Monday, November 17, 2008

Let's Hear it for Heroes!

by Christie Kelley

Before I forget, BH Dark, aka Kathy Love and Julie Cohen were supposed to be here today but instead will be here on Wednesday. Between sickness and traveling they just couldn’t get here today.

Back to the topic at hand: Heroes!

No, not those heroes. I'm talking about the wonderful guys we love to read and write about.



I thought today would be a great day to talk about a romance authors favorite thing (and most readers too) —the unforgettable hero. Way back when (I’m not going to date myself here) it appeared as if most heroes were the same. Those great novels had the moody, alpha hero who did whatever it took to get the girl, only to be humbled a little by her love at the end of the story.

But today, it takes all kinds to win the hearts of our heroines. Everything from Billionaires to firefighters to accountants. Today’s heroes can be an alpha or a beta or even a mix of the two. My personal favorite is the mix that some people call gamma. I have a hard time writing a man who’s too alpha even though I write historical and know it would be completely accurate. I need a man who shows his softer side before the end of the story. At the same time, I find writing a hero who is more beta also difficult. I need the hero to be a little angsty, moody and willing to do what it takes to win the heroine.

Even among the Bandits, I find it interesting to see the type of heroes we write. We have authors who write fantastic alpha heroes and some who are either a mix or heading toward beta. I love the variety.

So for me, an unforgettable hero is one with strong alpha characteristics and isn’t afraid to show his beta side. Without that touch of softness, I really have a hard time believing they will find that happy ever after.

What about you? Who are some of your favorite heroes and why? What makes a hero special to you? For you authors, what are your favorite type of heroes to write?

40 comments:

Natalie Hatch said...

snap?

Natalie Hatch said...

Ahhhaha. Now my hero could be that GR as he keeps my kids entertained long enough for me to finish this partial submission I've been stewing over...
I love firefighters, they throw themselves into the burning building.
I do like men who can work with their hands as well, honest, hard working guys who are trustworthy, such as a mechanic, builder, farmer and so forth.

limecello said...

Ooo - congrats on the GR, natalie!
As for heroes...alphas are good - especially because they're so *capable*
It's nice to know that come hell or high water, the hero can handle whatever it is.

Helen said...

Well done Natalie I hope he keeps an eye on the kids for you.

Christie I love an alpha hero but I love a beta one as well I think too in depends on the heroine as well.
I have so many favourite heros Kylemore Donovan Devil Cynster too many to name what I love about them is they are strong and honest and caring as well and they will save ther heroine all the time I love them ans another important thing I love in a hero is a good sense of humour.

Have Fun
Helen

Caren Crane said...

Natalie, you may regret having the GH today. Joan had him yesterday and he is WAY hung over from all the liquored-up 'Mamma Mia' madness. Please make sure he returned Joan's spandex.

I think Helen hit it with the sense of humor. I enjoy alpha males, but they better not be too arrogant or take themselves too seriously. A sense of humor is important in a book and in real life!

A hero I never loved: Aleskander Petrovsky. That was Mikhil Barishnikov's character on 'Sex and the City'. He had very little in the way of humor and was rather arrogant. I never wanted Carrie to end up with him. The only saving grace Big had was a sense of humor; otherwise, he rode the arrogant train, too.

The only thing that saved my dear husband from being too arrogant for me was his sense of humor. Now I know all his soft, gooey inside stuff, but it took some doing to get in there. Worth the effort, though!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

What about you? Who are some of your favorite heroes and why? What makes a hero special to you?
Two of my favorite heroes are St. Vincent and Wulfric Bedwyn. Different heroes are special for different reasons to me. I like it when heroes don't immediately assume the heroine is wrong. They don't jump to conclusions. A sense of humor is very good. Mostly, they have to love the heroine above all else and show it.

Christie Kelley said...

Natalie, congrats on the GR. Good luck on the partial and with the GR keeping those kids entertained.

Christie Kelley said...

limecello, alpha heroes are wonderful.

Christie Kelley said...

Helen, you're so right about the sense of humor. I really like to see that in a hero too.

Christie Kelley said...

Caren, my husband also has a great sense of humor. That might be part of the reason we've been together for almost 25 years.

Christie Kelley said...

Dianna, I feel rather ignorant today. What books are your favorite heroes from? I've heard of both but I don't think I've the books.

Gillian Layne said...

I'm with Diana. Those two are some of my favorite heroes.

Christie Kelley said...

FOLLOW UP QUESTION!

I just read this on another forum and want opinions. Reader asked if alpha hero is just code for mean-jerk. What do you all think?

I don't think so at all. Some alpha heroes are definitely jerks but not all.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yeah Natalie! Go you with the GR...AGAIN. :>

Hey Christie! Great work on the blog today.

Like everyone else, I love heroes. I tend to write them 70% alpha, 30% beta. I like that they have flaws that are on the inner softer side. :> Then again, that 70% tells you that like any romance reader, I like that they get the job done. Ha!

As to favs, there are so many...Roarke from JD Robb's series, I like Anna C's heroes a LOT. I'm privledged to have read Cassondra's heros and...let me get my fan...whoooheeeee. Yum. Just the right mix. JT's Romans are pretty darn yummy... YOUR hero, Christie...ooooh.

Well, see? Just can't choose. TOO many - the hero from Risque Business...hmmmmm. Just delish. AC's Slurpy Irish hero from Wild Sight....

Okay, gotta get that cold shower now....

In answer to your follow up, I don't think Alpha-hero or even alpha-male is code for jerk, although it CAN be!

jo robertson said...

