Welcome to the Tigers on the Run release party with Sean Kennedy

July 13, 2015

Sorry I am a little late to my own shindig, but I am full of ineptitude when it comes to WordPress.


Hello, and welcome!


As you may have guessed, I am Sean Kennedy and today “Tigers on the Run”, the third book in the Tigers and Devils series, is released!


I’m not exactly sure how to start, but I thought I would talk a little bit about the state of out players in Australian football.


Um, there’s none.


There never have been.  There have been rumours, but they always turned out unfounded.


The first Tigers and Devils book was released in 2009.  And although I never thought people would really read it back then (or would still be reading it now) I do believe I thought there might have been a real Declan Tyler by now.


But no.  Nada.  Zip.


What about rugby league?


Okay, there has been one (yes, 1) player to come out as gay, and that was Ian Roberts back in 1995.  Twenty years ago.


Twen – ty.


No one since.


You would think that maybe when one person did it, it might make it easier for the next.  But nobody ever took up the mantle after Ian Roberts.


But other sports have seen gay people out and proud.  Matthew Mitcham is our Olympic gold-winning medallist.  Casey Dellacqua in tennis.  And of course, Ian Thorpe just recently came out.


But still no-one in the AFL.  Is it because it is the last bastion of extreme Australian masculine sport?  I don’t know if I have an answer for it.  I don’t think anybody does, really.


But I have to wonder, in another six years, if we’ll still be asking this question.


But, I digress.  Any questions about the book, new or old?

30 Responses to “Welcome to the Tigers on the Run release party with Sean Kennedy”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Hi Sean. :) YAY on Tigers on the Run being out (happy not to have had to wait until September)! To this post, though, that’s depressing news on the state of out sports figures there. When I was reading Tigerland again, not too many hours ago, I was also thinking about how sad that it was published in 2012 with Simon was lamenting about the state of marriage equality and things haven’t moved forward on that front. I so wish that could have changed for Australia the way it has for so many other countries.

    As for TotR, I’m waiting for my paperback to arrive before I dig in, but I did peek at the Coin Toss in my ebook version and saw you went back in time. I don’t know if that carries through the rest of the book, but in that bit, was it as fun to visit that before time as it was to read?

  2. kennsea says:

    Thanks, Carolyn! About marriage equality here – yes, it’s very depressing and I don’t think it’s going to improve any time soon what with the current leader we have and the possibility he will get a second term.

    The Coin Toss is the only flashback, but it’s setting up something down the road. What? You’ll have to read and find out ;)

    It was fun to write because it involved a character who really only does cameos now, and I loved revisiting her. Although it’s true that our friends can move elsewhere and not be in our lives as much, sometimes when you write it is tempting to disregard reality and keep everyone together.

    Hopefully this won’t be the last of that character, though ;)

  3. Danielle C. says:

    What was your inspiration for the new book?

  4. Paul says:

    Are any of the characters in the series inspired by real life friends of yours ?

  5. Denise dechene says:

    Are the characters base in people you know or are they. Product I your muse? Also which character is most like you and why?

  6. kennsea says:

    Hi, Danielle!

    I guess the main inspiration for the book came from thinking about the state of out players. In my world, I hoped Dec wouldn’t be the only one by now, so the character of Micah Johnson popped into my head. But Micah couldn’t be as laid-back and thoughtful as Dec was – he had to be more troubled. So Micah is a live wire full of teenage angst that Dec has to help, and Simon get dragged into as well.

    It was important to also make the distinction that if Micah is successful in the draft he would be the first AFL player that was out from the start of his career – so he would find things different to Dec. Dec’s paved the way, but Micah also has some big shoes to fill.

    It might also be the set up for some big changes to come for our main twosome.

  7. Allison says:

    I was wondering why you made Simon run a film festival? It’s such an interesting job but nothing I’d ever thought about before reading T&D.

    As for there not being many out sports stars it is upsetting but not surprising. Michael Sam has not had it easy here in the states and I’m sure that’s not giving others much incentive to come out.

  8. kennsea says:

    Hi, Paul!

