The Inspiration Behind the Hat Trick Series
Thanks, Elisa, for letting me visit today. It's always great to be on your blog. As Elisa and I talked about me dropping in here, she asked me to talk about the inspiration behind the Hat Trick books, the original as well as the just released Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound. Please leave comments if you have any questions. I'll stop by throughout the day and respond. Also, I'm happy to give away an ebook copy of Hat Trick 2 to some lucky commenter.
There are a lot of sources that play into the stories I'm telling.
The original core love story between Simon and Alex in book one came from a trio of guys I got to know at hockey practice. The session was super early Saturday morning and was made up of a diverse group in terms of age and skill level. This trio was just out of high school and were clearly tight with each other. They practiced and played together as much as they could. While there was good natured ribbing, there was no doubt they had each other's backs, too.
As I got to know them and watch them interact with each other, I wondered what would happen to that dynamic if one of them came out as gay. Or, even more, how the third would react if the other two ended up dating each other. The train of thought continued as I considered how they team they played on might react to teammates in a relationship.
Thus was born Simon and Alex as well as their two best friends, Jackson and Leo. Yes, three guys provided the inspiration behind four.
While the first Hat Trick book was a young adult story about what happened to Simon and Alex when they were outed to their high school hockey team, Hat Trick Overtime: A Classic Winter's Night is basically a short story sequel showing the guys on a magical date. It's inspiration was simple. I wanted to put the guys in the middle of the 2014 NHL Winter Classic and since University of Michigan hockey was part of that, it was easy to send them into the action since they would be U.M. freshmen.
Some of the inspiration behind the new book, Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound, is more important and personal to me. With the action shifting to Simon and Alex in their sophomore year at U.M., the guys are starting to figure out their future.
For Simon, I changed his major form political science to social work. I have a huge respect for those who undertake social work as a career. I've become friends with several through volunteer work I've done for organizations that work with LGBT homeless youth as well as at-risk youth. Hearing the stories of how social workers took up the role, provided the imputus for Simon to do the same.
Given everything that Simon goes through in the first Hat Trick, it's was a natural for him to make the decision to pursue a major where he could make a difference in the lives of other young people. Simon starts down a path in Playing the Rebound that's one I've thought about doing for myself, though I'm not sure how I'd fair with going back to school, which is what it would take. I'm certainly writing for Simon something I wished I'd learned more about when I was young and in college.
It's my hope that readers find their own inspiration within the pages of the Hat Trick stories. It could be anything from seeing the power of friendship and making sure you're a good friend, deciding to come out and live your truth, being an ally or being of service to help those who need it.
Here's a brief excerpt from Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound, which is just out from JMS Books. This shows a preview of what Simon is up to as he starts working with teens at a local LGBT community center.
“How can you say it will be okay? So much happened to you and your friends. If my son stays quiet, he’ll stay safe.”
My advisor Trevor Heartly and I were in a session listening to a mother and her fourteen-year-old son at the community center. Trevor’s office was the best place for a discussion like this since it provided an atmosphere of comfort that put visitors at ease. The soft lighting and more casual décor made the space less institutional than the other counselor offices. The vibe was relaxing, almost cozy.
I hadn’t participated in a session like this before, but I knew Jakob from youth group and he asked if I could sit in the discussion since he and his mom knew my story. Jakob’s mom also participated in the parent’s group that the center offered. This was their third joint meeting with Trevor to discuss Jakob’s desire to come out at school.
“Mrs. Martin, what happened to Alex and me is an extraordinary circumstance and it was more centered around my family than students at the school. There are others who came out after we did and nothing adverse happened to them. I understand you want Jakob to be safe, but if he’s ready to take the next step it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s out there anyway.”
“I don’t know.”
“Mom, this is important,” Jakob finally spoke up after being quiet the whole time.
“I know, Jakey. I know.”
“Are there others out at the school, Jakob?” Trevor asked.
