Spotlight & Giveaway: Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry

Posted September 6th, 2015 by in Blog, Spotlight / 75 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Sophia Henry to HJ!


The debut of Sophia Henry’s red-hot Detroit Pilots series introduces a hockey team full of complicated men who fight for love.


Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Delayed PenaltyDelayed Penalty is about Auden, a college student scrambling for extra money when she loses a scholarship after being cut from her University’s soccer team. Her grandfather sets her up with a short term job translating for Aleksandr Varenkov, a Russian minor league hockey player. After a rocky start, Aleksandr makes it clear he wants more then just her translating services. Sparks fly, but constant travel is the nature of Aleksandr’s job, and Auden can’t handle in a guy who’s always leaving her. But the time they spend together allows Aleksandr to chip away at the glacier of grief she’s built up, and Auden has to decide if she can finally put the ingrained insecurities from her tragic past on ice to take a shot on a future with him.

Since Delayed Penalty is told from the heroine’s POV, there isn’t much on-ice action. I’m a hardcore hockey fan, but writing game play-by-play isn’t my style. My goal is to create an emotionally-charged, character-driven novel, where the heroine starts in a rough place and ends in a better one from what she’s learned having the hero in her life. That’s my personal interpretation of being a “New Adult.” I wanted that journey to be the focal point of the novel.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

When you’re twenty years old, there’s nothing music and a drink can’t cure.
At least that was my best friend’s response when I told her I’d been cut from Central State’s women’s soccer team that morning.
The overzealous stylings of two drunk chicks bellowing “It’s Raining Men” wafted through the air, and I’d just received my vodka club from the bartender, so why did it still feel like someone scratched my heart out with a serrated shovel?


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • In the opening scene, the characters are in a bar in Windsor, Ontario (Canada). When I was a teenager, it was a huge deal to go to bars in Canada before you turned 21, because drinking in Windsor is legal at 19. That was before you needed passports or enhanced licenses to cross the border. And yes, I celebrated my 19th birthday over there. 😉
    There is a local debate between Detroiters over which restaurant makes the best Coney Dog in the city. The candidates, American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island, are in the same building with a shared wall. If you ever find yourself in Downtown Detroit looking for grub options, I suggest you give them a try. You’ll have to read the book to find out which one I choose.
  • The premise of the book was inspired by real life. I grew up watching the first all-Russian unit to play together in the NHL; the Russian Five— Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov, Igor Larionov, Slava Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov. I wanted to be a Russian interpreter so badly. But the university I chose only had two years of Russian, so I couldn’t master the language unless I transferred. The spark from that dream lit the flame for this story.


If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

The prankster in me would love to use the scene where Auden walks into the Pilots locker room for the first time, because the smell of a locker room full of sweat-soaked hockey gear the players removed after a game or practice is disgusting. I’d like to see the range of the actress. 😉

But seriously, I’d pick the scene where Aleksandr tells Auden he loves her. Because there are so many emotions going on. Surprise, fear, confusion, adoration. Auden always fears the worst, even when things are going great, because that’s all she’s known. She’s constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, so why would she act any different about falling in love?

I scanned a playground, confused at why he’d brought me to Kerby Field.
“This was where I realized that you were the most amazing, kind, funny, intelligent, and sexy woman I’d ever met,” he told me before I could question his destination decision. “You were so vulnerable, so honest.”
“So psycho,” I interrupted in English. I didn’t know the Russian word for psycho.
“It wasn’t psycho. It was pain, Audushka, real pain. I knew where it was coming from.” He knelt in front of me and slid his palm over my cheek, his thumbs rubbing my temples, his fingers weaving into my hair. “Everything changed for me after that soccer game. I knew I’d fallen in love with you.”
“What?” I gasped, the L-word taking the breath from me.
“I told you that after my parents died I had nothing left but hockey. That’s not true anymore. I have you now. Everything I do and everything I am is all for you, Audushka.” His eyes blazed with the blue of deep ocean waters. “I am so in love with you. I love you.”
Aleksandr’s declaration slapped me across the face.
My response was automatic, because you shouldn’t lie after something slaps you across the face. By that time, you’ve already gotten the worst of it.
“I love you, too.” I’d never felt more real, more exposed, or more vulnerable.
Aleksandr leaned into me, kissing my face, cheeks, eyelids over and over, before settling on my lips. He pressed with an intensity that had become increasingly harder to contain.
“Can I get something out on the table, since you officially love me and all?” I asked, pulling back breathlessly. Leave it to me to open my mouth, quite possibly ruining the best moment of my life by bringing up the past.


