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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Who's Your Hero?

Wowsers! I don't even want to know what year Pierce Brosnan had this picture taken. Looks like he's grown in his winter coat though, doesn't it? Now, this is the kind of guy I picture when I'm writing a hero. Most of my heroes have dark hair because I've always been more attracted to that type. Eye colors vary, but I usually stick to some shade of brown or blue. But this is the type of physique I envision for my heroes...mmm, maybe minus just a little bit of that chest and belly hair. LOL! The cowboy over in the sidebar is also an excellent example of a hero-type, imo. The guys with those huge, pumped-up muscles bulging all over the place don't do it for me. They look too unnatural. I mean, how often do you run across a guy out there with a bod like that?

I've been thinking about the hero in my current work in progress today. The challenge in writing a hero is making him appealing to all women who read the story. If we can get the reader to fall in love with our hero, at least for the duration of the story, then we've done our job. And since romance novels are mostly written by women for women, it's all about the hero.

That doesn't mean the heroine is completely without purpose. She must be someone the reader can identify with on some level, have goals and motivations the reader can get behind and want her to succeed. She must have strength of character and be worthy of the hero's love. But, let's face it, do we really care if the heroine in a romance novel is dripping with sex appeal?

Which leads me back to the hero. What makes a hero universally appealing? It's got to be more than looks. Though that sex appeal I mentioned doesn't hurt a thing. He must have some noble and worthwhile attributes that go more than skin deep. Even when he's acting like the bad boy, there are certain lines of behavior he won't cross. And speaking of bad boy heroes, they're my favorites and the most fun to write.

When I wrote Rane, I tried to give him all the heroic attributes I possibly could. He was brave, strong, self-sacrificing, fiercely loyal, not to mention damn good looking. But even a year (yes, it's been one year this month) after the publication of Angel in the Rain, I still wonder if I couldn't have done more. Today's market demands that heroes be hotter than ever.

So, now I'm interested in input. What qualities do you demand in a romance hero that make him worthy of being a "hero?" What "type" of hero is your favorite? Give me some specifics, please.

Last but not least, I couldn't write a post about heroes and insert a picture of Pierce Brosnan without tacking on one of Johnny Depp. He's one of my favorite actors. Have you ever seen a male face quite so symmetrical? No, he's not much of a macho type. And he always plays the weirdest roles. And what's up with that hair? Weird personality and hair aside, there's just something so appealing about him.

Well, that's it for me tonight. Must get some sleep so I can be well rested for another day of obsessing tomorrow.


Ignoring You


  1. First off, I think you did great with Rane.

    Secondly- I'm with you on the huge, pumped-up muscles..I don't like the look of bodybuilders. They don't inspire the tenderness I expect from a hero. A hero doesn't have to be "ripped." Strong, yes, but not so cut that he looks like he'd crush you in his embrace. And I'm not a huge fan of a LOT of chest and stomach hair either. A little is nice, but too much is like a gorilla(aka Robin Williams-that man is funny- not hero material necessarily, but OH SO Hairy! Eek! LOL)

    From a hero, I expect the following qualities- loyalty to family and friends, respect for women(even if it's an internal POV change as the story moves along), a sense of humor, and as you said- brave, strong, self-sacrificing, good-looking. He has to have a strong moral thread to know the difference between right and wrong. Intelligent, but not a smart a**. Strength with a touch of tenderness is always good.

    Now, as for Johnny Depp...he's eccentric, and not your typical buff hero, but there is definitely something sweet, endearing and mysterious about our little Kentucky boy. ;o)

  2. Look at all those books that had Fabio on the front. Yuck!!! He's, ummm... too well done!! Cowboys are sinewy, they have upper arms muscles and nice abs from Working, not pumping weights and steroids. Remember the Sam Elliot and Tom Selleck westerns? THOSE are my idea of heroes :). *drooling* John Wayne! Oh yea! Shoot, who needs sex scenes??? rofl.....

  3. Devon, I can't wait to read about your new hero! Cowboy up!

  4. Taryn, thanks. I'll always love Rane. :o)

    Susi, you named some of my all-time favorite western guys. I've always loved Sam Elliot! He was born to play a western character. And that voice! Unfortunately, there aren't any great pictures of him in western clothing on the internet. I've looked. ;o) Him and Tom Selleck in those Louis Lamour stories-- nothing better.

    Jan, it's great to see you here! :o)


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