    My family always say that there is a lot of me in Simon, but I think that just happened that way because it was the first book I wrote and also in first person narrative. But there are little bits and pieces of friends and family in all of the characters. There is also a bit of me in Roger, who seems to be off in his own world sometimes before being brought back with a thud.

    However, Fran is named after one of my friends who I was really missing at the time of writing TaD because she was living in England. There are parts of my Fran in her, as well as my other bestie S. because they tend to centre people although S. is a lot more crazy than both Frans.

  9. kennsea says:

    Hi, Denise!

    I would say Simon is probably the most like me. That’s what everybody who knows me seems to think, anyway. My sister said the other day that Simon was more positive than me, however. So maybe I am Simon crossed with Eeyore?

  10. Carolyn says:

    “You’ll have to read and find out.” No fair being all tantalizing when I’m trying to wait! ;) I got the notice on Wednesday that it’d shipped, so I’m really, really hoping it arrives in today’s post.

    If I’m not able to stick around for more chatting, thank you thank you for the marvelous stories you tell and the wonderful relationships you explore and the way in which you explore them. You and your books are fabulous! :)

  11. kennsea says:

    Hi, Allison!

    I wanted Simon to be doing something art wanker-y, but more on the administrative rather than the creative side because I thought it would be straying a bit too much into the trope-y fashions if one was a jock and one was a tortured artiste. Simon had hopes of being a tortured artiste, but life and a mortgage got in the way when a volunteer position led to a part time job and then the opportunity to take on only one of two paid positions with the festival.

    The whole Michael Sam thing is pretty upsetting because you don’t know how much of it is hidden homophobia. Robbie Rogers is doing well, though, but maybe the culture of soccer is a little more progressive?

  12. kennsea says:

    Thanks, Carolyn! I hope your book arrives soon ;) Believe me, I am overwhelmed when people like the books and are enthusiastic about them because when I was first writing Tigers and Devils in a bubble I never thought people around the world would take to their uber Australian-ness!

  13. Allison says:

    I think that is much more realistic anyhow, making a living doesn’t allow for many tortured artists.

    Yes, American football is … not a welcoming place. Considering how many of the players come from the Southern states and colleges where homophobia is more common or at least more … supported (ugh, I hate even typing that) I think it’s going to take a long time for things to change. It’s great to see other sports starting to make strides in the right direction.

    I can’t wait to dive back into Simon and Dec’s world. Unfortunately I have to work first. Lunch time can’t get here too quick!

  14. Aniko says:

    I’m looking forward to reading Tigers on the Run. I think out of the two footie codes in Australia, AFL is probably becoming the more accepting and the one that is most likely to see a player come out publicly first. Although I do think it is still a few years away from happening, unfortunately. Athletes in other sports coming out does help pave the way, though. Was it easy sliding back into Simon and Dec’s world and characters?

  15. kennsea says:

    Hi, Aniko!

    It’s SO BLOODY EASY to slip back into Simon’s world. SImon never really leaves me – this sounds so blood precocious – but Simon always pops up to tell me things, which is why I have released short stories every now and then, and there are piles of odds and ends sitting in folders that may get incorporated into other short stories or future books. However, sometimes his stories get a little more lengthy and that is what results in a book. And he surprised me with what he told me was happening this time around. Especially with Coby. Urg.

    Declan plays his cards pretty close to his chest – which is why in the upcoming spinoff about Micah it was interesting to write Dec without Simon as a filter. And that Dec wanted to be in the story a lot more than I thought he would.

  16. Melly R says:

    Dear Sean, Congratulations on your new book- my question is – as an avid reader and writer yourself, what gives you the most pleasure? I ask because your writing indicates a person who loves to read and write – so wanted to ask. Also, given the current climate (not referring to global warming here) in Australia being one of the only first world countries STILL behind the times with regards to marriage equality, do you think it’s understandable why there is such a stigma with ‘out’ football players?

  17. kennsea says:

    Hi, Melly R!

    I do love to read – and I would have to say although there is nothing like writing your own world with your own characters IT IS SO MUCH BLOODY HARD WORK. Sometimes you just want to leave it up to the experts ;) And then there’s the cringe factor whenever you read your own work – so I guess I would have to say reading wins.

