Chemistry is weird. So is partnership.
When I was in Revolutionary Road, people on the crew kept asking me and my dance partner on that film how long we had been together. “You guys just look so in love.” We had met that afternoon, didn’t really have much to say to each other, and I’m pretty sure he would later get it on with one of the other women in the cast. But we loved performing love with each other. The cameras would roll and it was just this really exciting feedback loop of being willing to be in an honest, performative moment with each other. It was addictive and cool and hilarious. And no matter how many times we told people we had just met and weren’t vibing outside of scenes, no one believed us. So we took it as a hilarious compliment, giggled and pressed our heads together, and kept doing it until our work was done. It wasn’t puzzling to us. Just lovely.
In part because we’d had these experiences before. Years before, when I studied acting at NIDA in Sydney, we were working on the Scottish play, and my Macbeth and I, his Lady, just liked to sit close. Something about the characters made us feel like the other was safe when no one else was. But we weren’t into each other — I’m pretty sure he had a gf and I know I was nursing two incredibly complicated situations at the time. I remember feeling mortified more than once when we lost our lines because staring into each other’s eyes was just so much fun.
It’s is no secret whatsoever that After the Gold, our ice skating romance out on June 12, happened because Erin and I couldn’t stop talking about Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. For those not in the know, they’re the Canadian ice dancing pair that did that super sexy routine to Moulin Rouge and everyone is super sure must be dating each other. Except, of course, they keep saying they’re not. But how can that be?
Let me tell you, I and various near strangers I have worked with as a performer can tell you exactly how that can be. Or at least, that it can be. That doesn’t mean I know how to explain it. The closest I can get, really, other than the stories above, is a line in our Love in Los Angeles series, where Alex and Liam, both actors, are talking about their weird, intimate, and unsettling friendship. It’s okay, one of them says, the guy in my head is still in love with the guy in your head.
I’ve got no idea what Virtue and Moir’s deal is. But I absolutely believe them when they say they’re not in a romantic relationship off the ice. I’m just super glad we get to watch their performance of a romantic relationship on the ice, and that they are still willing to talk publicly about the nature of creative collaboration at all.
Because, damn, nothing turns our crank harder around here. Collaboration, public/private tension, city mouse/country mouse, and anxiety/depression are all places our stories like to live whether were writing about TV stars, film actors, royalty, or competitive athletes. That those stores are (also) romances isn’t about simplifying them (seriously, stop saying wack things about the romance genre) so much as choosing a joyful common language through which to talk about the incredibly strange experience of uniting for a shared purpose.
While you’ll recognize our love of figure skaters and ice dancers like Virtue and Moir (and Torvill and Dean, and Oksana Baiul, and Gordeeva and Grinkov, and many many more… I’m going of the top of my head here) in After the Gold, you will, we hope, mostly recognize our characters as what they really are — their own people with their own unique challenges of living public lives that only reflect a small portion of a private story.
For over a decade, world-champion ice skaters Katie Nowaki and Brendan Reid have been partners in every way but one. But now that their electric on-ice chemistry has led them to Olympic gold, they’re retiring from competition.
As they cross America on an exhibition tour with their fellow athletes, Katie and Brendan’s always volatile relationship becomes more turbulent than ever as they face down the media, their fans, and their increasingly nosy teammates.
When Katie realizes she wants to go back to the farm she grew up on, leaving Brendan behind in the city where they trained, their fairy tale seems destined to end.
But will Brendan be able to convince her to trust him with the off-ice intimacy that only spelled disaster in their past?
(Also, P.S., this was originally going to be an ebook only release, but we’ve just decided to bring it out in paperback too!)