Thursday, May 3, 2012
Who's Your Favourite Romantic Hero?
“Bond. James Bond.” When I was young, the Sean Connery version of James Bond was enough to set a young girl’s heart to fluttering. I saw one of those old movies on television recently and can’t believe that women actually thought that the James Bond character was desirable.
Thankfully, our idea of a hero has changed over the years and as a writer of romance novels, I’m grateful. This is one area – the creation of the hero – where I refuse to give in and write according to what’s ‘hot’ this week, or this month. Scotsmen may be hunky and have gorgeous eyes, but I don’t know any. Vampires and their kin may appeal to some, but I’ll pass, thanks very much. I’m picky about my romantic heroes, and when I write I create a male character with whom I could fall in love.
Romance novels are for the most part fantasies, and in almost all cases the heroes are larger than life. I’m in the final stages of a romance right now that veered away from my original intent. I said to a friend of mine “I want to write a novel where the male is an ordinary guy-next-door type”. Somehow it didn’t work out that way. A cop working on a case wormed his way into the story and became the love interest. Did I sell out? I don’t think so. He made the story come alive when he stepped in and elbowed the original hero out of the way, so he got to stay. Alpha males do that sometimes.
The heroes I’ve written have been fighter pilots, doctors, former Special Forces operatives, and CEOS. But I confess to having a favourite. Maybe I shouldn’t admit it – maybe that’s akin to admitting to having a favourite child. It’s true, though. Freddie is my favourite.
Fixing Freddie is about a man who agrees to submit himself for a makeover so he can get close to a girl he knew in school. He was interested in her even then, but he was shy, and the class nerd. I like the way Freddie’s outer layers are peeled away until we discover the man beneath. Maybe I’m not supposed to pat myself on the back, but it’s a good story. If you were to tell me it’s a predictable plot I’d have to agree, but then aren’t all romances predictable?
I don’t think I’m different from other romance authors in that I’ll continue to create heroes who appeal to me personally. Most of us however are married to that guy-next-door who didn’t make the cut as the hero. And thank goodness. They’re our personal heroes. They love us unconditionally, they mow the lawn, make the run to the garbage dump, and teach our sons how to fish. They are our inspiration, our best friends, and our lovers.
But Freddie is still my favourite fantasy...so far, that is.