This Sporting Life ~ Outside the Margins with KJ Charles

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I hate sport.

I hated playing it. I’m slow, left handed and a world-class fumblefingers. Since my school defined humanity by lacrosse skill, this was not good. And I hate watching sport—if I want to see pursuit of a ball I can get a dog—and I really hate fanatical sports fans. Some men didn’t kick the thing at the other thing with sufficient accuracy so you’re going to cry about it? Whatever.

So, I hate sport. Or, rather I used to.

A few years ago things were quite tough for us. I won’t bore you with the details but house/jobs/illness/financial worries/small children. I cried a lot. And I cried in private because while I was goddamn miserable, my husband was depressed.

Depression is a wicked thing. Mr KJC was having a bad, bad time of it, and I was trying to kee p things afloat and Stiff Upper Lip it all out, and I spent quite a lot of time wanting to scream, but Mum doesn’t get to scream, so I was just quietly gritting my teeth and crying in the bathroom. I couldn’t even hide in books: I was too drudgingly busy to read. Bad times.

And at this point Mr KJC announced he wanted us to get rugby season tickets. What.

We live in North London, near the Saracens rugby team’s brand new stadium, and they were offering super cheap season tickets to locals. Frankly the idea seemed somewhere between stupid and awful, but it was coming on to winter and this was something positive and I didn’t have the strength for a row so I was like, “sure, buy us season tickets we can’t afford for a game I don’t care about.”

So we went. Let me say, rugby is incomprehensible. They throw the thing backwards and sort of run at each other, and kick it, and stop playing, and get in this rolling headbutt thing and…

And people around us, people in team regalia and stupid hats and scarves, were on their feet baying. Sarries! Sarries! And a player—memory tells me Chris Ashton—had the ball thing and he was sprinting for the line and OH MY GOD RUN DO IT PLEASE LET SOMEONE GET SOMETHING RIGHT TODAY OH GOD HE’S FLYING YESSSSSS!

We watched every home game that season. Learned the players. Learned (some of) the rules. When my son had his signed ball stolen the club sent us a replacement signed by the entire squad. I lost my voice screaming at a key game, and by lost I mean “had to hold up an ‘I can’t talk’ sign in the office for two days”. We were at Twickenham for the Premiership final that was snatched by a disputed try in the last seconds of extra time, and my son cried in my arms all the way home. (If you want to find a Saracens fan in a crowd, mention the 2014 Aviva Premiership and see who doubles over while keening.) I was there this year to see the Sarries boys lift the trophy, and a laughing Mr KJC lift up our whooping, shrieking son.

Rugby taught me that if you need to scream, you might as well do it in the middle of ten thousand other screaming people. That it’s even better if you have something to scream for. That you can take all your problems and temporarily convert them into the urgent need for the fifteen guys on the pitch to win, and purge something in the process. That if Jacques Burger can go face-first into someone’s knees to stop a try, or Billy Vunipola can casually trample a man the size and shape of a vending machine, or Kelly Browne can have a dislocated finger reset on the field and go straight back to snatching the ball from the air…well, the broken night or the bad review is something I can get through too.

There’s a particular sneer about romance readers’ escapism. Immersing yourself into the problems of two fictional people is supposedly a cop-out from reality, a way of denying problems instead of coping, and the need for a happy ending is thus kind of pathetic. Well, I read romance for some of the same reasons I support the Saracens. Because I need the scapegoat: the one who bears my worries and fears for me for a while, the one who takes it all away. The victory I can scream for, and see achieved or at least worked for, and know something’s gone right today. The massive wash of emotion for something that isn’t inside me, that takes everything over and carries some of the inside stuff away with it when it goes. The two hours of freedom. Sure, the fictional people aren’t real. Let’s be honest, the man carrying the funny-shaped ball over the line isn’t exactly key to my existence either. That’s not the point.

I was as wrong to dismiss sport for the people who love it as the book snobs are to dismiss romance, or fantasy, or whatever. And if, as an author, I can do for a reader what the Saracens did for me—if I can take someone who sometimes needs to cry alone in the bathroom and give them, just for a couple of hours, a victory—I’ll have done my job.

Rugby season is starting so follow @kj_charles on Twitter at your peril.

~KJ Charles


Title: A Fashionable Indulgence
Author: KJ Charles
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: 08/11/2015
Genre: Regency


In the first novel of an explosive new series from K. J. Charles, a young gentleman and his elegant mentor fight for love in a world of wealth, power, and manipulation.

When he learns that he could be the heir to an unexpected fortune, Harry Vane rejects his past as a Radical fighting for government reform and sets about wooing his lovely cousin. But his heart is captured instead by the most beautiful, chic man he’s ever met: the dandy tasked with instructing him in the manners and style of the ton. Harry’s new station demands conformity–and yet the one thing he desires is a taste of the wrong pair of lips.

After witnessing firsthand the horrors of Waterloo, Julius Norreys sought refuge behind the luxurious facade of the upper crust. Now he concerns himself exclusively with the cut of his coat and the quality of his boots. And yet his protégé is so unblemished by cynicism that he inspires the first flare of genuine desire Julius has felt in years. He cannot protect Harry from the worst excesses of society. But together they can withstand the high price of passion.


A Fashionable Indulgence on Goodreads
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About KJ Charles


Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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8 thoughts on “This Sporting Life ~ Outside the Margins with KJ Charles

  1. I’m not much of a sports fan, but my husband got tix to two World Series baseball games one year from a job. And our local team kicked it in both games. I have to say it was a rather transcendent experience.

    Thanks for another great post. And I recently read A Fashionable Indulgence and loved it!

  2. Thank you for this. Thank you thank you thank you. This is so important. As a lifelong sports fan and erstwhile sports blogger, this is everything — the reasons why the narrative and joy and catharsis of watching a bunch of people chasing a ball around a pitch is as powerful as it is.

    I stumbled across your novels last Christmas, during a pretty terrible point in my life, I’ll be honest. And I could not be more grateful. Your stories/characters made me laugh and cry and feel as defeated and victorious as I have thanks to my godsbedamned sports teams.

    (Really looking forward to reading A Fashionable Indulgence next!)

    • Thank you! I didn’t know of many people would connect, I’m glad you did. And I’m absolutely delighted my books were there for you when you needed them. Paying it forward. 🙂

  3. It’s horrifying that an author who brings so much joy to the world should ever be miserable. Why is life so unfair? I hope things are much better for both you and your husband these days

  4. Life long sports fan. Being Welsh I love rugby so much my first novel was about a rugby player. I’m also a footie fan supporting Cardiff City and Leeds United. I’ve suffered a lot of pain for my teams but I love it.

  5. Thanks for writing this. I’m a rugby player, myself, and love, Love, LOVE to be on the pitch. I’m a miserably bad WATCHER of sport of any kind, unless I love one of the players, even rugby. Your explanation of why you weren’t a fan is dead on for mine. All that said, I love fantasy and escape literature, tv, movies, and games. You made it make sense. I think if I take the time to get to know my Eagles roster a bit, I’d enjoy watching them play. Thanks!

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