Writing a hinky sports novel is a bit like Will Farrell making another ESPN-based movie. Nobody expects it to make much sense, but you know you’ll get a couple of laughs, see some boobies, watch some guys do stupid things in their undershorts, maybe experience an unexpectedly touching moment.
I never write anything unless I can find a way to make it ridiculously hard for myself. Then I work especially hard to make it easy to read. For The Hinky Genie Lamp, I did three hard things: I wrote a book that I’d already published the sequel to; I drew together threads from three previous volumes in the series; and I was determined, determined to depict roller derby with the dignity and the glory it deserves without in any way pretending that it’s not about hot chicks on skates knocking each other down. Nobody cares about the gray hairs I get from trying to write my way out of a corner I’ve painted myself into, so I’ll skip the whinge about the first two challenges.
But roller derby…roller derby is a wonderful thing. Writing about roller derby was heaven. It is possible for two people to watch a derby bout and get two wildly differing thrills out of it:
the girl: feel exhilaration, female empowerment, a sizzling desire to emulate the explosive athleticism of women of all sizes, shapes, and ages, feel fast, sexy, strong, violent, concentrate fiercely, match eyeball-to-eyeball powers of intimidation with skill, teamwork, resilience, courage, and pure joy
the guy: watch hot chicks on skates knocking each other down
I could talk about roller derby for hours, but I’ll warn you about only a few of the major side effects.
If you are a woman, you will want this. You will lie awake choosing your derby name before you have even tried on a pair of skates. You will be proud of your bruises. You will love being stinky. You will consider getting a tattoo. You will derby hit on every woman you meet, including total strangers (“it’s fun!”). You will stop worrying about the size of your ass forever.
If you are a guy, you will now be referred to by your girl’s derby surname. (This is how my husband became “Mr. Hottie,” as I was “Flash Hottie.” He mentions this often, although he pretends he’s being ironic.) You will worry about your girl’s safety. You will meet women who can drink more than you. You will end up buying skates and becoming a referee just so you can see more of her. You, also, will lie awake making up a derby name, because a ref gets one, too.
In The Hinky Genie Lamp, I made a point to include guys with no right pants on, plenty of sex-demon sex, /m/a/g/i/c/a/l/ hinky doings in my beloved hometown Chicago, and a bit of heartache and romance. Dip your toe in if you dare. And put your chiropractor on danger money.