Today I am so pleased to welcome Katey Hawthorne to Joyfully Jay. Katey has come as part of Opposites Attract Week to talk to us about geek/jock pairings in some of her books (and she has donated several to our big event giveaway!). Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
When I heard Jay was doing an “opposites attract” week, I literally squeed. Seriously. Out loud. As a romance writer, I cut my teeth on this particular theme and come back to it again and again. There are so many variations on the theme, but my favorite has always been nerd/jock and its variant dork/popular. I can’t read enough of them and I definitely can’t write enough of them. Only so many hours in a day, amiright?
Obviously, it’s the friction that gets us when it comes to opposites, the clash of worlds. Sometimes it’s the internal “dork” world—an internet full of fandom discourse on ‘totally fuckable aliens’ (lookin’ at you, Mass Effect) and dissertations on Tolkien’s Elvish and its connection to Finnish—and the external “popular” world—meatspace full of parties and bars and football games and clubbing. We all know, however, that these two worlds aren’t actually that separate; that a dork who enjoys fuckable aliens (FOR EXAMPLE) might also be big into dancing with her friends at the club. A popular guy who throws the best parties might just have a tattoo in Elvish. People are complex and rich, far more than the stereotypes we like to shove them into for our own convenience—and that discovery makes for great fiction.
And a great love story, let’s be real. The most interesting and oftentimes functional couples, the ones who really uplift and challenge each other, are often from opposite poles. The question is always whether they can appreciate and adapt to their love interest and grow together… or whether they’ll let it rip them apart. Built in drama!
For myself, I started out with the first Superpowered Love book, Equilibrium, which is narrated by a meganerd, Hansen. He’s an econ grad student who deals with his feelings my reducing them all to theory, as in reducing romance to Nash Equilibrium… tho he wouldn’t think of it as “reduction”, obviously. His best friend, Sam, is a soccer player who does things from the gut: he wants it, he goes for it, and doesn’t get why all this analysis is necessary. Or fun. Like, at all. But due to some haywire superpowers, Sam needs that analysis of Hansen’s—and due to his repressed emotions, Hansen needs Sam’s gut, and… well, you see where this is going. It could be beautiful. Or it could explode. (Literally, in their case, since Hansen can set things on fire with his brain.)
Those two don’t meet in the middle so much as help to balance each other out—and I love to read that kind of thing… which is probably why most of the Superpowered Love books have something of it in them. Yeah, okay, Callum, the big strong superhero from In Distress has a Tolkien tattoo… but it’s not in Elvish! Still, it’s how my hero, Eddie, a slight, pretty D&D buff, recognizes a piece of himself in this seemingly diametrically opposed man.
It’s such a great starting place, the way we judge people—and the way we’re so often completely wrong. Sometimes in wonderful ways. And I think that’s what I like best about Opposites Attracting. Especially when it comes to my nerds and their jocks.
What are some of your favorites with that theme? My to-read list is forever growing, and I don’t want it to stop any time soon.
Katey Hawthorne is an avid reader and writer of superpowered and paranormal romance, even though the only degree she holds is in the history of art. (Or, possibly, because the only degree she holds is in the history of art.) Originally from the Appalachian foothills of West Virginia, she currently lives in Ohio with her family, two cats, and one very large puppy. In her spare time she enjoys travel, comic books, B-movies, loud music, video games, Epiphones, and Bushmills. Her favorite causes include animal rescue and bisexual representation in media. She is an unashamed fangirl and collects nerdy tattoos like she’s trying to prove it.
Katey has contributed three books to our big Opposites Attract Week giveaway! Stop by for your chance to win Equilibrium, Nobody’s Hero, or Riot Boy, or a host of other great prizes!
Thank you for the post, Katey. Opposites attract, together with enemies to lovers, are my favourite tropes, basically because as a general rule I fall for people I do not have anything in common, and sometimes I do not like that much at the beginning. I really enjoy the Griffin and Whyborne series by Jordan L. Hawk, which could be considered opposites attract, Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino (jocks and nerds…), or recently, a really sweet one, Hottie Scotty and Mr Porter by R. Cooper. And of course, my all time favourite and one of my comfort reads, Muscling Through by JL Merrow. It is the perfect example of a superb opposites attract story!
Oh all good ones. And I love Muscling Through! I just saw it was being re-released so I hope it gets some new attention.
And there is going to be a paperback! That makes me so happy! I’ve been wanting to get my
“real” copy for so long… 😉
I recently read ‘September’ by Robert Winter and loved the age difference aspect. I am currently reading the Ember Peak trilogy by Edie Danford. The two characters have so many differences, age, experience, personalities…but love is what holds them together. A beautiful series so far!
Thanks for the post! I will have to check Superpowered Love series, it sounds fantastic.
I also believe that stories are more interesting if the characters are opposite poles, I like to see the struggle and how they overcome their differences.
Oh yes! Love the series and Riot Boy is one of my all time favorites!