What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

Being a new adult is a crazy, confusing, amazing time. We don’t magically turn into an adult once we hit eighteen. We don’t know it all. We don’t make the best decisions. We still jump to conclusions and stick to what we think is right. But that’s all part of growing up, the journey to adulthood.

We want the love story, the happily ever after, but we never really get there until we learn to love ourselves and come to terms with who we are first. Get an education. Make good friends. Have a career and hobbies. Cut your family some slack. Be with someone who enhances you and makes you a better person. Strong men need strong women – and vice versa. Have a life outside of your relationship.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2015?

I’m working on POWER PLAY, Book Two in the Pilots Hockey series, which is due out in February 2016.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: Ebook: Delayed Penalty: A Pilots Hockey (Via Amazon / B&N)


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: I set the Pilots Hockey series in Detroit because it’s my hometown, and I’m proud of where I’m from. I try to use authentic places and landmarks. What do you love about your hometown? If someone visited, what is the must-see attraction? And why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Info:

Auden Berezin is used to losing people: her father, her mother, her first love. Now, just when she believes those childhood wounds are finally healing, she loses something else: the soccer scholarship that was her ticket to college. Scrambling to earn tuition money, she’s relieved to find a gig translating for a Russian minor-league hockey player—until she realizes that he’s the same dangerously sexy jerk who propositioned her at the bar the night before.

Equal parts muscle and scar tissue, Aleksandr Varenkov knows about trauma. Maybe that’s what draws him to Auden. He also lost his family too young, and he channeled the pain into his passions: first hockey, then vodka and women. But all that seems to just melt away the instant he kisses Auden and feels a jolt of desire as sudden and surprising as a hard check on the ice.

After everything she’s been through, Auden can’t bring herself to trust any man, let alone a hot-headed puck jockey with a bad reputation. Aleksandr just hopes she’ll give him a chance—long enough to prove he’s finally met the one who makes him want to change.

Meet the Author:

Sophia HenrySophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to the warmth of North Carolina for the remainder of her winters.
She spends her days writing books featuring hot, hockey-playing heroes. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her two high-energy sons, reading, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings and rocking out at concerts with her husband.

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75 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry”

  1. Amanda Thompson

    I live in a small town called Matoaca inside of Chesterfield, Virginia. There is so much history alone in the state of Virginia and so many things to explore. I love that my hometown is small and I guess the must-see attraction would be the Appomattox River or just the town itself because this was reputedly the girlhood home of Pocahontas whose real name was Matoaka.

  2. duelalias

    I live in and am from small towns, so there isn’t anything to see. The closest thing to see is the Dr Suess memorial in Springfield.

    • Sophia Henry

      Small towns have charm! And there are usually really cool legends or stories 🙂 But being close to a Dr Suess memorial is awesome!! I’d visit there – if not by plane, I would take a train. I would go there, yes I would, I would go to learn poetry good.

      ^^That was horrible. Sorry, Dr. Suess. 😉

  3. Mary Preston

    We are about to have our annual Carnival of Flowers. People come from all over the world to view the parade and championship gardens. (It is spring here in Australia. )

  4. taswmom

    My hometown has grown up so much since I moved away that I barely recognize it. I guess most people would want to see Disneyland.

  5. debby236

    I grew up in the Army so no hometown. Where Il ive now has very little to see but Hartford is nearby and there is lots to see there, including the Charter Oak.

    • Sophia Henry

      I’ve always wanted to visit Hartford! That sounds random, but I loved the Hartford Whalers hockey team when I was a kid. I’d still love to visit.

    • Sophia Henry

      Montreal in and of itself is a lure. As a hockey fan, I want to go to every hockey city and get a puck. But you sold me with adding underground shopping!

