Finding a guest author to visit our blog is a monthly task, and I try to have my guests lined up a month or two ahead of time. But for various reasons, this month got away from me and I ended up approaching my guest only a few days ago! Fortunately, Ara Grigorian is a problem solver and quickly came to my rescue. Ara is the author of Game of Love, a lovely novel (I’m currently about a third of the way through it) as well as a tech guru (I go to him whenever I have a question about Scrivener, the writing software I use on my Mac). When not solving IT problems for fellow authors as well as at Technicolor, he’s teaching writing workshops for Writers Digest and other groups. Last Saturday he joined one of my writing groups via the internet to teach us about story structure, and we all learned so much!
Anyway, here’s Ara to tell us the story behind Game of Love.
Are You a Tennis Player?
That’s the number one question I am asked when new readers hear of my novel, Game of Love.
“Why yes,” I respond. “I was a supermodel-slash-celebrity-slash-professional athlete when I was younger. Thank you for noticing.”
Because this question was asked of me when all I had was a manuscript, I decided to share the backstory with my readers when my novel was published. I wrote the following in the Author’s Notes:
Morning of May 26, 2010, Paris: I stumbled into the hotel elevator. I had not slept well, which was typical for me on international business trips. I was in mid-yawn when the doors slid open and walked in the talented Dominika Cibulková. Not my coolest moment, I admit, but I recovered fast enough to wish her luck. Thanks to me, she won that afternoon’s match J. The French Open was in full swing and many of the athletes were staying at the same hotel. So over breakfast I thought about a tennis star’s lifestyle. Can a celebrity athlete have a “normal” life? Can they trust anyone? Then I remembered a “What if…” situation I had jotted in my journal months earlier. It all came together and in that moment, the random idea found its soul. On my return flight, I wrote the “breakfast scene.” The seed which was found on a business trip, transformed into this novel.
But there’s more to the story.
I write stories of second chances. I am an eternal optimist, always believing we can all have a chance at a hopeful ending in the book of our life. So I’m always touched and intrigued by stories of someone who overcame. Someone who went against the odds and found that inner power to come back and win. Who doesn’t like the story of the underdog that wins? Okay, fine there are some out there, but that’s not me.
When I thought of Gemma Lennon, the heroine of my novel, she was the classic fallen from grace character. I thought of Anna Kournikova, the tennis pro and sex symbol that was regularly made fun of – unfairly if I may add. She won four (count ’em) Grand Slams in both doubles and mixed doubles, so she was no slouch. But she was a great target. The beautiful ones are fair game. Particularly if they never overcome their weakness – in her case, singles. So Gemma’s story had to be one of redemption, but I didn’t want her solution to come from within – I wanted her to find the capacity to win by learning to trust again.
Trust herself, trust others, trust her heart.
We are better with others in our lives. That is our design. Gemma just needed to find the right one. And once she did, all she had to do was play the Game of Love.
Blurb for Game of Love:
Game of Love is set in the high-stakes world of professional tennis where fortune and fame can be decided by a single point.
Gemma Lennon has spent nearly all of her 21 years focused on one thing: Winning a Grand Slam. After a disastrous and very public scandal and subsequent loss at the Australian Open, Gemma is now laser-focused on winning the French Open. Nothing and no one will derail her shot at winning – until a heated chance encounter with brilliant and sexy Andre Reyes threatens to throw her off her game.
Breaking her own rules, Gemma begins a whirlwind romance with Andre who shows her that love and a life off the court might be the real prize. With him, she learns to trust and love… at precisely the worst time in her career. The pressure from her home country, fans, and even the Prime Minister to be the first British woman to win in nearly four decades weighs heavily.
As Wimbledon begins, fabricated and sensationalized news about them spreads, fueling the paparazzi, and hurting her performance. Now, she must reconsider everything, because in the high-stakes game of love, anyone can be the enemy within… even lovers and even friends.
In the Game of Love, winner takes all.
My Kindle app tells me I’m 32 percent of the way through this novel, and it’s fascinating. There are 65 reviewers on Amazon who agree with me, as well as judges in the International Book Awards, the Independent Author Network Book of the Year, and the USA Book News Awards. I’m sure you’ll love it!