So how do you like your heroes?

With a side of grits?  Hashbrowns?  Bacon?  Ham?  On whole wheat toast?

The subject came up between hubby and myself when I read a post about why men should read romance and women, thrillers.  I read both, duh, in addition to books in most genres, provided they are well-written.  You can read the post for yourself at The Red Pen of Doom.

My husband reads the occasional romance.  Shocking, I know.  It all began back when I worked my way through Karen Marie Monings’ Highlander romances.  He and I were on vacation and I handed him each book as I finished.  Some he thought were just plain dumb, but the one book he truly enjoyed was The Immortal Highlander, Adam’s book.  He liked this book because not only is Adam a complex character, a perfect chimera of good and bad… kind of a trickster figure, Gabrielle is an intelligent heroine.  I’ve noticed that once a story is finished, KMM’s heroines (when they reappear in later installments) tend toward TSTL.  Gabrielle seemed to be the type to remain in character throughout.  In addition, my husband felt she had a damn good reason for remaining a virgin into her twenties.   She was a Sidhe Seer and she was attracted to the fae males, not human males.  There ya go.

He got the concept all right – women who were virgins for whatever reason/excuse/prevarication/rationalization…. mostly because at the heart of each of Monings’ stories lies this theme – the virgin heroines are waiting, like Sleeping Beauty, for true love’s kiss, whether they realize it or not.  Hubby just didn’t believe it.  It didn’t fit with his world view – which is this– women enjoy sex as much as men.

Maybe it takes the right man, a strong, secure man, to read romance.  Who knows?

I think I’m lucky.  This will make my husband blush, but every one of my heroes is he.  Or is it him?  Each hero possesses one or more of his attributes.  (Hey, get your nasty minds out of the gutter!)

I have my own personal hero to model my characters after.  And he likes to read a few romance books.  He reads all my books!  I’ll tell you the romance hero he personally identifies with the most – because my husband is very into seduction - and this is one of my favorite books - he loves Marc Chastain from Kill and Tell.  For that matter, he’s also a big fan of Gray Rouillard from After the Night.  So macho, so alpha, so protective and so big hearted.

Men really should read romance.  It would be good for them.  They might just get the emotional connection we women crave.  I know thrillers, provided they are not gratuitous gore-filled slash-fests, are good for me!  I mean, look at all the existential angsty pleasure I derive from The Walking Dead and the time paradox I get to think about while watching The Terminator…


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26 Responses to So how do you like your heroes?

  1. Amber Skyze says:

    I’ve written a few books where the hero is modeled after the hubby. I feel blessed to have a great man. He too reads all my books and those of my friends. Not sure if he’s read any other romances. lol
    He’s more sports and non-fiction. :)

  2. Casey Wyatt says:

    I wish I could say that my hubby has read my books. But then, he doesn’t really any books at all. If he did read them, he’d realize I’ve been cribbing some of the best lines from him. He and my smart aleck kids inform a lot of the male snark in my books. I agree, all men should read romance. Then they might get where us women are coming from! As to – how do I like my romance heroes – is naked and between the sheets a wrong answer? :)

  3. Jaye says:

    Funny post (and love the book cover–made me laugh). I like all kinds of heroes, it really does depend on the writer and the story. One trait my faves have in common is honor. They have strict codes of conduct for themselves.

    The old man doesn’t read fiction, so I don’t think he’s ever read one of my books. Oh well, he’s a keeper anyway. :D

  4. Amelia James says:

    When I wrote my first romance novel, I gave it to my mother-in-law to read. The first thing she said was, “Is Austin Sinclair my son?” Hmmm…he wasn’t intended to be, but my husband’s personality came through without me realizing it.

    I guess I like my heroes playful with a dirty sense of humor and naughty charm. ;)

  5. Stephanie says:

    I think they should read it for tips. I will make mine read particularly spicy things that are frisson-causative.

  6. Katalina Leon says:

    I plead guilty to loving Karen Marie Monings Highlanders series.
    My husband likes to collaborate with me on plot elements, which I find interesting. He does understand women’s fiction and I’m left wondering when did he study up on this stuff? I use his ideas because I think they’re good. We “work” while we walk.
    I have a great idea, why don’t you collaborate on a story with the Mister? He knows his stuff. It can be fun and it takes a family dog walk to a whole other level.
    XXOO Kat

  7. anny cook says:

    Mine reads some of mine. My son-in-law reads them all. Widely divergent reviews from the two guys… :-)

  8. I love all types of heroes. I do agree, men should read romance novels. They always say they want to know more about us and what we like or think..LOL

  9. Savannah… :) Totally!

  10. Anny, it’s fascinating that your SIL reads them. How interesting!

  11. Oh, I know, Kat. Hubby and I do that same thing! I think your hubby does know his stuff!

  12. Stephanie – LMAO! Too funny! I agree, the tips….

  13. Hi Amelia! Thanks for coming by. That is too funny! I won’t let anyone in my family but my husband let me read my books. You are so brave.

  14. It’s true, Jaye – honor, even if it’s honor among thieves. I like your old man. I’m a nonfiction fan myself.

  15. Casey – they make for great story fodder, don’t they? Always saying something funny or priceless or ruthless! I like naked and between the sheets!

  16. Totally cool, Amber. That’s nice that he reads your books. My husband is very into sports too, and I know you are as well.

  17. So true, Julia. I write my husband’s characteristics into my heros, too. Mine doesn’t read any romance books except mine. I’m lucky to have my own alpha hero.

  18. anny cook says:

    My son-in-law was a “guest” of the county for a while…I printed out my books and sent him a chapter a week. He used them to barter for cigarettes, etc… I’ll have you know my Flower books were especially popular. So was Winter Hearts, Kama Sutra Lovers, and the Mystic Valley books…

  19. My refrigerator is covered with pictures and magnetic quotes–serious and poignant–and what seem to be book blurbs with pictures. My two favorites: one is of the bodice-ripped woman wrapped in his strong sexy arms, and she clutches his back as he’s kissing her neck…passionately. In the bubble above her head: “Hmm. I wonder if he is this good with a vacuum cleaner.”
    The other is a WWII-type picture of a strong, serious, tall soldier, his arm wrapped around the shoulder of the petite sweetie in a party dress, her hair in a top-knot, her lips really red. As he’s smiling seductively at her, she’s looking off into space: “She sensed a bestseller.”
    Thanks for another excellent blog, Julia.

  20. How fun, Marilyn! I gotta get me some of those! :)

  21. Nice trade-off, Anny. Smart man.

  22. Well, Stephanie, when your husband is a cowboy… what can you do but use him? I’m lucky too!

  23. Evie Balos says:

    Funny, I still enjoy those old style romance covers like the one Julia’s posted: the brawny, tanned hero towering over the delicate, somewhat helpless heroine, whose dress has slipped off her shoulders. My heroines are all sassy, strong women, but those books are virtually antiques now. When I moved house, most of them disappeared somehow. It still upsets me to this day.

    As for the type of heroe I like: alpha, physically rugged, possessive, determined, tortured, a little dark, and amusingly annoying to the heroine. ;-)

  24. Those are my favorite kind of heroes, Evie – you described the traditional hero perfectly.

  25. Delilah Hunt says:

    Julia. I have been begging my husband for ages to read some of my romance novels. I honestly think it would give men a great insight and realize that it’s emotions we crave!!! Great article. As for heroes. I like em rugged, brooding and in need of some TLC.

  26. Sandra Cox says:

    I’m awfully glad you married your hero.