Author Regina Hart has a passion for basketball, which is why she’s so excited about her recent series the Brooklyn Monarchs. Her latest release is SMOOTH PLAY with KEEPING SCORE coming out in July. She shared some of her insights into her series and what her alter ego Patricia Sargeant is up to.
A Kensington Publishing mass market paperback contemporary romance
A passion for the game is what it takes to win. But off the court, it takes a different kind of savvy to heat things up. . .
He’s part problem-solver and dream-maker. There’s not a crisis he can’t avert. And handling the NBA’s most explosive team has put PR ace Troy Marshall at the top of his game. It also gives him a chance to give back to the community. But one determined reporter is messing with his flow. And he’ll need way more than skill and charm to win this tempting one-on-one. . .
Andrea Benson’s instincts tell her that something major is going on behind-the-scenes with this franchise. And a headline story is the only way she can regain the career and good name she let slip away. But Troy’s sincerity is throwing her for an unexpected–and very seductive–loop. Can they trust each other enough to uncover the truth. . .or will too many secrets be their breaking point?
1. What inspired you to create the Brooklyn Monarchs series?
Dara, thank you very much for asking this question. I love basketball – college and pros. I love the athleticism, the grace, the power, the strategy – the mental and physical sides of the game. It’s like watching poetry. I also love the behind-the-scenes stuff, getting into the mind of a champion. Reading or listening to player interviews to learn how they mentally and physically prepare not just for a game but for the season. I set the team in Brooklyn because I’m from Brooklyn. I may live in Ohio, but my heart’s in the BK. (Brooklyn’s in the house!!! – Love doing that. LOL!)
2. What do you enjoy most about your new series?
Oooh! Tough one. There are so many things I enjoy about my Brooklyn Monarchs series. I always enjoy giving characters inner demons to conquer. In FAST BREAK, DeMarcus and Jaclyn feel the weight of protecting their legacy. In SMOOTH PLAY, Troy and Andrea have to find the strength to forgive themselves and others. In KEEPING SCORE, Warrick and Marilyn question whether their love is enough to keep them together under the stress, strain and media spotlight of the NBA playoffs.
I also enjoy addressing myths and stereotypes. The media loves to discuss ad nauseum negatives stories about athletes – their vices, “greed,” petty squabbles. They rarely report on athletes’ positive contributions – their charitable donations, the time they spend with community organizations, the voices they lend to those in need. I’m glad I have a platform on which I can do that. And of course I love writing the game scenes. Fun!
3. What’s your alter ego, Patricia Sargeant, doing?
Dara, thank you for asking about Patricia. Patricia’s writing proposals for romantic suspense projects. I enjoy writing the Regina Hart contemporaries. I define those as stories in which people are forced to confront their inner demons. However, I also want to write romantic suspense. I really enjoy the element of danger in romantic suspense that heightens the stakes. I love putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations and giving them the character arc that gives them the power to face their fears. And I enjoy the added puzzle. In contemporary romance, the question is how will the hero and heroine resolve their differences. In romantic suspense, readers ask that question as well as who’s killing people and why? So many questions. LOL!
4. Do you have any writing rituals you’d like to share?
You know, Dara, with each new project, I’m amazed again at how obsessive compulsive I am with my plotting. I’ve decided plotting is my crutch. I do quite a bit of preparation before I start each story. I’m anxious to just write the story. But I’ve learned the hard way that, if I don’t do my prep work, I’ll end up with a big mess. Before each story, I have to identify the story’s theme and logline.
These two things keep me focused on where the story is and where it’s going. I’m a character-driven writer so I need to “interview” my hero, heroine and villain to help detail my plot and understand what’s driving my characters. These are some of the writing rituals that work for me, although I know they don’t work for everyone. Everyone’s writing style is different. However, I’m looking forward to presenting a plotting workshop during the 2012 Romance Slam Jam where I get to talk about my obsessive compulsive eccentricities.
Find out more about Regina and her work on her website.