As sports romance readers, we love professional athlete characters because they are confident, fit, and capable of feats that are not possible for the rest of us. In other words, they are the closest thing we have to a real-life super-hero.
There are lots of sports romances that center on mainstream sports like football and hockey, but at the time I was drafting my debut novel, Lessons in Gravity, there were almost none that centered on the types of sports I loved and think are the sexiest: non-motorized outdoor adventure sports. (Examples: backcountry skiing, surfing, mountaineering, rafting, and mountain biking)
To me, these types of sports are the sexiest because they take athletic ability far beyond what you see in a city-sport, plus the stakes are way higher because chances of rescue are very slim if the athlete gets hurt.
Lessons in Gravity is specifically a rock-climbing sports romance. In summary:
Falling for the star of a rock climbing documentary is not a good idea, especially if you’re the filmmaking intern who will be dangling from the side of a three thousand foot cliff with a camera while he climbs Yosemite’s most treacherous spire without a rope.
(If you’ve been following the news in the past few months, the “climbs Yosemite’s most treacherous spire without a rope” part might sound familiar. In June, the esteemed professional rock climber Alex Honnold stunned the whole world when he climbed Yosemite National Park’s 3,000-foot El Capitan cliff, yes, without a rope. It was crazy. And amazing.)
So, what’s sexy about rock climbing? Let’s hear it straight from April, the heroine of Lessons in Gravity, as she secretly watches the hero, Josh Knox, climbing on a boulder in their campground.
His deep focus was inherently dramatic, and she could see that this, thousands of feet in the air and set against some of the amazing vistas that supposedly existed in Yosemite, would make for some stunning cinematography.
Climbing might be a bizarre sport, but she had to admit, it was also a little sexy. The height. The fearlessness. The confidence. The apparent impossibility of it all.
Another sexy aspect of rock climbing and other adventure sports is that the athletes are reminiscent of the fearless explorers of yesteryear, like Amelia Earhart, Lewis and Clark, or Vikings. In the words of Josh Knox:
All the continents have been discovered, the West has been won, the wilderness has been mapped. To climb new routes is to explore a final frontier, and it’s one of the few things left in this world where your survival is based solely on your skill. It’s deeply satisfying. Climbing an old route a different way is also a new frontier. It’s a new frontier of skill. An evolution of what is physically possible.
Let’s get a conversation going in comments: Which sport do you think is sexiest? Also, have you ever tried rock climbing, and if not, would you ever?
I will soon be releasing news about my next book, which is set in the same world as Lessons in Gravity but with an exciting, foreign setting and a female pro athlete. My email list subscribers are always the first to know details such as these, and I’d be thrilled if you’d consider joining up!
If you happen to be a reader who lives in Canada or Australia, Lessons in Gravity is on sale on Kobo for one week at 75% off, so go grab it before the price goes back up!
Lessons in Gravity
All eyes are on Josh Knox…
Fearless. Guarded. Cut-to-perfection. Daredevil rock climber. The best in the world.
This time he’s poised to scale Yosemite’s notoriously treacherous Sorcerer Spire, with Walkabout Media & Productions filming every move.
April Stephens’s dream to be a documentary filmmaker rests on her acing her internship with Walkabout, and that means getting the abrasive Josh to give her more than one-word answers in his interviews.
The problem is, with every step forward professionally, she and Josh are also taking a step forward personally, and after watching her stunt pilot father die in a fiery crash, a guy who risks his life for a living is the last person she should be falling for. Especially because in one month her internship will have them dangling three thousand feet in the air from the side of the Sorcerer. She’ll be filming. He’ll be climbing without a rope.
About the Author
Megan Westfield has dabbled in many hobbies and pastimes over the years, ranging from playing the cello to cake decorating (i.e., icing-eating) to a dozen different outdoor adventure sports. Eventually, she discovered the only way to do it all was though writing—her first and strongest passion. She grew up in Washington state, attended college in Oregon, and lived in Virginia, California, and Rhode Island during her five years as a navy officer. Megan is now a permanent resident of San Diego where she and her husband count family beach time with their two young kids as an adventure sport.