Writing guidelines suggest that you should have a villain to counter your hero's moves in every novel. For me, that's always been difficult because I don't see characters in black and white terms. In fact, there's nothing I like more than flipping a "bad guy." For example, when we meet Cynthia and Robert, Josie's siblings, in The Tao of Hockey, they're both extremely rude to Eric. Robert threatens him with a lawsuit and Cynthia doubts Josie would even date him. But as Tao unfolds, it becomes clear that they're only trying to protect Josie—she's the youngest and they have no mother and a harsh father. And when Cynthia pops up again in An Irresistible Force, we learn that under her sophisticated and bossy veneer, she's as full of insecurity and doubt as any normal person.
But as a reader, I do like to see justice: bad things happening to bad people. Laura, the captain of the hockey team in Hockey Is My Boyfriend, Part One, bullies teammates then sees her scheme completely backfire when she sends Kelly to humiliate herself with Nicklas—and he ends up asking her out. Maybe Riley, the creepy stalker in HIMB, Part Two, doesn't suffer enough, but in my imagination, Jimmy went on to make sure that Riley got blacklisted for any hockey work in New Brunswick. And Kelly's awful boss, Brendan Williams, from HIMB, Part Three does get fired in an alternate universe.
Readers of The Tao of Hockey may be wondering where is the justice is for Coach Bob Pankowski and Daniel Ramsey? Daniel is the captain of the team and supposedly a leader. But he tries to sabotage Eric's tryout in every possible way, because Eric is competition. Coach Panner is an old-fashioned screamer whose management style was possibly modelled on a failed Vancouver Canucks coach. The only time he seems happy is when he's cutting Eric from the team. And we see both these characters again in An Irresistible Force. Daniel is in full suck-up mode with Chris. Coach Panner resists the efforts of Amanda and Chris to improve the team. Yet neither one has suffered any comeuppance...yet!
Well, in Second Round you'll find out exactly what happens to Coach Panner. And perhaps even end up feeling sorry for him, once you know his history. Coach Panner plays an important role in this book because it's all about coaching and the arrival of a new coach to the team. This new coach is pretty much the polar opposite of Coach Panner—young, innovative, educated, and hot. Not that hot is an important quality for a good hockey coach, but it certainly helps the hero of a hockey romance.
Second Round will be released one month from today! You can preorder it here.