Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Elizabeth Hoyt meditates on torturing the hero

I went to see IRON MAN the other day—and loved it!—but I thought the beginning was interesting. When we first see Tony Stark, the future Iron Man, he’s got a glass of Scotch in his hand, he’s wearing a designer suit in a Humvee full of soldiers, and he’s boasting about bedding all the MAXIM cover models from the year before. Hmm, I thought, not particularly likable. Not particularly heroic, in fact.

It’s what happens next that turns Tony Stark into a hero.

The convoy of Humvees is blown up, Stark is shot, and he’s taken captive by shadowy terrorists somewhere in the Afghan mountains. When, in the next scene, a hood is pulled off the bound Stark’s face, I actually leaned forward in my seat. Stark’s expensive suit has been shredded, he has cuts and bruises on his face, and fear and anger are bright in his eyes. Suddenly Stark the prisoner was a whole lot more interesting than Stark the playboy.

Now, I’m not a sadist. I don’t actually enjoy seeing the hero brutalized in a movie or book. But in order for an ordinary man to ascend from his mundane life and become a hero we want to root for, sometimes he has to suffer.

A lot.

In my new book TO TASTE TEMPTATION, my hero is Samuel Hartley. He’s a wealthy Colonial merchant visiting London on business. At first he may not seem like hero material—until we get to his backstory. Six years before Sam was in the Colonial army, fighting the French in the French and Indian War. During that war the regiment he’s been assigned to lead through the wilds of the American woods is attacked and massacred, with only a handful of men surviving. It’s what Sam did during that awful day that’s torturing him. The hard choices he made and the actions he took. Six years later he’s still not over the war completely.

And to me that makes Sam an interesting hero. One with conflicts and nightmares. One with a tortured past. I hope you enjoy TO TASTE TEMPTATION!

So tell me who your favorite tortured hero is and I’ll pick one person to win an autographed copy of THE RAVEN PRINCE!

Elizabeth Hoyt
Good Morning!

MELISSA LEAVITT, if you can contact me via my website, I'll send you an autographed copy of THE RAVEN PRINCE!

Thank you to everyone for participating in the discussion!



GregPreston said...

Ooh, Elizabeth, do they come any more tortured than Heathcliff? I doubt greatly whether I would even like Heathcliff and Cathy in real life... but I loved that book as a teenager. And I still do.

Michelle Douglas

Cheri2628 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheri2628 said...

I love tortured heroes, especially if they are "healed" by the heroines in their lives. It is interesting, and satisfying, to see a slow healing process in a book/movie.

Shari Anton said...

Just dropped by to say I've already read To Taste Temptation and thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for another great read, Elizabeth!

Virginia said...

Hi Elizabeth, I'm just dropping by to say I love your books. I have been trying to think of a tortured hero but my mind draws a blank this morning, sorry. If I think of one later I will come back and post him.

Melissa Leavitt said...

I love tortured heros! LOL :)

One that stands out as an all time favorite in films is Ronny Cammareri, played by Nick Cage in the 1987 "Moonstruck" opposite Cher. What a great romantic film!

In plays, it's gotta be Othello. In romance books, hmmmm. That's hard. I think Trey Hawthorne in Katherine Sutcliffe 1996 novel "Devotion."

Please enter me in the draw! :)

Barbs said...

2 tortured heroes come to mind from my recent reading and that's Simon and Ethan from Celeste Bradley's THE PRETENDER and THE ROGUE in her Liar's Club series.I'm sure there are many more in fact I know of one Wilson McKay in Sharon Sala's Cat Dupree series.

TO TASTE TEMPTATION is on the TBB list which I'm hoping to get to Border's this week.

Pat Cochran said...

My favorite ( and also my eldest
daughter's) tortured hero is Vincent,
of the CBS series "Beauty and the
Beast" We were most upset the day
the series ended!

Pat Cochran

Estella said...

I don't have a favorite tortured hero. I love them all.

acdaisy95 said...

I don't have a tortured hero either.

Karen H in NC said...

No favorites here 'em all!

I don't have my copy of your newest book yet, but hope to get it soon and look forward to reading it!

Michelle Styles said...

Elizabeth --
Husat to say that I have read To Taste Temptation and really enjoyed it.

Tortured heroes -- I loved the hero of Janice Kay Johnson Snowbound. I am drawing a blank here, but I have had builders in putting a fireplace into my study and so I hope you forgive. He has PTSD and runs an inn where the heroine and a group of school children get stuck.