I’m super excited to welcome Kelly Farmer on Queer Books Unbound. She’s here to talk about her debut Out on the Ice, a F/F hockey romance! Please give her a warm welcome.
Don’t miss this tender and funny contemporary romance from debut author Kelly Farmer.
Caro Cassidy used to be a legend.
During her career, Caro was one of the best defense players in women’s hockey. These days, she keeps to herself. Her all-girls hockey camp is her life, and she hopes it’ll be her legacy. Sure, her new summer hire is charming and magnetic, but Caro keeps her work and personal life strictly separate.
Amy Schwarzbach lives life out loud.
Amy’s as bright and cheerful as her lavender hair, and she uses her high-profile position in women’s hockey to advocate for the things she believes in. Ten weeks in Chicago coaching a girls’ training camp is the perfect opportunity to mentor the next generation before she goes back to Boston.
Letting love in means putting yourself out there.
When the reticent head coach offers to help Amy get in shape for next season, her starstruck crush on Caro quickly blossoms into real chemistry. As summer comes to an end, neither of them can quite let go of this fling—but Amy can’t afford a distraction, and Caro can’t risk her relationship becoming public and jeopardizing the one thing that’s really hers.
Once upon a time, romance writers were told to never write about professional athletes. Fast forward to now, with heroes lining our bookshelves in the uniforms of every sport imaginable. It’s almost hard to remember when there weren’t hockey players and football stars and baseball sluggers gracing romance covers. But what about female athletes? There are strong, athletic women who deserve to be in the spotlight, too. In fact, female hockey players inspired my debut novel, Out on the Ice.
It was late at night in early 2018. I sat watching Team USA and Team Canada battle in the women’s ice hockey Olympic gold medal game. Years before, I had written a couple of hockey-themed books (back when that was a no-no). It sounds silly, but I get very invested in these gold medal games since writing a goalie heroine. I cried when the U.S. Women’s National Team won the shootout. It reminded me how much I loved that world.
Stories came out around that time of adorable romances that had blossomed between on-ice rivals. The former team captains for Canada and the U.S. had just had a baby. Several couples had met while coaching at hockey camps. The plot bunnies started to hop around my brain, and the “What if…” game began. That’s my favorite part of writing—the early stages when ideas start to form.
One of the driving forces was pretty simple: there just aren’t a lot of female athletes in romance. And on top of that, very few female/female sports romances. Now, I’ve never been one to follow convention. My heart pounded at the thought of bringing this story to life. This was a part of the queer community that deserved to be represented.
Friends, it was fun creating this female-centric world. Caro came to mind as the strong but quiet sort of leader. I wanted her to run an all-girls hockey school, so decided she was retired from competition. Her perfect partner had to be someone who came into her life to shake things up. Outspoken Amy bounded onto the scene to coach at Caro’s summer camp. It was important to highlight her being a professional athlete in the National Women’s Hockey League. Most people don’t know about the difficulties pro women face: lack of livable wage, subpar practice facilities and ice arenas, playing more for love of the game than anything else. They work day jobs—sometimes multiple jobs—and have to fit practices and games and travel into their personal schedules and budget. No million-dollar contracts and very little media exposure.
I think a large part of this book being my first sale is my passion for the subject coming through. Love is love, and love between two strong women deserves positive representation. Amy and Caro support each other personally and professionally. They understand the pressures and lifestyle and mental strength it takes to pursue a life in sports. A love story where everyone wins! That’s a victory worth celebrating.
Kelly Farmer (she/her) has been writing romance novels since junior high. In those days, they featured high school quarterbacks named Brad who drove Corvettes and gals with names like Desireé because her own name was rather plain. Her stories since then have ranged from historical and contemporary male/female romances to light women’s fiction to LGBTQ+ romance. One theme remains the same: everyone deserves to have a happy ending.
Kelly was a 2015 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Finalist in the Contemporary Romance category. She is past president of the Chicago-North Romance Writers and is also a member of Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
When not writing, she enjoys being outside in nature, quoting from 80’s movies, listening to all kinds of music, and petting every dog she comes in contact with. All of these show up in her books. She also watches a lot of documentaries to satisfy her hunger for random bits of trivia. Kelly lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she swears every winter is her last one there.
To connect with Kelly, talk about Schitt’s Creek and RuPaul’s Drag Race, and share photos of your adorable pets, please head over to: