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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Who Is Your Fantasy Hero?


It's the month the world turns it's mind and it's heart to romance. We of course, get to celebrate it every day! And one of the most fun things whether you be single, dating, engaged or married is that for a few hours each day you can get lost with a fantasy hero within the pages of a romance novel...

So - any old excuse me - let's talk MEN.

Romance hero's are a breed unto themselves and have a depth and layering that we seldom find in more mainstream novels. How many times have you read a thriller or a murder/mystery or a Sci-Fi or something else and felt a sense of disappointment that the characters hadn't been rounded the way you'd like them to have been? In a romance we really get to the heart of the character - no pun intended.

He's not just eye candy. Which is the common misconception the critics would like us to believe. Oh no. This guy may look good enough to make us smile like an idiot were we ever to meet him, but he has to have an inner strength, an integrity, an honourable streak a mile wide, a sense of humour and STILL have that vulnerability that makes us fall a little in love with him as we read his story...

We don't ask for much do we???

And then of course there's intelligence and charm and confidence and perseverance and probably a good dose of patience...

Now fitting all of that plus a good deal more into a 50-60,000 word book while fleshing out the heroine's personality and including a little thing called a story at the same time is no mean feat. Yet I have read so many incredible heroes in my day that I can't help but have favourites who have stuck with me. Lori Foster's Gabe, Ally Blake's Sebastian, Rhonda Nelson's Jamie, Kate Walker's Vito, Alyssa Day's Conlan.... the list could go on and on. And that's before I even touch on the subject of actors or singers or sports personalities I've done double takes at.

At the end of the day it's all a very personal choice, isn't it? And I think any author who says they don't add a little of that personal preference to their heroes is fibbing just an ikkle bit. With me there are several criteria - tall is non-negotiable. A sense of humour essential. The ability to step up to the plate when needed vital. Hair colour, eye colour and the like I'm flexible on. But every single darn one of them will have a need in them for the heroine, that even when fought against - just can't be denied...

Do you have a particular hero in a romance novel who stayed in your mind long after you closed the cover? One that just made you come over all warm and fuzzy? What was it about him that made you smile for so long?

One of the beauties of being a writer is you can take all the basic ingredients, go a searchin for a suitable *look* and then create a brand shiny new hero from scratch at least a coupla times a year... Now me - I take the look very seriously. I even have a collection of pics for *hero inspiration* that I keep in a Hero Database on my website to - erm - help other writers OF COURSE! If I'm trawling around the net or watching a film or I see a guy in a magazine that just shouts hero material to me then I Google him immediately, find a few pics I like the tone of (for added inspiration) and then I squirrel them away in my files... It's a tough part of the job, granted. But I like to think I'm admirably dedicated to my craft...

So if you had a particular actor or musician or sportstar you adored in real life and you knew the author had the way he looked in mind when she created a hero on the page would it influence you? Would it add an extra dimension to the fictional guy for you? Would you visualize your real life hero or simply allow yourself to fall for the fictional one?

I have to say when it comes to a hero on the page, in the same way that the cover art can either help or hinder the image I have of him on my mind, knowing what the author had in her mind can either help or hinder. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE to see how they thought he'd look. But at the end of the day heroes like the ones I listed earlier have stuck with me because of the characterization and that little bit of personal perception I brought to it. I think it's the same for every hero. Take away the cover art and have thirty people read the same book and I guarantee you they'd all have very different ideas of who he might look like in real life.

So does cover art effect your reading enjoyment? Will a good one add to your reading experience? Will a bad one take something away from it for you?

Because many's an author has been known to complain bitterly about how their hero turned out on the cover. Thing is how exactly does the poor marketing department get inside the head of so many authors and see exactly what they saw? If they had to pay all the actors/musicians/sportstars we had in mind then the books would end up costing a small fortune! But then we are also known to dance will glee when they get it right. Like my February Harlequin Romance release for instance. For my hero, Kane Healey I had but one photograph that launched my imagination. It involved one of the ones here - with the actor dressed in dark clothes looking back over his shoulder. In that picture I saw a world of possibilitites. I saw a hero with secrets and regrets. A hero who could find great happiness with a woman he should never have let go if he would just take time to get to know her in the here and now...Heck I even dressed Kane the same way in several scenes!

And when the cover came, I was ecstatic. It was more than close enough to what I had in mind. My fantasy guy was there for all the world to see. And considering how much the cover has been plastered around the universe with the Mills & Boon Centenary I can't begin to tell you how happy I am about that!!! But then maybe I worry too much? Because I constantly worry about things like having the right career for him, the right name, the right levels of strength and vulnerability... it's a world of angst in my house.
So I ask you - who is your fantasy hero? Is he alpha male - beta? Is he in need of redemption, capable of rescuing the heroine, all the more endearing because of his vulnerability? Is it simply all about the looks? Or is it the complete package that matter? Who would be your perfect fantasy guy this Valentine's Day?
I'll pick a winner in a week from the comments for a copy of Her One And Only Valentine (still waiting to hear from the winner of my last book from my last Blog on here btw so if they don't come forwards I'll pick another one at the end of the month)
In the meantime if you want to learn more about my books or my writing life then please do drop by my Website or my Blog. And HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY for tomorrow!!!