  6. Kate Sparks

    My hometown is very small, but its history is filled with circus related people and the first film actor of Tarzan!

    • Sophia Henry

      I loved the old 1930’s Tarzan movie. I don’t know if it’s the first one, but the one with Johnny Weissmuller & Maureen O’ Sullivan. I grew up with my grandparents, and my grandpa made me watch a ton of old movies! 🙂

    • mrsmac19

      Having lived in Staten Island for 22 years, I never really thought that there was much going on. I can’t say that my attitude has changed in the 13 years that I’ve been away. Both the beach/boardwalk area and the ferry ride to Manhattan are nice experiences.

    • Sophia Henry

      This is actually a trip I could make. My husband’s family is from NJ, so we are up that way a few times a year. I grew up on the Great Lakes in Michigan, but I have an new appreciation for the ocean and the boardwalks. 🙂

  7. Leanna

    I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota and I would take visitors to the Mall of America and then ride the train downtown to go to a museum. You would have to visit one of our lakes and go for a walk or bike ride.

    • Sophia Henry

      I love Minneapolis! Such a cool city. My sister and I met up there in 2013 to see a concert. We walked around for a bit, and went to the Mall of America! Would love to go back for a longer stay.

  8. Melissa Morr

    I guess I would suggest the Balloon Fest on the 4th of July weekend besides that nothing since most every place I enjoyed when I was younger has closed or been torn down cause of “progress”

    • Sophia Henry

      It’s hard to see our home towns change – even in the name of progress. The town I live in now does the same thing! I want to tie myself to old historic buildings so they won’t be torn down. BUT on a better note, I would love to go to a Balloon Fest! I was married on 4th of July weekend in 2007, so that would be a neat Anniversary trip! 🙂

  9. dutcheja

    What I most love about my home town is that it is where I raised my nephew. He had such a great childhood here. He made friends in kindergarten that he kept all through high school graduation. He has now started his freshman year at SJU and he is also playing football there. He got every last bit of experiences at high school and he talks often about how much he loved growing up here in Eden Prairie.

    • Sophia Henry

      Great response! Seeing things through the eyes of a child is an awesome way to experience and appreciate where you live. I have 2 boys – 5 & 2 yo – and I see Charlotte (current city) so much differently. Such a great perspective. 🙂

  10. Dina S

    I love Milwaukee WI b/c we always have something going on from sports, to festivals and all def kind of people visiting

    • Sophia Henry

      Chicago is one of my Top 3 favorite US cities! My sister lives there. I love the history, gorgeous buildings and Millers Pub–which I’m told is haunted. 🙂

      • Erika

        How fun! There are some beautiful buildings for sure! I haven’t checked out the Miller’s Pub yet but there are a lot of places in Chicago that are supposed to be haunted especially since that one boat tipped in the river and over 800 people died years and years ago. I’ve heard many radio people talk about their haunted apartment buildings near there 🙂

  11. ndluebke

    I live in a small town in Southern Indiana, called Madison which hugs the Ohio River. That have speed boat races around the 4th of July, every year. It’s a nice turist town the rest of the year.

    • Sophia Henry

      Is that the same as the hydroplane races?? When I was a kid, my uncle would take us to the “Boat Races” on the Detroit River. Technically they were hydroplanes, but it was so fun! A summer tradition. I still remember how beautiful Miss. Budweiser was. The boat, not the lady, though, I’m sure she was beautiful too! 😉

    • Sophia Henry

      That is a HUGE bonus. I’ve been at home writing and raising my kids for the last 5 years, so if I have to go somewhere in the morning, I think ” Whoa! I’d hat to drive this every day!” I’m spoiled. 🙂

  12. marcyshuler

    I’m from a small town that’s a suburb of the Detroit area and it’s known for it’s Fall Festival. I have so many fun memories from it.

    • Sophia Henry

      Well now you’ve gotta spill. I was born and raised in the D – the city – and I’ve never been to a fall festival. 🙂 Would love to visit. 🙂

      • marcyshuler

        Well, *we* always considered ourselves as a ‘burb’ of the Detroit area, Sophia. With all the highways everything is fairly close though. LOL I consider Plymouth, MI my hometown and they have a great Fall Festival in the park in the middle of downtown. I now live on the other side of the state (near Lake Michigan). 🙂

        • Sophia Henry

          I lived in Plymouth for a year (after moving back home to Michigan from Charlotte)! I remember the Ice Sculptures in the park, but not the Fall Festival. What a loser I am. 🙂 I worked in one the of buildings overlooking the park – next to The Box Bar – not sure if that’s still there. (or if was there when you lived there.) How cool!!! Small world. 🙂

    • Sophia Henry

      Visiting California is on my bucket list. I’ve only been as far west as Vegas, and I was too young to do anything! (visiting family). Santa Barbara sounds beautiful and glamorous – like a soap opera. (*wink – aging myself again)

  13. Meredith Miller

    I love our town because it has almost anything I would need or want nearby. I think most people like going to Busch Gardens, but I would suggest the Aquarium or zoo.

    • Sophia Henry

      I am a huge fan of amusement parks. I grew up a couple hours from Cedar Pointe in Sandusky, Ohio. I have never been to a Busch Gardens. I should go someday. But I also love aquariums, and my kids would enjoy that more right now, too. 🙂

      • Meredith Miller

        I grew up not far from there too! I think I was 7 or so the last time I went to Cedar Pointe. We moved to Florida a few years later.

  14. lrhubble

    I live in Arizona so I love the open spaces. While it isn’t in town I think a few places I would say to visit is Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon and Window Rock. Something a little different than what most people go to see which is the Grand Canyon though that is amazing too.

    • Sophia Henry

      Okay, I must not tell a lie. I’ve been to Arizona – sort of – When I was 1yo, my parents took my sister and me on a cross-country road trip. I have a picture of myself standing on the 4 corners. But I don’t remember, so I gotta get back! 😉

    • Sophia Henry

      A haunted house? An awesome coffee shop? A breakfast place that makes the best hash browns you ever had? I like food… I can find something cool anywhere.

  15. Sylve T.

    i would say the shopping. I live in Boston MA and Newbury street is filled with wonderful stores. We have a beautiful park and some really cool ethnic festivals throughout the year. Another think would be to try the Boston Duck tour that starts on a bus that turns into a boat ride

    • Sophia Henry

      Boston is such a beautiful, historical city! My goal was to go into “Cheers.” I grew up watching that show, and it was a cute blast from the past. 🙂 I also took a lot of door pictures when I was there. So many interesting colorful doors. (Yeah, you can call me a dork!) I’ll have to come back for the Boston Duck tour!

      • Sylve T.

        I don’t know how i forgot about Cheers! hahahaha i have never really noticed the doors but now i will have to pay more attention. The Duck tours are great but a bit expensive, but then again it is Boston! lol

    • Sophia Henry

      I had to look up the Vincent Thomas Bridge – that’s how much of a Mid-Western/East Coast girl I am. 🙂 But it looks gorgeous at night!! And I have to go to LA to see it, so I’m in.

    • Sophia Henry

      I was in Dallas in May for the RT Booklovers Convention. I loved it! And I’m gonna throw the Dallas Stars in there, since I’m a hockey writer. But I love Football, too. 🙂

  16. kermitsgirl

    I live in Newport News, VA. My area is steeped in history so what I would take people to see would depend on who they were. We could go to Colonial Williamsburg or Jamestown if they were into that part of history, or we could head over to Hampton/Fort Monroe and see where the first free African Americans took refuge. If the person isn’t much for history, there are tons of beautiful parks and beaches, a few theme parks, or even small craft breweries to tour. It’s a great area to be.

  17. Sophia Henry

    I’ve been to Williamsburg, so I would jump on the chance to see Hampton/Fort Monroe. That would be an awesome experience. We go to Cape Charles a few times a year, b/c my husband has family there. We should give Newport News a try next time we go. 🙂

  18. Elizabeth L.

    My hometown is small, but has lovely festivals and parades throughout the year. And there’s a little shop called The Candy Kitchen – with delicious candy and chocolates!

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