Maybe it all goes back to the idea of the 19th century Byronic hero—the dark, brooding loner, whose hair color reflected his inner turmoil. If blond meant angelic, then dark hair represented the opposite. Lord Byron himself had dark hair, and his wild antics and air of mystery made him irresistible to women (and some men). Byron was a bad boy, and who can resist a bad boy?
Thinking of other heroes in early romantic novels, such as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, we see the dark hero become even more popular. Perhaps that trend continues on in today’s romance novels. I know there are blond heroes out there, but I’ve read far more heroes with black or dark brown hair, Lord Byron’s legacy.
I recall reading somewhere that even if the hero in the book is blond, he’s seldom depicted as such on the cover of romance novels because, apparently, blond heroes on covers don’t sell as well as their dark-haired brothers.
So why did I make Leo Bailey blond? First of all, I wanted variety in the looks and coloring of the Hellraisers. Whit, the hero of the first Hellraisers novel DEVIL’S BRIDE, has dark hair, as does Bram, one of the other Hellraisers. I didn’t want all dark heroes. Secondly, Leo is the only one of the Hellraisers who isn’t a gentleman. He’s not just a commoner, but he’s the son of a saddler. Leo has worked hard to become one of the richest non-titled men in England. He’s very driven, and bears a huge grudge against the aristocrats who look down on him. There is an association of the nobility being fair of skin and fair haired, so I thought it would be an interesting inversion to have my lowest-born Hellraiser to be blond. And Leo is far from angelic—a fact which becomes more and more clear to Anne Hartfield, the impoverished baron’s daughter that Leo weds at the very beginning of DEMON’S BRIDE. Anne can’t help but be drawn to the contradiction that is her husband, however, and finds in him an unexpected connection that leads to desire, and something more… Yet Leo’s dark, dangerous secrets imperil not only the new bond between husband and wife, but also the world as we know it.
So, tell me, do you like blond heroes in romance? Or do you prefer tall, dark and handsome? Who are some of your favorite blond heroes? I’ll pick one commenter to win a copy of DEMON’S BRIDE (US/Canada only).
The Hellraisers, Book 2
Hell to Pay
Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn't hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.
But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner's trick to some members of the ton. They'll never see Leo as their equal - one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.
Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo's brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo's dark powers can't last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband...or lose her heart.
Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there's nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master's degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Her steampunk romance, SKIES OF FIRE, is now available from Avon Impulse, and Nico’s steampunk Western, NIGHT OF FIRE, will be available in July. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.
***The winner is Mary Anne Landers! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address!***