Holiday season can be nerve wracking when you are at a loss for gift ideas. But if your list includes a soccer fan with a penchant for reading love stories, I may just have the answer to your prayers. Enter Rebecca Crowley and her digital novel, The Striker’s Chance.
Published in September of this year, The Striker’s Chance gives us a peek into the lives of Holly Taylor, a publicist seeking to land a contract with North Carolina’s newest soccer team, and Kepler "Killer" de Klerk, a former European league star who is restarting his career at the same club…
With a cover that can make you appreciate the value of a good abdominal workout and an intriguing storyline highlighting the beautiful game, I decided to reach out to the author for a bit of insight on the book.
How did you come up with the concept for the book?
RC: Whenever I watch sports I find myself really emotionally investing in the players as well as the outcome, and wondering about their lives off the pitch. At one point I found myself thinking about how difficult it must be for young Premiership players to move to England from remote places all around the world, usually with very little proficiency in English, and how strange and isolating that must be. Suddenly the hero, Kepler, was born - a man from an industrial seaport in South Africa whose skill on the pitch takes him all over the globe.
Did you employ any unique research methods for character development? If so, what were they?
RC: I tried to read a lot of interviews and articles about players' methods off the pitch, from being scouted to what they do in the locker room before kickoff. I frequently turned to The Secret Footballer in the Guardian (a British newspaper). It's a tell-all column written by an anonymous Premiership player and it's fascinating stuff!
I also looked at a lot of photos of Spain's 2010 World Cup team. Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas, Iker Casillas... I owe [those] fine-looking gentlemen a huge debt of gratitude! ;-)
What lessons can young publicists take away from the story?
RC: Poor Holly, the heroine, has a pretty steep learning curve in this book, but I think her most important lesson as she tries to make Kepler into someone he's not is that sometimes you just can't improve on the original.
I noticed in your bio that you spent time in England and are now based in South Africa. Do you have a favorite football club and/or player?
RC: I'm married to a hardcore Arsenal fan so I've been thoroughly converted to the way of the Gunner! I like a lot of different players, but my favorite might be surprising: it's Andres Iniesta, who plays midfield for Barcelona. He's not a big, famous goal-scorer, but I love his adaptability on the pitch, his amazing agility and speed, and his uncanny ability to be everywhere at once. He's an intense, fascinating player who I find to be a total thrill to watch.
Why will The Striker’s Chance make a good stocking stuffer for soccer moms?
RC: Well, the cover is pretty easy on the eyes! ;-) The Striker’s Chance is a fun, romantic read that I’d hope would have a lot of appeal for anyone interested in soccer – or for anyone who regularly gets roped into watching the games and wishes there was a little more eye candy on the pitch.
Knowing that an Arsenal diehard with a special place in her heart for the Spanish side is the mastermind behind this work, I can safely predict The Striker’s Chance is a page-turner. To grab and/or gift your copy, go to Carina Press, Amazon, Amazon UK, ARe, Barnes & Noble or Audible.