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Jami works in IT for her day job and is a former high school business teacher. In her spare time, Jami rides and shows her dressage horse and grows roses. An avid boater, Jami has spent countless hours in the San Juan Islands, a common setting in her books. In her opinion, it is the most beautiful place on earth.
The Challenge of Creating Bad Boy Heroes
The hero in my recent release, Forward Passes, is Tyler Harris, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, ultimate bad boy, and a self-proclaimed jerk with a fondness for the “F” word. To say writing about Tyler was a challenge would be putting it mildly. I wrote at least six versions of his story until I settled on the current version.
Tyler was initially introduced in Fourth and Goal, as a cousin and teammate to Derek. As one reviewer put it, Tyler came across as the jerk with a heart of gold. In Forward Passes, I needed to stay true to the character I created in the initial book, yet help him grow in this book.
The most difficult thing when writing Forward Passes was balancing Tyler’s jerk persona with the nice guy hiding underneath. I couldn’t make Tyler too soft or too hard. In the beginning, he needed to be a first-class jerk, but the reader also needed to see glimpses of the real Tyler, even if Tyler didn’t see them. So I gave Tyler a cat—an unwanted cat—because “real men don’t like cats” or so they claim (tell that one to my husband). I also added a soft spot for senior citizens. Lastly, I gave Tyler a secret weakness. He actually believes deep down that he’s unworthy of his fame and fortune.
I opened the book with Tyler winning his second Super Bowl in two years, yet feeling oddly distanced and apathetic about the entire thing. I’m hoping that first scene gives readers insight into where his head is at as he struggles with dissatisfaction in his current life.
Regarding setting, I stuck Tyler on an island in Washington’s San Juan Islands in an old run-down mansion, taking him out of his city life of endless parties and instant gratification. Before long, he learns the true meaning of island time, as he copes with workmen who don’t show up, no cell or TV service, a stubborn furnace, and a scaled-back nightlife.
Of course, Tyler meets his match, a woman who challenges him to be the person he wants to be not the person others expect him to be. My goal was to keep Tyler’s essence intact, while having him grow as a person. I hope I accomplished that task.
With two championships in as many years, superstar Tyler Harris is the best quarterback in the league. Gorgeous and rich, he’s at the top of his game. But everyone’s looking to take him down. There’s a building media frenzy around an unfortunate accident, and the only safe place seems a rundown mansion deep in the San Juans and owned by his late great uncle. There, Tyler gets sacked by the sassy redhead next door. It’s more alive than he’s felt in years.
Lavender Mead has a good reason to dislike jocks, namely an absentee father who deserted the family to coach college football. Maybe that explains her penchant for bad boys who play ball for a living and break hearts for a hobby. Her new neighbor seems just the type. Yet, something is different about Tyler, and sometimes love requires a Hail Mary. You draw back your arm, pray…and give it all up to fate. And sometimes you win your ring.