing at Love and struggling hardcore with all the football scenes, my editor suggested I watch one or two episodes of Friday Night Lights—just to get a feel for high school football. Yeah, I ended up getting completely hooked on the show and spent way too many hours “researching” when I should have been writing. Well, I’m sorry but Taylor Kitsch is too hunky for words, and I would have volunteered to be a waterboy if Kyle Chandler was the coach at my high school.
Once I got my two main characters in place, the rest of the story poured out, combining my love of sports with my passion for music…and lots and lots of kissing. Hee-hee Plus, I am now fully educated about fictional small town Texas football. Go ahead, ask me anything.
If you had to “research” any sport, what would it be?
Thanks to Ophelia for joining us today! If you haven’t read Playing at Love yet pick up the Hometown Love boxed set which is available for a limited time only. You will get not just Playing at Love but two other novels from Kelley Vitollo and Rachel Harris.
**For a limited time only!**
Three novels that prove love can always be found right at home
There’s nothing quite like the comfort and serenity of returning home again, especially when combined with the sizzle and excitement of finding true love. This limited-edition contemporary romance boxed set from Entangled’s Bliss line features three fun and flirty small-town stories sure to make you laugh, sigh, and smile long after you’ve turned the last page.
Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris: Colby Robicheaux knows her brother’s best friend—delectable fire captain Jason Landry—is off-limits, and anyway, she’s only back home for a short time. Jason’s looking for someone to help him raise his preteen daughter, not a fling, but Colby’s all grown up and tempting as ever.
Playing at Love by Ophelia London: When Tess Johansson’s music program gets pitted against Jack Marshall’s football program in a battle for funding, she knows only one of them can win. Jack might be the summer love she never forgot, but her job means everything to her. Competing against the enemy was never quite this much fun.
Lucky Break by Kelley Vitollo: Sydney Williams might have come home to her small town of Shamrock Falls, but it’ll take more than that to rekindle a broken friendship with her childhood best friend, Kade Mitchell. When friendship turns to sparks turns to more, will Kade be able to convince his best friend to gamble on forever?