Thursday, August 30, 2007

What’s in a hero..

Would love to talk more about the brilliance of Judd Apatow, but nothing comes to mind that hasn’t already been said.
Except we need more movies with Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann.

I’ve been thinking about heroes lately. It’s actually come up in Drunk Writer talk. Molly made the point that the subgenres, specifically romantic suspense and paranormal allow for more latitude in the hero, basically, heroes can be very alpha again.

I definitely agree. Been reading JR Ward’s first of the brotherhood of the dagger series. A really good vampire book for those interested. She world builds really effectively in this book, and creates, dark, sexy men with silly names(Tohrment, anyone?)

Her heroes are definitely alpha. They wear black leather, listen to rap, are tortured and unhappy and wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone who got in their way, human or otherwise.
They remind me a little of some of Iris Johansen’s historical heroes. Dark, tortured men who had few scruples, at least at the beginning of the books. Laura Kinsale does this brilliantly with her heroes as well.
A hero as an assassin, one who isn’t filled with much self-loathing at his profession. Loved it.

Give me a hero who’s dark. Legitimately dark, with deep character flaws, and show them to me. I’ve read too many Duke of Slut books, with men who besides their predilection to sleep around at the beginning of the book, turn to kittens as soon as they clap eyes on the heroine.

I’m looking for a hero who isn’t heroic at the beginning of the story. They may have heroic tendencies, but they should have a character arc.
JR Ward’s success tells me I’m not the only person looking for this, but I also think a percentage of the romance reading public would hate it. They want their heroes, well, heroic, right at the beginning of the book.

What are the character traits that would turn you, as a reader, off?

For me, there are few. Perhaps outright cowardice, harming children, really detestable stuff, but the rest is fair game. Make him interesting, charismatic and redeemable and I’m in, hook, line and sinker.


Maureen McGowan said...

I’ve read too many Duke of Slut books, with men who besides their predilection to sleep around at the beginning of the book, turn to kittens as soon as they clap eyes on the heroine.

Sinead, this made me laugh out loud, in public. Brilliant.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Duke of Slut - HA!

I've been watching HBO's Californiction with David Duchovny as a burnt out writer who's life is falling apart and he's sleeping with every woman he meets and he does dispicable things -- one of the women he sleeps with is 16 - though he does not know it and when he finds out he realizes just how low he's sunk BUT I'm watching this and Duchovny is brilliant - he tortured and funny and self-sabotaging he's an AMAZING hero -- his character arc is going to be riveting -- but I was watching it thinking -- this has an utterly different audience than most romance novels.

JR Ward perhaps excluded. HOWEVER she's Jessica Bird, too? She writes catagory - excited to read all of her stuff.

Anonymous said...

Been watching Californication as well. David D is brilliant, anyone else would have come across as such an asshole, but he's so likeable, and self-deprecating, you can't help but root for the guy.

Love it.

And Yep, Jessica Bird. It will be really interesting to see how the category stuff relates to the Ward books

K J Gillenwater said...

I love me a tortured hero. However, I do like the hero to hate himself, think himself a terrible human being for whatever he has done and think himself unloveable (that's why the thief you mentioned in that Kinsale book just did not work for me as it should have...there wasn't enough angst in him).

Then, when he meets the heroine, he can't be with her because he is so despicable and awful, and he doesn't want to bring her down with him.

Oh, yes, I love that kind of hero. Ones who are war wounded and consider themselves not a 'complete' man. Or those who have seen so many terrible things, they don't believe in beauty and love anymore. Who shut themselves away, but deep down do have very, very intense feelings for the heroine.

I like the idea that he must have her even though he will ruin her...that whole idea of hating himself for falling in love with the heroine.

Sigh. I need to find me a good romance. Would Laura Kinsale please write something new? She's my favorite for the tortured hero.

Unknown said...

LOL Sinead!! I love what JR Ward did with her heroes. And yes, while their names are a bit silly, they really suit the characters. I can't wait for the next one to come out!!

I've always loved a dark hero. I'm glad there seem to be more and more of them coming back these days. :)

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