“Volcano” research: The Harder We Fall and its rugby connection
The first book in my Spotlight New Adult series, The Harder We Fall, features a character who’s a rugby player. I’m sure anyone who knows me even a little went What? What do you know about sports? And they would be right.
I like putting little challenges for myself in every book I write though, and psyched myself up for this: write about sports. I wrote this book for flirtsteamyreads and we had agreed to all write a sports-centric romance, so I pretty much got an entire group to leave my comfort zone along with me. I think we enjoyed it though? I hope so!
So, why rugby? Basketball is the big deal here, but that was precisely why I decided not to use it. As we were writing, the World Cup was on, and football was on everyone’s minds. Also why I steered clear from it. A few months ago, my friends Kat and Kesh guested on the 5x5podcast and talked about rugby. It’s a sport that hasn’t gotten as much of a following in this country, and anyone who chooses to play it does so knowing that they’re taking on a set of struggles and opportunities.
I took off from that and wrote the book. Along the way, I consulted actual rugby players Jon Morales and Evans Atandi, and the inside info has been just awesome.
Thanks also to my friend Chef Sharwin Tee for letting me tag along when his TV show Curiosity Got the Chef filmed at the training camp of the Philippine Volcanoes, the country’s national rugby team. I saw the teams train, got to talk to female players and coaches, checked out what they ate, heard all the yelling. Lots of yelling. And got more help from Lady Volcano Cassie Umali, and the captain of the Volcanoes himself, Jake Letts.
So what did I learn from this? Research is fun. It’s worth it to write more about what you don’t know, because spending the time knowing it opens up all these possibilities.
It’s also a balancing act of sorts, to keep the book focused on what it’s supposed to be (a romance) and resist the urge to info dump everything I learned about rugby. Even just the stories they’ve shared about going on tournaments and training for them, and the lives they have to live in between, those could fill books. I can’t write them though. I may have been sworn to secrecy about some things.
But I am writing a second rugby book, because I felt that another character in The Harder We Fall could have his own story. And he will!
The Harder We Fall is out now worldwide, and will be in Philippine bookstores in 2015.