Why the hero matters.

Does your hero hold the world on his shoulders, like Atlas?

Or is he the good natured boy next door, caught up in circumstances beyond his control?

Your hero matters.  A lot.  He is the man you hope will loom large in your readers’ fantasies.  Heroes certainly loom large in my imagination, not only because I must create the perfect hero for a specific story, but because I write the kind of man I’m attracted to.  The kind of man who, dare I say it… turns me on.

My preferred hero is most assuredly an Alpha male, but he’s a good/bad boy, never a brute.  He may have a tortured or checkered past, but his chest holds a caring heart, whereas a brute is a brute is a brute.

A hero knows what he wants, but he doesn’t resort to cheating, lying or force to get it – unless he must to protect those he cares about.  He respects his chosen mate, he doesn’t demean her – or if he does, he damn well better apologize.  He’s kind to women, children, animals and all those for whom he’s responsible.  But…you don’t mess with a hero or with the people he loves.  If you do, he’ll make you pay.

This is the good/bad boy dichotomy; he’s an Alpha male who can tenderly hold an infant in his arms, yet beat a villain to a bloody pulp should the need arise.  It’s this dichotomy, this contradiction, that we, as authors, must capture.

A hero can even be unappealing, providing he is redeemed as the story unfolds, either by his own actions and insights, or by his love for the heroine and her love for him.

Tomorrow – why the heroine matters.

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17 Responses to Why the hero matters.

  1. amber skyze says:

    That’s my perfect hero! :)

  2. Delilah Hunt says:

    The hero matters a lot. Worse is if he’s the opposite of everything a hero should be. I still have some horrible memories of heroes I wish I’d never read about in some romance novels. And then there are those that just stick with you and make you want to reread the book a dozen times. I love heroes who aren’t perfect, give me a flawed but loving hero any day.

  3. First, I love the artwork you chose of Atlas! Gorgeous.
    I agree 100%, a hero has to have the potential to be a danger yet also possess decent values and self-restraint. A man who can do whatever he wants but chooses to put others first is pretty damn endearing.
    XXOO Kat

  4. AH, the hero. Yes, it’s a balancing act to get them right. I’ve had some readers fall head over heels for the same hero that another thinks is a jerk. LOL. Each book I write has a different type of hero, but I do like to torture them a bit by giving them some baggage. I can’t stand a ‘perfect’ guy or one that’s sickly nice. Alpha all the way for me!

  5. Denise says:

    I love the Alpha males, especially a dangerous Alpha that is a bit inadequate in some circumstances that he doesn’t encounter often–like holding a baby.

  6. Nina Pierce says:

    Crusty on the outside, warm and gooey on the inside … what’s not to love about the tortured alpha hero? *sigh*

  7. Interesting replies. I too have some memories of heroes I’d rather not meet, either in books or IRL! Regardless, heroines seem to be the deal breaker for me – tomorrow, heroines!
    Nina – you mean like a chocolate chip cookie?

  8. Evie Balos says:

    Julia, I have to admit that I read romance mainly for the hero. (I’m sure the fact that I’m a single gal plays a role, lol.) But seriously, I want to be drawn to him on every level and fall for him.


  9. An apt description. Whether he uses his fists, or his name itself is enough to topple an enemy, you said it all.

  10. Julia, I couldn’t agree more. When I read (or write) a romance, I want to fall in love with the hero. The heroine has to be likeable too, meaning I have to understand where she’s coming from, but to me it’s the hero who takes the story from enjoyable to unforgettable.

  11. I too read a romance to fall in love with the hero, but a heroine can cause a book to become DNF for me – read tomorrow!

  12. The hero is a huge part of the story…He is the one we fall for, who makes us swoon…

  13. Ciara Knight says:

    I read to fall in love with the hero and relate to the heroine. Great post, Julia!

  14. Loved the post! Yes, I love an alpha hero and will read a book with one in a heartbeat unless he turns out to be a brute, and then I’m hunting for a strong, tender hero, you know–an alpha male. You nailed him dear…no pun intended.

  15. Yes, Paris, there is such a difference between a brute and an alpha male!