“Not that I know of, but since I’m a freshman I don’t know a ton about the upperclassmen.”
Trevor looked to me. “We’ve never done a program there so we don’t know much about the student body’s makeup.”
“Could you come speak?” Jakob asked me, clearly excited by the thought he’d just had. “That would be mad cool.”
“Honey, I’m sure this young man has things to do besides speaking at your school.”
I shot Trevor a quizzical look. This hadn’t come up before, so I had no clue how to respond.
“Simon’s not certified for the speaker program,” Trevor said, causing Jakob’s smile to fade. “But if he’s interested, we can get him trained.”
“Would you?” Jakob sounded like a kid sitting on Santa’s lap, asking for a special gift.
There was no way I could say no to that. “Let me get the details and I’ll see what I can do.”
“In the meantime, we can start to arrange for a visit to the school,” Trevor spoke up before Jakob could say more. “Even if Simon doesn’t do it, there are other speakers who can. You two should decide if you want to approach the school about hosting. We can approach them and say we’ve had a request, which we’d keep anonymous, or you can ask for it yourselves. I’d recommend you asking for it from the principal, that way you’d also start the process of being out with someone there.”
“Let us think about that,” Mrs. Martin said.
“Okay. We’ll be ready to help anyway we can,” Trevor said.
“Thank you,” Mrs. Martin said as she gave Trevor a quick hug. “Thank you both.”
“You’re welcome, Mrs. Martin,” Trevor said while I nodded
“Thanks for coming along for this, Mr. Roberts,” Jakob said.
“Please, call me Simon. And you’re welcome.”
From group, I knew Jakob ran track and was a Wolverines hockey fan. It was no surprise his method of saying goodbye was a fist bump. He raised his and I bumped it with mine.
“I’ll see you play this weekend, Dad’s taking me Saturday.”
“Excellent. We’ll do our best to give you a win.”
Mrs. Martin scooted Jakob towards the door. “Come on, we’ve got to go pick up your sister from dance class.”
Jakob waved at us as he left the room.
“She’s really scared for him,” I said.
“Not surprising though, considering the recent attacks on campus and stories about kids getting bullied and committing suicide. I’m glad, at least, that his parents are supportive.”
Giveaway: Jeff Adams is giving away a copy of Hat Trick 2 to one reader. Leave a comment below to enter. You can comment on LJ or DW if you have an account (I will send a PM to the winner), if you don't have an account, please leave a comment on DW with a contact email.
Hat Trick 2: Playing the Rebound (Hat Trick #2) by Jeff Adams
ebook, 183 pages
Published July 20th 2014 by JMS Books
edition language English
The events from two years ago are still fresh in Simon Robert’s mind as he and Alex Miller begin their sophomore year at the University of Michigan. Nightmares are a routine occurrence as Simon relives the crimes his father and brother committed. Now, with his father ill and asking to see him, Simon must decide if he should see the man who tried to send him away to be fixed. And then there’s Zach. Simon’s conflicted about making peace with his older brother who tormented him as they grew up and caused him to be outed to his parents, friends and teammates.
Alex wants Simon to find closure, but Alex is furious at the thought of forgiving Zack. With no clear direction, Simon finds guidance from an unexpected, but very welcome, source.
At the same time, the University’s student body is faced with an anti-gay attacker among them. When he witnesses an attack first hand, memories threaten to overwhelm Simon. At the same time, he’s also emboldened to take action, which might turn him into a target.
Despite the distractions, Simon works towards his future as he begins working with teens at the local LGBT community center. He has the opportunity to use his story as a teaching tool to help others come out. While he’s never enjoyed telling his story, he looks for the courage to speak his truth to an audience.
Luckily, not everything is chaos. Simon and Alex mark their anniversary in epic fashion, continue to play hockey and hang out with good friends. But with many demands on them, can Simon and Alex set up the rebound necessary to create the scoring opportunity for their future?
Hat Trick website: http://www.HatTrickNovel.com
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