Curious about how MMA and Romance go together? Ever wondered how a dog can be just as popular as a hero? This Q&A with Sidney Halston, author of AGAINST THE CAGE (Loveswept, 5/27/2014) answers all those questions and more…
1. What made you decide to write a funny MMA romance – as opposed to any other romance or one with more angst?
I don’t think it was really a decision. It just happened. I’ve tried to write stories that have more angst, but I just can’t seem to do it. I don’t know if I ever will. I love my characters, and can’t seem to torture them. In fact “the scene” in Against the Cage toward the end (I don’t want to give too much away), I wanted to prolong the scene a little and make the reader and the characters suffer just a little more, but I just couldn’t do it. I think I am naturally a little sarcastic and like to joke around and I think it comes through in my story telling. In the next two books, there will more grittiness since there are more fight scenes, but there will not be a lot of tortured- fighter –mental- anguish scenes. Plus, Chrissy is a little dizzy and that lends itself to humor. And, there seems to be a lot of dark MMA books out there, and I wanted to do something different.
2. A dog named Drogo steals the scene a few times in this story. Did you expect that to happen?
No, I did not expect it! A lot of the early reviews have been about Drogo. Readers love Drogo. I love Drogo. He will be making appearances throughout the series. I wish Jason Momoa (Drogo, from Game of Thrones) could’ve made an appearance, but he wasn’t available! Hee hee.
I thought it was cute and I think it added to the story in a way that it didn’t take away from the plot but instead helped show the character’s personalities by way of their interaction with the dog. I love the entire little storyline between Drogo and Chrissy and Slade and Drogo’s hate toward one another. I’m currently working on naming Drogo’s offspring. Suggestions are welcomed…
3. Which scenes are the easiest to write? And the hardest?
The interactions between Slade and Jack were the easiest to write and are actually some of my favorite scenes. I love their banter and their relationship and since the camaraderie-aspect of MMA fighters was one of my inspirations of the book, I think that is why these scenes were the easiest to write. Plus, I really like writing male dialogue. Not sure why. I like how men just tend to say what they’re thinking and are blunt about it.
Hands down, the hardest to write were the fight scenes. Against the Cage doesn’t have as many fight scenes as Full Contact, but in both books, they were difficult to write. I wanted them to be authentic. I think readers are smart, and I didn’t want to give them moves or techniques that don’t exist or work, so anything that is about the actual fighting or the sport, it is real and factual. If it is impossible to get a cut on your shoulder from a left jab, then it’s not in the book, I made sure only possible moves and injuries and terms are in the book. My husband, who does MMA and is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu helped me a lot with those scenes and even then I checked and double checked. So, I hope they come off realistic.
4. Favorite character that’s not the hero or heroine?
Maybe it’s because I just finished writing Full Contact, Slade’s story, but I love Slade. He’s the typical oblivious guy who doesn’t have a filter, and says what’s on his mind without much thought. Aside from Slade, I love Cain. Cain is a man of few words, he’s mysterious and you have no idea what he’s thinking. I think readers are going to like Travis the best, though. He’s the complete opposite of Cain. But, personally, I am partial to Cain
5. Describe the book in 5 words.