Today I am very excited to welcome Kate McMurray to Joyfully Jay! She is here to talk to us more about her new book, Out in the Field, which I reviewed here earlier today. She has also brought a copy to give away to one lucky reader, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post.

Kate, thanks so much for joining us today!
Thanks, I am happy to be here!

Congratulations on your new release, Out in the Field. For those folks who haven’t had a chance to check out the review, can you tell us a bit about the story?
It’s a romance between two baseball players, one who is at the tail end of his career and one who is just beginning. They fall for each other over the course of one baseball season and have to cope with injuries, and team drama, and, of course, keeping their relationship a secret from pretty much everyone out of fear for what could happen if they get outed. The story spans four years and looks at how these two characters change and adapt to difficult circumstances.

The book focuses on two professional baseball players who are involved in a relationship while trying to keep their sexuality a secret. It was really interesting to me to see how being famous compounded the challenges they faced as they are under such intense media scrutiny. It is a difficult balance – on one hand they have fame, fortune, and prestige, but on the other they are so controlled by these same things. Was that an interesting challenge as an author?
Yes, it was an interesting challenge! I’m fascinated by that bind: on the one hand, the characters are getting everything they ever wanted—this is especially true for Iggy, who has dreamed of playing for the Brooklyn Eagles since he was a boy—but there’s definitely a price to pay for that. Plus, I like a really juicy conflict in a novel, and this is definitely one for which there’s no easy solution.

It strikes me that professional sports seem to be one of those places where being publically gay is still an incredible stigma. Athletes seem to face the very real threat of losing their jobs, or at least damaging their reputations beyond repair. Do you have any thoughts about why this is, or whether this is changing at all?
I think things are changing, albeit very slowly. ESPN had a pretty great article on the topic at the end of last year that (to oversimplify) argues that authorities really need to make space for gay athletes because the stakes are still so high—coming out could still have a lot of negative consequences, from harassment to losing money via endorsement deals and a lot of other things. American athletes still mostly wait until retirement to come out, if they do at all. But then there are stories like this one out of Brazil, which was definitely an inspiration to me as I writing (those of you who have read the book will probably see some parallels). I think as goes the rest of the country, so will team sports, so as things like marriage equality pick up more support, we may see more out athletes over the next couple of years, though I think first we’re going to need one trailblazer. Matt and Iggy talk about this a lot in the novel, and I still think it’s true.

Reading Out in the Field, it is clear that you know a lot about baseball and the book is full of wonderful detail about the game. Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? Or is this a subject you already knew a lot about?
Some of both. I’ve been a fan for years—that was a big part of what motivated me to write the book to begin with—but I did have to do some research. Also I consumed a lot of baseball-related media while I was writing; I listened to baseball podcasts and watched a lot of games and read a few books. (Probably half of this book was written while I was sitting in my living room with a game on in the background.)

Matt and Ignacio play for the Brooklyn Eagles, a fictional team that is part of the real Major League Baseball organization. Was it difficult to blend those two elements together?
A little. Having the characters play for a fictional team gave me some room to make up some details, but I still wanted these characters to operate within the real world of Major League Baseball and I wanted the story to seem realistic. I worried a little that it would seem weird for New York City to have three teams, but it wouldn’t be the first time (prior to the late 1950s, NYC hosted the Yankees, the Dodgers, and the Giants). Also, they’ve been building the new Nets (basketball) stadium in my neighborhood, so I’ve gotten a first-hand look at what could be like to have a stadium in Brooklyn.

So do you have any other projects you are working on that you would like to tell us about?
I have a novel coming out in late summer/early fall called Four Corners about two guys who grew up together and fall for each other as adults, although there is a whole pile of stuff keeping them separated—it’s on the angsty side, but in a good way, I hope. And right now I am (finally) writing a sequel to The Boy Next Door—Neal’s story, for anyone who read that book.

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today. If readers are interested in learning out more about your or your books, how can they find you?
My website is at http://www.katemcmurray.com. (There are book trailers and excerpts and things there!) I’m also on Twitter: @katemcmwriter.

Thanks again so much again for visiting today! I’d love to have you back any time!
Thanks! This was fun!

And now Kate has generously brought a copy of Out in the Field to give away to one lucky reader.  Leave a comment below to enter.  The contest closes on Friday, May 11 at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the contest, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay and leave your email address if it is not in your profile.
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