    In regards to your second, most excellent, question – I can only hazard a guess, but I would say it’s probably not the players who have a problem with other out players. So many have come forward in support of hypothetical gay players and marriage equality – I think the biggest problem is the fans. You only have to look at the racial abuse that players like Adam Goodes receive – and imagine that any gay player would receive horrendous abuse from opposing team fans as well. That is something the AFL has to tackle. And they’re already proving that they’re not ‘on the ball’ completely with resolving racial abuse yet.

  18. Angela says:

    Congrats on the book release of Tigers on the Run and a happy release day :)

  19. Melly R says:

    Thanks Sean, I appreciate your responses – To your second point – yes, I believe there is evolution to be had with how Australia tackles racism however the only way it’s done is by confronting it and not ‘whitewashing’ it as I’ve seen so many times. Same idea I suppose with fans and supporting out footy players – In the US where there are a few out football players the fans have more or less come along because the (relevant) media has played an important part in reporting positively on it. I think the fans are more likely to come on the journey if collectively the country starts – but it’s not likely if the PM of the country has such backward thoughts on the subject and is often the most harmful voice in the mix.

  20. Aaron says:

    Hi Sean… Congratulations, really. I feel truly happy for your success. Speaking of coming out in AFL and NRL, remember that time when Simon said that Declan wasn’t on DNA? When he was not out… Well I have a subscription and I remembered that moment, when Kayne Lawton showed up on the cover. Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I love your characters, specially Declan. For me is a dream guy, with real feelings… Guess I have some kind of crush on him.

  21. Helena Just says:

    Hi Sean

    I’m looking forward to reading Tigers on the Run so I can’t ask you any questions about it because I hate spoilers! I’m in the UK so wasn’t aware that there are *still* no out players in Australian football. I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised; I’m following the Ashes series currently, and there are very few out cricketers, too. It really does seem that, generally, sports fans insist on an image of masculinity which they see as inconsistent with sportsmen being gay. I had hoped that attitudes were changing in Australia because I’ve been following the campaign for marriage equality there, and seeing marches etc.. What do you think? If marriage equality does come in, might it help break down other entrenched attitudes?

  22. kennsea says:

    Thanks, Angela!

  23. kennsea says:

    Melly R, that is an extremely good point as well. Look at how there is a generation of young conservatives now because they grew up under eleven years of John Howard and how the attitude to refugees has been shaped by him, starting with Tampa.

    When your country’s PM is at pains to constantly say how ‘other’ and ‘inferior’ gay people are, they have the strongest voice in the land.

  24. kennsea says:

    Hi, Aaron!

    Dec is kind of a dreamboat, although it’s quite easy for us to forget that he can be pigheaded sometimes and prone to running away to escape his problems! He had to have some flaws.

  25. Aaron says:

    Well I guess that’s what makes him so real. I read the excerpt and thought that it’s really cute Dec wanting to be a Dad.

  26. kennsea says:

    Hi, Helena!

    That’s an excellent question. I don’t know if it’s just me being a pessimist but I really can’t see our PM allowing his party a conscience vote on marriage equality, which is needed to allow it to pass through parliament. Sadly, I can’t see marriage equality happening until Abbott is out of office. I’d love to be wrong, though! Or maybe it’s I just don’t want the bone-crushing disappointment if I allow myself to believe it’s possible and then it’s denied.

    I think the strangest thing about acceptance of out players is the whole Ian Roberts thing. He had a reputation for being one of the hardest and most brutal players in rugby league, yet he still outed himself and challenged all their stereotypes about gay sportsmen. Yet here we are twenty years later and there has been no one to come out after him.

  27. kennsea says:

    Well, it could happen one day, Aaron ;)

  28. Tim says:

    I just wanted to drop in to say congrats on the new book and that I’m very excited to read it! I went back to re-read the two previous to ‘get ready’ for this one. T&D is one of my favorite books of all time!

    Also, any plans for more Dash and Dingo adventures?

  29. Helena Just says:

    Is it a happy coincidence that the quotation on Goodreads today is this?

    “A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces” — Wole Soyinka

  30. H.B. says:

    Congrats on your new release! I’ve been looking forward to this release since finding out about it. Can’t wait to give it a read :-)

Leave a Reply