Date Published: January 19, 2015
As an offensive linewoman for the Cleveland Clash, Tanya Martin is tough inside and out. The 5'9" beauty can take a hit and keep on going. But when the man she was best friends with - and secretly in love with - in high school comes home the same day she learns her father's gym is in financial trouble, she's unexpectedly blindsided.
Super Bowl MVP Cam Simmons is only back in town to convince his mom to move out of her failing neighborhood and live in luxury with him in Boston. But running into Tanya stirs up plenty of old feelings he never resolved. He was happy to leave his old life behind him when he hit the NFL, but walking away from their friendship was a mistake he wants to rectify.
As they work together to help save her dad's gym, Cam and Tanya's easy camaraderie and undeniable chemistry resurface. But can she open up enough to trust him with her heart a second time around?
So, Elley, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I'm a hopeless dreamer, which pretty much meant I was destined to be a writer when I grew up. I spent ten years writing non-fiction and ended up exactly where a dreamer should be, as an editor for the Walt Disney Company, but fiction has always been my biggest dream. These days, I write romance full time, and I love it!
And what do you do when you are not writing?
I have three kids and a husband I adore, so I like to hang out with them. I also have a great group of friends who love to get together for wine and laughs. I am ALWAYS up for an evening out.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I grew up reading contemporary romance novels by authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson, so when I decided to write my own, I naturally wrote what I knew.
Female football players exist, but they aren't common. How did the idea of using one as your protagonist come about?
My husband is a sports medicine physician, and when he was first starting out in his career, he was the team physician for a women's full-tackle football team. I was so enamored with these amazing, strong women. Years later, I had a hero who needed an unorthodox, sports-minded heroine, and I immediately knew she would play football. That coupling became HEAL MY HEART (Kemmons Bros. 3), which the Clash series spins off of.
If you had the chance to change anything in the book, would you? If so, what?
I'm very satisfied with the book as is, but for the sake of playing the game, I'll say I would make it longer. There's room to explore the issues. There are so many wonderful characters who could have more developed story lines. But at this point, that's not the kind of books I'm writing.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
It's basically pure imagination except for the bits and pieces that I gleaned from my husband's experience as a team physician for a women's full-tackle football team. And while the neighborhood is fictional, my husband lived in Cleveland for four years while we were dating, so I grew very fond of the city.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Writing the scene where Cam and Tanya are sparring in the boxing ring was so much fun. I love the banter and the build up of sexual tension. I also love that she is clearly the one with the edge in the ring.
How did you come up with the title?When I knew I was writing a football series, I Google searched football terminology, and "running interference" was perfect, considering that's what Tanya tries to do with the relationship for much of the book.
How do you decide to turn a book into a series rather than ending the characters' story after one book?I like the longer experience of a series, especially when the books are a shorter length. It's more satisfying for the reader to know that the story doesn't exactly end at 50,000-ish words.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?My toughest critic is my editor, Tara. She's very no nonsense when it comes to revisions. She once told me that a story wasn't working--at all. She called it "rough." And it was the hardest thing I've ever had to swallow. Of course, she was right, and the reworked story shined. As a result, her compliments are a big ego boost. But, my best compliment came from a reader who told me she would read everything I ever write.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
There is a lot of advice out there. So many people and groups want to tell writers how to do it, who to follow in order to do it, and even when to do it. That is a high school-ish merry-go-round that doesn't need to be ridden. If something sounds good to you, then great. If it doesn't, then that's great too. The only advice that is truly universal is to write and submit over and over again, because you'll learn by doing. And as long as you're learning, you're growing and getting closer to the writer you're meant to be.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?I love you! I love sharing what's inside my head with you. Even though I've never met most of you, knowing that you've spent hours with my words and ideas makes me hold you in a very special place in my heart. I'm humbled by you and honored to have you.
And we love YOU, Elley!
Elley Arden is a born and bred Pennsylvanian who has lived as far west as Utah and as far north as Wisconsin. She drinks wine like it’s water (a slight exaggeration), prefers a night at the ballpark to a night on the town, and believes almond English toffee is the key to happiness.
Charming characters. Emotional stories. Sexy romance.