What makes a great hero—in real life or in writing? I’d like to know what you think. In the romance field, it is the hero who will make or break a book. It is the hero an editor or agent looks at first.
When I’m coaching writers I tell them for romance it means a guy the female reader wants to take home with her and keep in bed for, oh, say a month or so!
But what else matters to you? My own take on heroes in romance novels is that:
1) The reader wants to know the hero can and will keep the heroine safe. (One of the appeals of the “bad boy” hero is that often he can do that better than anyone else.)
2) The hero lives by an internal code of honor. It might not be the same as anyone else’s, but it’s his and he lives by it. If he’s perceived as or thinks he’s bad, he’s still got that internal code and part of what the heroine discovers is that he’s really good at the core—or can learn to be.
3) The hero is sexy and adores the heroine’s sensuality and helps her accept and adore her sensuality as well.
Of course, in real life, I’d add a few things. In real life:
¨ I believe that kindness and respect are part of true/real love.
¨ I believe that it’s important to find someone with whom we are the people we want to be. (As in the poem: I love you not only for who you are but for who I am when I am with you.)
¨ I believe in partnerships—neither diminished by love but each helping the other be more than either would be alone.
¨ I believe in lovers helping each other achieve their dreams.
¨ I believe in fidelity and commitment and honor.
Hmmm, not so very different from most of my books, after all. But that’s part of the fun of being a writer—I get to share what matters to me, the vision I have for what true love could be like, the ways men and women can support and enhance rather than diminish each other!
Who are your favorite heroes and why?