Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Hero

            H is for Hero.

            My dad is a volunteer firefighter. I’m very proud of what he does. I’m very proud of the fact that he takes such pride in doing a good job and he actually enjoys it too. But unfortunately for him, that’s not the kind of hero I’m talking about today.
            Every romance novel needs a good hero. I want to write romance. I need good heroes. This begs the question, what makes a good hero?
            Alpha males are popular. I love a good alpha male, especially when he meets a woman who is willing to go toe to toe with him. I personally believe it is a throw back to the caveman days when, as women, we wanted the strongest male to be the provider and protector and to give us strong children. That scene in Conan the Barbarian where Jason Momoa says “Woman! Come here!” I melt. I would’ve snapped back something sassy, but the fact is I still melt a little. It’s that take charge attitude that appeals to something in me, even though I’m perfectly fine on my own.
            But growling orders isn’t enough to make your male character a hero. Does he have to rescue someone from a burning building? Not necessarily. In novels, heroes mess up, just like they do in real life. What makes the difference is that they come back. They don’t give up. My dad always says to me “give out before you give up.”
            One hero in particular comes to mind. In J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, there is one brother, one book that a lot of fans did not like. The main character, Phury, fell into a drug habit that almost turned into a cocaine addiction that would have killed him. And he was the hero of the story. People don’t really like it when the hero has flaws, has cracks in his armor that put him down, no matter how temporarily.
            The bottom line is that Phury came back. In later books, he’s still dealing with his issues, but he’s getting better and he’s helping others while he’s at it. It’s not a fairy tale but few things in life are. It’s still a love story that is “forever and ever, amen” as the song goes.
            Heroes love without condition in the end, which is something we all deserve a bit of in our lives. 

Inspiration for one of my characters. I do not own any part of this image.


  1. That's awesome that your dad is a volunteer firefighter! They're great people.

    I like it when a hero is flawed enough to be real. I know books can me an escape from reality, but too good to be true can get old sometimes.

  2. There's a kind of fashion-sense at play here. Before the 70s, heroes were the burly two-fisted, break down obstacles, shoot-em-all-let-God-sort-it-out types. How they dealt with failure, especially in regards to "getting the girl," was a topic never explored (because they never failed, eh?). They might have an education, but that never got in the way of a good fistfight. That started to change in the 70s, and heroes began to show their weaknesses. Now we'd consider those old-time heroes two-dimensional, even caricatures, something that belongs in the relic drawer next to long run-on sentences. :-)

  3. I'm a little tired of "alpha males," or maybe just the phrase.