23 comments:

rebekah said...

I guess it would have to be someone like Dean from Supernaturals( The guy in your Third picture). He has everything, at least the character does. The Dean character is good looking, has vulnerability that he hides with a smart mouth, and he is tough. I love a man with a smart mouth and hate a man that is too sensitive. I feel that a man needs to make you feel safe and too much sensitivity destory that feeling for me. But I am an emotional person and emotional men and I don't click. You know opposites attract and all that.So I would have to say someone like the character Dean would be my perfect valentines date.

Trish said...

Rebekah I LOVE that about Dean too and a smart mouth would, I'm rather afraid, be ESSENTIAL for me ;)

I think he plays that vulnerablity beaaauutttiiifuuullyy tho. And it's that that kinda makes your heart break a little isn't it? And then of course we feel the need to help ease all that pain...

Chance would be a fine thing mind you!

GOOD CHOICE!!!

Maureen said...

He's tough with a sense of humor and he'd do anything for the heroine but he's annoyed when he realizes this.

robynl said...

For me it's all about the complete package; he should be protective/strong and yet have some vulnerability about him. He is kind and gentle with a sense of humor. My guy would be David James Elliott from the TV show JAG(Mark Harmon).

rebekah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CrystalGB said...

For me, it's a strong guy you can depend on who has a sensitive side too. He doesn't have to be drop dead gorgeous.

Jane said...

I'm a sucker for alpha heroes, but of course he's got a sensitive side too. I love all of Gennita Low's heroes who belong to a Black Ops group. I also appreciate intelligence in a hero. Fox Mulder from the X-Files is one of those smart and sexy heroes.

Virginia said...

I guess I will have to go with George Cloney, he is soooo cute and has that wicked little smile.

Lois said...

I like a great alpha hero, but I also like a great beta one. . . or even a combo guy! :) And of course it's never only about the looks. . . if he has the looks, he better have the character to go with it; otherwise, the looks are pretty much going to waste! LOL :)

And he doesn't always need to be redeemed, or rescue the heroine. . . sometimes well adjusted from the beginning is just fine, and the heroine saving the hero once in a while is a great twist too! :)

Lois, who takes any hero as she gets them. . . ah, that sounds like I'm talking about something else, doesn't it. . . ;)

Estella said...

JD Robbs Rourke!!!

Alyssa Day said...

Trish, Conlan is one of my favorite heroes, too! He popped into my mind and launched an entire series. Speaking of popping, I'm popping over to amazon (love me that Amazon Prime!) right now and ordering yours - it will make it more fun to read knowing the 'backstory' on the cover.
hugs,
Alyssa

Trish said...

Maureen - you could have one of my heroes right there with that description! I AGREE!!!

RobynL - off to google I go. Now Mark Harmon - YUM. And all those hero-type attributes? YUH-HUH. I hear ya. I think no matter how the hero behaves he should be nice guy at the core cos otherwise why would we want our lovely heroine to end up with him?!

Crystal - if I confess I'm still looking for one of those in real life will I come across as a little too hopeful? ;)

Jane!!! FOX MULDER!!! LOVE HIM! And am sooooooo waiting for the second film! Now don't get me wrong I'm a sci-fi gal at heart but it was the dynamic between Mulder and Scully that kept me hooked to the bittersweet end. And again - another hero who played vulnerability beautifully! He soooooo needed a Dana Scully in his life...GOOD CHOICE! And black ops???? Off to Amazon I go as well...

Virginia I have to say that wicked smile of George's kinda does it for me too! And if ever there was a man who needed a heroine found for him...

Lois I agree with the looks being wasted without the personality. It's just WRONG isn't it??? Mind you personality with beer belly and lots of burping *shudder*. And I LOVE a heroine who can do a little rescuing right on back! It's that standing side by side as equals thing that works best for me I think. No needy gals in my books - UH-UH!

Estella - I've heard soooooooo much about Rourke that I really am gonna have to go seek him out aren't I??? Might need a little more info tho - you know - for research purposes ;) What is it about him???

Can I confess I'm having ENTIRELY TOO MUCH FUN with this discussion???? I could talk heroes for WEEKS. I have provisions in for the duration and everything....

Trish said...

ALYSSA DAY!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE this woman. I like to think I have the potential to be her first Irish stalker....

Those warriors of hers - oh my...
Cannot WAIT for the next one. And I have converted at least three friends too. I believe in sharing the greatness me.

Hence this blog....

Aideen said...

