Debra Elise on Writing and Publishing Her Sports-Themed Romance

I’m excited to host debut author Debra Elise today! Debra is a debut author who is about to release her first book, Saving Maverick, about a bad-boy pitcher and the media consultant who tries to rescue his image. Read on to find out how she got her book finished and then published by Bloomsbury USA.

How long have you wanted to be a romance writer?

This is a hard question because I’ve always loved to write. When I was in my twenties I bought a ‘how to book’ on writing romance but after reading it, I thought ‘this is really hard’ LOL. I put it away and went back to devouring my favorites…Johanna Lindsey, Nora and in recent years, Rebecca Zanetti and Kresley Cole.

When did you decide to write a book?

A little over three years ago fate stepped in and introduced me to one of my favorite authors, Rebecca Zanetti. With her encouragement I stepped into the this wonderful, crazy business.

What inspired you to write this story?

I grew up watching my brother play and my dad coach baseball. When sports romances became popular I was hooked and decided I needed to write a bad boy pitcher. I also knew I needed to write a strong heroine who could hold her own with an alpha athlete, and Kelsey Sullivan, public relations specialist was born.

Describe your process for writing this particular book.

I’m a visual person so I began with pictures for each of my main characters to focus on when writing the first draft. It was also important to me that I have a few scenes where the game was actually being played or practiced. I spent time watching games and thinking about what type of action scenes I wanted to include.

About halfway through writing the book the characters weren’t following the plot line I’d spent hours working on and in the end I wound up writing an entirely different book than what I started with. I’ve altered my writing process for subsequent books and do a bit of plotting and a lot of pantsing 😉

Was this the first book you had written?

My first book is a paranormal currently collecting dust bunnies under a desk in my office. I still love the characters, but the plot fell apart mid-way. One day I’ll go back to it.

What was the rest of your life like while writing the book?

Crazy…two boys and a husband who although very supportive, were not used to sharing mom with her laptop.  I also had to adjust what time of day I wrote. I really wanted to spring out of bed in the mornings and pour out all the ideas that were marinating as I slept, but the other members of our household really wanted breakfast. (I’ve since taught the oldest to get his own breakfast and I’m still working on hubby) Sometimes I’d wake up an hour earlier than normal, but often I would write after the kids went to school and hubby was at work and often after everyone went to bed.

Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?

One of my writer peeps, Cathryn Cade, from my local RWA chapter was a huge help with Saving Maverick. I honestly don’t believe this book would be what it is without her.

What kept you going through the process?

I just kept at it. Every day. I found out that releasing a book with a traditional publishing house is a longer process than those of my friends who were self-pubbing, and the wait can be frustrating. But writing the next book and the next is what kept me going after this book was edited and complete.

How many submissions did you send out?

I think close to ten total between publishers and editors. I also pitched the book twice in person during Nationals in 2014.  I actually received my contract offer from an online pitch in 2014. But, it took almost four months after that before I heard anything and when I did it was very surreal. It took days to sink in that I was going to be a published author!


Maverick Jansen and Kelsey Sullivan fall into a complicated game of PR strategy by day and searing passion by night where they both find a new meaning to fast and hard.


Days before the biggest game of playboy pitcher Maverick Jansen’s career, his brother is killed in a horrific car accident. Determined not to let his teammates down, Mav pushes through his grief only to lose control of his signature pitch—and the series.


Still dealing with the backlash of his once adoring fans, Maverick learns his team’s owner plans to move the ball club to small town America. During a night of hard drinking Mav rails against the move to “Hicksville” while a fan records the entire tirade. His career takes another hit when the video goes viral right before spring training.

Kelsey Sullivan, Media Consultant, is hired by the team’s owner and her childhood friend, Thomas Scott, to help restore Maverick’s image and find a way to get his mojo back. As the daughter of a former minor league ball player who walked away from her and her unstable mother, Kelsey breaks her main client rule—no male athletes—to help her friend and gain a coveted position with the ball club.


Persuaded to pretend they’re a couple against her better judgment, Kelsey and Maverick begin dating as a last ditch effort to secure his place on the team, fix his public image and prove to an unstable groupie who’s begun posting doctored photos on the internet that he’s taken.

In order to convince Kelsey what they have is more than just soul-shattering sex, Maverick digs deep, overcoming his commitment phobia and unexpected news to prove to Kelsey love can save them both. Can Kelsey bury her long-held belief that a bad boy baseball player isn’t the happily-ever-after type so they both can make the Show.


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Debra Elise lives with her husband and their two sons in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves to read, nap, write, and watches entirely too much reality T.V. She also enjoys hanging out with other author-type individuals and teasing her three ‘boys’ into displaying their killer smiles. Most days find her carpooling, avoiding laundry and daydreaming about her characters and how to make them come alive for her readers.

You can find her on the following sites:





INSTAGRAM: DebraEliseAuthor


7 thoughts on “Debra Elise on Writing and Publishing Her Sports-Themed Romance

  1. Every once in a while a writer gets to read a debut that sends chills down the spine and brings the thought, ‘Yes. This!’ This book did that for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Debra Elise on Writing and Publishing Her Sports-Themed Romance -

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