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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Debra Cowan: TORTURED HEROES: Why I Love ‘Em


Give me a guy who’s gruff and tough then can eventually let a woman see the deepest part of him and I’m hooked!  Mel Gibson in LETHAL WEAPON, Rochester in JANE EYRE and one of my favorites from a book, Nick Gentry from Lisa Kleypas’s  WORTH ANY PRICE. 

Why am I drawn to tortured heroes?  They’re sexy!  There’s something about discovering that a macho, hard-edged man is vulnerable in some way. 

I love the idea that there are men with emotional, often painful secrets, who never let anyone close and there is a woman, somewhere, who can get under his skin and be the one person to accept him for who he is or help him to accept himself.  One woman who can see past the tough, steely-eyed face he shows to the world.  The whole Beauty & the Beast vibe, if you will.  :)  Who’s more tortured than a man who sees himself as damaged and must be restored by the love of the right woman?

As much as I love tortured heroes, they need to have a good reason for being the way they are.   When I write guys like this, I delve into their character to see how they’re put together and why they’re put together that way.  In reality, everyone I know has emotional baggage.  The way my hero handles that baggage, handles himself, further defines him for me.  Sometimes, I might initially know part of who he is, and I work with that to understand the rest.
All I knew about Gideon Black, the hero of my current historical, THE COWBOY’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, was his name, that he’d been in prison and had a mass of scars all over his body. 

Gideon was first introduced in my novella, “Once Upon A Frontier Christmas” from the anthology ALL A COWBOY WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS, as that hero’s best friend whom he’d met in prison.  But why was Gideon in prison?  Had he gotten his scars there?  What was the rest of his story?  Figuring that out took some help from the heroine, Ivy Powell.  She wanted answers to those questions, too.  If you read the book, I hope you’ll agree that Gideon was worth getting to know. 


A tortured hero needs someone not only to soothe the raw edges, but to challenge his seemingly-unreachable heart.  Someone to trust with every part of himself, just as the heroine needs from him. 

Maybe the best way to say it is he needs her.  He may not know it.  He certainly won’t admit it until it’s almost too late, but he needs her.  He can’t walk away from that.  And neither can I.  :) 

What about you?  Do you like tortured heroes?  Or is that too much angst for you?

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Thanks to Lee for having me.  :)

Leave a comment below for your chance to win!  I'm offering two copies of THE COWBOY’S RELUCTANT BRIDE as prizes.

***Debra's winner is CathyP! Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing details!***

17 comments:

Mary Preston said...

Bring on the angst. I can take it. One of my all time favorite heroes, Heathcliff from WUTHERING HEIGHTS, might as well have been the reason the term "tortured hero" was coined.

Laney4 said...

Love tortured heroes. Love ALL heroes. It's the variety that keeps me trying new authors but still coming back to my favourite authors.

D Cowan said...

Ooh, yes, Mary. How could I have left out Heathcliff? He was the epitome of "tortured". :)

D Cowan said...

Nicely said, Laney4. I like reading different kinds of heroes *and* I like knowing what kind I'll get from a favorite author. Even then, sometimes they surprise me (in a good way). :)

Leni said...

The tortured hero does make for a good read. It sets me up to wait for that glimpse into his character when I get to find out why he sees things the way he does.

D Cowan said...

Yes, Leni. :) Kind of like the last piece to a puzzle. :)

Martha Lawson said...

I love a tortured hero!! Love finding out what happened to him. Thanks for the chance to win this one.

mlawson17 at Hotmail dot com

Di said...

I don't like if they are tortured to the point of utter despair, but it is always nice to see a tortured hero get their HEA.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

D Cowan said...

I know, Martha. :) Learning his back story just keeps me turning the pages. :)

D Cowan said...

Di, I agree. That's why I love romance novels. Because these guys get their HEA and so often in life, they don't. :)

erin said...

I like tortured, angsty heroes b/c it seems to me like they have more depth and dimension. I want to read more to find out backstory and feelings and it makes their HEA that much more sweeter/fulfilling :) Congrats on the new release!

D Cowan said...

Erin, thank you for the congrats. :) I like what you said about depth and dimension. The more you read, the more layers you peel back. :)

Susan Crawford said...

Great post, Deb! Tortured heroes are the best! I like 'em deep, dark, & brooding. :-)

D Cowan said...

Thanks, Susan. I appreciate you dropping by. :)

Cathy P said...

I do enjoy reading about tortured heroes. I love to uncover why they are the way they are, and I love to see them fall for their heroine, to get their own HEA.

D Cowan said...

Same here, Cathy. Plus I love seeing what kind of heroine is able to crack their shell. :)

Laurie G said...

I find myself rooting for the tortured hero to overcome his problems whether they be emotional or physical. I always want them to beat the odds and find their one true soul mate and to find happiness in their life.