A couple of weeks ago I released my second sports-themed romance, Jezebel. The story revolvesaround a complacent exhibition boxer and a functioning alcoholic dancer during the Great Depression. Sound like a downer? It’s not I just chose to write characters who weren’t so darn perfect they make your teeth ache.
So how did Jezebel come about from a ten year old manuscript? Last, summer I wanted to publish a story right away. As anyone knows in this business, your next book is the best publicity. Unfortunately, my muse had a different plan. After I pulled Heart of Harlem (the original name of the story) out of an archived file folder, I realized how much fun I had writing my soccer romance, Players’ Ultimatum.
The setting and the plot remained somewhat the same, but the character development received a major overhaul. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Not only am I a sports fanatic, I’m also a huge history buff. For this manuscript, I delved into everything from the Harlem Renaissance, social manners/etiquette, period clothing, Broadway musicals, Naval brigs, race movies, the first independent film companies, and about three dozen personal histories of boxers’ who fought between 1899-1950.
I loved every single minute of it! I discovered Young Stribling, one of the first boxers to become a millionaire. He never fought in a title match, but made his money traveling across America during the Great Depression fighting exhibition matches. I ran across one of the coolest maps detailing “the fun to be had” in Harlem’s nightlife scene during the 1930s. From this map alone, I was able find the names of lesser known nightclubs, what dances were popular during the time and how important the daily number was for many of the community’s inhabitants. Practically the whole city, considering the money to be made from the racket caused one of the biggest gangland wars in history. Dutch Shultz ring any bells?
As a writer of a sports-themed romance, I also wanted to make sure that readers got a taste of the sport. I hate reading a story about a professional athlete who never gets on the field or inside the ring. In my opinion, that’s not poor character development. On the other hand, because I write romance I also keep the action to a minimum. I always have to remind myself that the hero isn’t romancing the other team or his opponent, his eyes should remain firmly on the prize, which is the heroine.
All in all, I feel Jezebel really captures the essence of New York City during the 1930s. Hopefully, my readers will get the same enjoyment out of reading it as I did writing it.
Want to learn more about me and my books? Visit my official website: www.kokobrown.net. For more about Jezebel or to read an excerpt, visit: www.kokobrown.net/taginterracialeroticromance/jezebel