Hi,

Due to my choice in this and for fear of anyone thinking I'm really only in it to sugar coat you Trish, I'll not comment to enter the competition but to share my fantasy hero with the rest of you girls.
The man I've chosen comes from a book, I love movies but I believe a great book, no matter how fantastically its translated on the screen never quite realises or portrays the hero's depth completely.
The book is His Mistress, His Terms and the man is Alex Fitzgerald. For more reasons than I can count or list, he's the one.
If nothing else I chose him because he's Irish and being an Irish girl myself I know firsthand how incredibly charming an Irish man can be (I'm married to one).
But that aside, Alex is, to put it simply, IRRESISTABLE.
From his magic mouth to his adorable ankles (I bet my life they're adorable)he embodies my every fantasy. He's smart, witty, sensitive, caring, strong, enduring and not afraid to show his vulnerability. His emotional intensity is a breath of fresh air.
The man is sex on legs. Gorgeous legs.
He even made me forget I had a household to run and children to feed. (luckily I did remember to collect them)

And I should mention here that JD Robb's Roarke is such a common fantasy man...all because he's Irish. I've read every one of those books and he never fails to get me hot and bothered. So pick the Irish guy and you pick a winner.

Happy Valentines Day,
Aideen.

Cryna said...

You know in all honesty it is hard to come up with a fantasy hero - I guess maybe because when I get absorbed in a book or read the hero of that particular book is the hero. I thought about it a lot after reading your blog and my mind just came up blank. There are a lot that have made an impression on me - but I hesitate to say they are my fantasy hero.

Cherie J said...

I love alpha males with a tender side for those he loves. I want my hero to be the type who will protect the ones he loves no matter the cost.

limecello said...

My fantasy male is definitely an alpha - I have a sinking feeling I'd walk all over a beta. He has to be strong, but have emotions. That is, he doesn't run from emotions, but doesn't cry at the drop of a hat. He'd also be smart, witty, and charismatic. For looks, well I definitely wouldn't turn down someone who looked like Raoul Bova. ;-)

Trish said...

Hi Aideen!!!! Well hun you KNOW how I feel about Alex. He's one hero who has stayed with me for a long, long time after I typed the last word. Sigh. Now if I could JUST get his phone number. Mind you Im reliably informed he's quite fond of the heroine... ;) And HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TO YOU my friend. Have fun with your very own Irishman!!!

Really must go get this Rourke...

Cryna - I think the fact you had ones who made an impression and yet you couldn't choose one shows that there is a wealth of well written heroes out there! And I think the romance genre does that so, so well. I have read many *mainstream* novels that were great on plot but left me feeling empty when it came to characterization... Maybe the *perfect* hero has yet to be found for you - and maybe it's an amalgamation of all of them... ;) After all - *perfect* would be jolly hard work I feel - right???

Cherie and limecello - yes I do like an alpha too!!! I have one in one of my books this year who gave me manys a slumped-head-against-keyboard day when writing him and yet he's just soooo, well he's so -

Yuh-huh.

Laura J. said...

I loved Noah from Lori Foster's Too Much Temptation. I also like hero's that are a little goofy too, like Sean from Vicki Lewis Thompson's OverHexed.

Dina said...

Hi Trish,

I love all aplha male heros, not just 1, lol.

I also think cover art does play a role in the books that I might choose, helps to intice me eveen more. :)

Trish said...

Oooohhh Laura - a Lori Foster I might have missed??? HOW-IS-THAT-POSSIBLE??? Back to Amazon YET AGAIN I go. You guys aren't helping with my tbr pile you know ;)

Oh Dina - me too!!! Can't tell you the number of new authors I've found cos of yummy cover art. Swayed by a pretty face - moi? Fraid so...

Shall pick a winner for the book on Thursday guys.

deseng said...

I just finished reading KARMA GIRL by Jennifer Estep and it was fantastic! The alpha hero is Striker and he is delicious in his spandex suit of black leather. Wow! To read how Jennifer explains his lethal body and how sculpted he is makes you drool!

My fantasy man in the movies is Pierce Brosnan! Love him! Ooo also there is Hugh Jackman and Keaneau Reeves. Sexy! There are some others but can't remember their names at the moment. Having a senior moment! Ha,ha!

I have read so many excellent books that had fantastic alpha heroes in them. I usually read 2 books at a time so I am having a hard time remembering a specific one. Don't you just love me?

Just remembered in the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich the heroes are Ranger and Morelli. They are a couple of hunks that Stephanie has to deal with. They are perfect examples of alpha heroes.

Michele L.

Trish said...

Deseng it has to be said you have EXCELLENT taste in men! I'm three for three in the three actors you mentioned and have used two out of three of them as hero inspiration!

Now - winner of the book out of the hat is.... drumroll please....

VIRGINIA!!!!

Just email either Lee here at Totes or me through my website at http://www.trishwylie.com and I'll pop it in the post for you!

SEE YOU SOON GANG!