Connect with Jeff Adams on Twitter @hockeyguynyc or visit his website: http://hattricknovel.com.
Q&A with Author Jeff Adams:
- If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be? Why? And what would you do that day?
I would like to be Simon on a game day. While I play hockey, I don’t play anywhere close to the level that Simon does. He’s good… eligible for college scholarship good. It would be thrilling to be in his skates for a day and be able to play with the skill and confidence that he does. Hat Trick has several looks at how game days are for him, including his ritual to sit at the top of the stands pre-game to center himself as well as the get togethers the team has after games. He’s part of a team that, for the most part, plays very well and has a great time doing it. It would be a blast to be him on a day like that.
- What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?
Writing Simon and Alex getting to know each other in the context of boyfriends, figuring out what their first dates was a lot of fun. The two sequences I like the best are the date that Alex plans as their first big “mega date” and they travel to Pittsburgh to go to a Penguins game and go out dancing. The other one is Christmas morning, which they spend together. It’s a sweet moment and you get a good glimpse at how much these two love each other. The scenes of conflict, however, were difficult. Conflict in a story is, of course, important to maintaining the drama, but causing trouble in the lives of the characters I like a lot is rarely among my favorite things. The conflict that goes on between Simon and members of his family was tough. I was lucky to have wonderful, accepting family. Of course, many teens who come out do not and that’s the case for Simon. It took a lot of revision to get this conflict to where my trusted beta readers felt like it was realistic without going over the top or holding too much back.
- What other interests do you have outside of writing?
As I mentioned earlier, I do play hockey. I’m on two teams that are part of the New York City Gay Hockey Association and I usually play a game or two a week. There are parts of Hat Trick that were actually written at the rink when I was on a break between games. I’ve also become a biker in the past few years. I’m on my bicycle most days for the commute to work, but also running errands and getting out on weekends for 50 or 60 miles because it’s a great way to be active, but also to get away from the keyboard to ponder plot points for a few hours. Since I live in NYC, I get out and indulge my love of theater often. Case in point: to celebrate the release of Hat Trick, my husband and I went to see Pippin, which was on our to-see list for a few months. I’m a sucker for a musical (I think it’d be awesome if someone figured out how to make Hat Trick into a musical), but I’m also happy to sit down for a good drama or comedy too. It’s probably not a surprise that I also read as much as I can, which is not nearly as much as I want. Writing time and reading time are often at odds with each other. I tend to read more in the winter because I’m riding the subway more because it’s too cold to be out on my bike.
- Are there any LGBT charities or resources that are near and dear to you that you would like to give a shout out to?
The You Can Play Project (youcanplayproject.org) came into existence while I was writing Hat Trick. Its mission is three fold: 1) Dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. 2) Works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success. 3) Seeks to challenge the culture of locker rooms and spectator areas by focusing only on an athlete’s skills, work ethic and competitive spirit. While I was writing the book, I made the coaches that Simon and Alex deal with adhere to this principal and it was great to see that idea validated by YCP when it came on the scene in March 2012. In an effort to support YCP’s mission, I’m donating one dollar from each copy of Hat Trick sold to the organization. I also support Cycle for the Cause (cycleforthecause.org). This three day, 285 mile bike ride from Boston to New York City supports the HIV/AIDS services offered by The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in NYC. In the four years I’ve participated, I’ve raised over $15,000 for the cause to help the Center provide crucial services for both HIV/AIDS prevention (with several programs for young people to be educated about the risks) and support for those living with the disease.
- What would you like young readers to take away from your novels?
There are three things that I hope come through. First, when you find your mister or ms right, go for it. Be true to yourself and do what seems right to you. Second, never underestimate the strength and support you can draw from friends. True friends will always be there for you. Third, sexual orientation in no way impacts your ability to participate in sports. If you want to be an athlete, practice your sport and get out there and do it.
Now Available from Queerteen Press:
Hat Trick Simon Roberts’ plan for his senior year is simple -- help his high school hockey team win the state championship and earn a college scholarship so he can get away from his dysfunctional family, especially his belligerent father and obnoxious older brother. When the Central High Falcons open their season with an away game, Simon is forced to deal with the problem he’s struggled with for months -- his crush on teammate Alex Miller. After the game that night, Alex makes an unexpected announcement -- he’s gay, and in love with Simon. Simon’s elated but scared to openly acknowledge that he’s gay, especially with so much at stake in their senior year. Now that they’re out to each other they have to decide what to do next. Should they date? Should they keep things between them secret? What about the team? Can Simon and Alex hide that they’re more than friends from the guys they spend so much time with? Then a simple kiss is witnessed and their secret is out. The team fractures, and Simon’s family explodes as news about the gay hockey players quickly spreads. The guys must figure out how to move forward with everyone watching. Being the center of attention was in no way part of Simon’s plan for the year. Can Simon juggle school, commitments to the team, his new relationship, and an unexpected tragedy all before the end of the hockey season? .