Off The Ice by Julie Cross

The NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Whatever Life Throws at You kicks off a brand-new series perfect for fans of Miranda Kennealy and Abbi Glines.
All is fair in love and hockey…
Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.
Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.
It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.
For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

1.  What inspired your book Off The Ice?
The idea of writing a sports themed series with a Friday Night Lights, small-town drama is what initially drew me to the idea. Especially the way lives are tangled together in a small town, the present day folks still living through the past town heroes and not being able to escape anyone or anything because of the closeness.

2.  Are you a fan of hockey?  Who is your favorite team?
I wouldn’t say that I follow hockey closely but I’ve always enjoyed ice skating and being at the rink. I have been to one professional hockey game--The St. Louis Blues--and it was amazing. After years of watching only amature and youth hockey players skate during open times at the local rink, I was mesmerized by the sound the Blues’ players skates made, so sharp and precise.

3.  How many books will be in the Juniper Fall's series?
Right now there are three planned but I do have ideas for more.

4.  Who was your favorite character to write and why?
Tate and Claire are equally my favorite characters to write because the story is told from both of their perspectives I can’t possibly choose between the two.

5.  Do you read all your reviews, good and bad, do you respond?

I read all reviews available for any of my books, there is so much to be learned from reviews that egos, pride, or fear should never stand in the way of this author rite of passage. But no, I don’t respond directly to a reviewer. Reviews are sacred grounds for readers to speak, not authors.