Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Guest Post: The Inspiration behind EYE ON THE BALL by Francine Beaton #WritersLife

The inspiration behind the title Eye on the Ball 

by Francine Beaton 

When I first started writing this book, it was supposed to be a sports romance with a Christmassy theme called Under the Mistletoe. I still don’t know where that idea came from, because when I first got that creative light-bulb moment, it had nothing to do with Christmas. I wrote that first scene, which is still the first scene in the book—and has nothing to do with Christmas—when the scene popped up in my head while watching a rugby match on television. I immediately typed it up, but I didn’t have much to go on apart from the scene and the names of the two characters, Jakes and Ange. The next few days it became clear that I needed to tell Jakes’ story, but I had no idea where the story was going. I didn’t plan his story originally. He was only a number in the team although I knew his initials, surname, and position and how he looked.

A few days after I’ve written that scene, the rugby world was shocked by the passing away of the Wallaby Dan Vickerman. I’ve read many articles and watched panel discussions in which Dan’s death was discussed. One of those panel discussions happened on a New Zealand show, dealing specifically about the struggles of professional sportsmen and women. One panellist used the phrase that it was not uncommon for men in a macho environment not to talk about their emotions and fears as they don’t want to appear weak. It caught my attention and it stuck.

I’ve done minimal research on the book beforehand, apart from the reasons why men in macho environments might fear that they were weak—or any man for that matter. The following morning I woke up at four and started writing. It was amazing. It just flowed and somehow the new title and the storyline unfolded. The rest of the research I had to do along the way. I finished the first draft a week and 130000 words later.

After writing Eye on the Ball, I realized that this was not going to be the typical sports romance I envisioned when I planned the series. Jakes was the catalyst, I guess. Although Jakes had the looks, the physicality, macho male image, the intelligence and other attributes to make him an alpha male, Jakes wanted to highlight important issues that had nothing to do with his looks. I had no choice other than to comply.

The phrase to keep your eye on the ball, originates from baseball, implying that a player needs to watch where the ball is at all times. It’s about being attentive and keeping their focus on what’s important. In rugby, it’s the same. If you don’t keep your eye on the ball, you may knock it forward, which would result in losing the ball and the advantage to the opposition. No player and no team wants that.

Eye on the Ball is about a man who struggles to keep his focus on what he felt was important—his teammates, his team and their end goal.


About Francine Beaton

FRANCINE BEATON is a romance writer who lives in South Africa with her Scottish husband and teenage daughter. When she’s not reading or writing about love and Happily Ever After, she’s most likely busy painting or taking photos of everything that catches her eye. During rugby season, you’ll either find her next to the pitch or in front of the television, following her favorite teams. It’s probably not difficult to figure out why her debut novel, Eye on the Ball, as well as the series, Playing for Glory, has rugby as a theme.
Whenever she gets the opportunity, she loves traveling to faraway places and considers Scotland her second home. Eye on the Ball will be released in March 2018 and will be followed by Making the Right Call, the first book in the Prequel Series Kick-Off.

Francine is a member of the Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa (ROSA).
Click on image for more information