So, Natalie, do you think the GR is an alpha or a beta?

A perennial favorite topic, Christie. My favorite hero -- totally and completely alpha -- will always be Rhett Butler.

Best line ever -- "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a . . ."

jo robertson said...

And I'm with Christie and Caren. A man who can't make me laugh isn't worth his salt.

And alpha is NOT code for "mean-jerk" IMO, at least not in romance literature. It means protector (which includes nurturer and that dash of "beta") and that usually involves leadership and direction giving, which sometimes translates to bossiness for a good reason :-D.

An alpha heroine would never let an alpha male walk all over her!

Nancy said...

Natalie, congratulations. By all means, put that bird to work tending the kids. Good luck with the partial.

Christie, I love the Roman at the bottom of the blog. This is a topic that never grows old, at least for me. I think I generally prefer alpha heroes, but I want some beta mixed in there, too. Anna Campbell put me onto Sebastian St. Cyr, C. S. Harris' Regency detective. I also liked Nicholas
Brisbane, Deanna Raybourn's detective, who reminds me of a bit of Sherlock Holmes. Romance heroes--there are so many!

And of course, almost any guy who who wears armor and knows how to use a medieval sword--but that's what most heroes have, isn't it? Emotional armor and the ability to damage, both of which the heroine has to tame.

Christie Kelley said...

I'm back! Did you all miss me? I had to get a 3 hr CE class out of the way. I have to get 11 more hours in before 2/1 to keep my real estate license.

Christie Kelley said...

Thanks, Jeanne. I literally put this blog together in about 5 minutes when I got the word that my guest couldn't make it. Sorry for any typos or weird sentences. I had no time to proof read. Hope that cold shower worked.

Christie Kelley said...

Jo, we all know that GR is a major alpha boy. Except after imbibing too much then he's laid back.

And I definitely agree that alpha doesn't mean jerk. I like that protector idea.

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy, I knew at least one of the bandits would appreciate the Roman :)

Anna Campbell said...

Nat, good catch on the rooster! Let's hope he's got his babysitting hat on today. Good luck with the partial.

Christie, I definitely don't think alpha hero is synonymous with mean jerk. The point is he's an alpha HERO! It might take him a while to find his integrity and his honor and even his love for the heroine, but he does in the end.

I love all sorts of heroes, especially if they're strong and honorable. Must say I also have a very soft spot for the tortured hero. Love redemption stories!

Hey, Helen, thanks for mentioning Kylemore! And Jeanne, mwah to you!

Nancy, what I love about both Brisbane and St. Cyr is that they're so CLEVER! To me, intelligence is a major turn-on in a hero.

Beth said...

I so agree that a sense of humor is vital in a hero! Right now my favorite hero is Dean Winchester on Supernatural *g* He's definitely alpha but puts his family and the people he needs to save first.

Plus, he's really, really pretty
:-)

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, I do think intelligence is a big one. The hero I'm writing now is very smart but is hasn't been to England in 20 years and just inherited a title. He has no clue what he's doing but by no means is he stupid. But I feel like I have to be very careful to show his intelligence in other areas.

Christie Kelley said...

Beth!! Don't get me going on Dean Winchester. LOVE HIM!!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Favorite heroes, huh?

1) Gabriel in Saving Grace. Be still my heart. The man is verra Alpha...manages two clans but loses his heart to one little fiesty Englishwoman...And of course he has that bizzare Scots sense of humor!

2) Jethro Leroy Gibbs on NCIS. Need I say more?

3) St. Vincent in Devil in Winter...so bad, but soooooo good!

4) Vane Kattalakis in Night Play. He made me believe in and lust for wolves!! mmmmmm mama!

Donna MacMeans said...

Christie - Great blog. I don't know if I know the difference between Alpha and Beta heroes. I thought Lord Nicholas Chambers was an alpha hero, until my editor said I write great Beta heroes (grin) so honestly, I'm not sure I know the difference. I like heros that are smart, have a great sense of humor, and are competent & responsible. They have to know how to take care of a heroine both in the sheets and out. Not sure what that makes him - but I want him (grin).

Pat Cochran said...

Thankfully, my Honey fits all the
characteristics I most enjoy: very
intelligent, great sense of humor,
trustworthy, is a great protector
of our family, and best of all: he
supports me in all I do!

Pat Cochran

Christie Kelley said...

Suz, who wrote Devil in Winter because I keep hearing about St Vincent and I haven't read it!

Christie Kelley said...

Donna, I can kind of see your editor's point. But I think Nicholas has a few alpha characteristics too.

Christie Kelley said...

Pat, isn't it wonderful when we marry our own hero.

Suzanne Welsh said...

oooooooooooo Christie, it's the third book in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series.

Christie Kelley said...

Okay, I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read Lisa Kleypas.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Christie! Great blog. I always love talking about heroes. Hmm, I don't have a particular type I like to read but I must admit, I love seeing a really self-confident guy be felled by love. There's also the tortured hero, of course. He's great fun. My current hero is always the one I'm in love with. I can't wait for WICKED LITTLE GAME to come out because I'm totally in love with Vane from that book. It's going to be very hard to let him go.

Hey, Nat, congrats on the Golden Rooster!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Great topic, Christie!
In fact, I was gonna blog about heroes tomorrow on my day. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

AWWWW! Thanx a bunch, Helen and Jeanne for mentioning my Irish hunk, Donovan. He is definitely a take-charge alpha type but NOT a jerk. I agree that alpha does not have to equal jerk, and I love when those strong heroes find a woman to match them!

AC

Christie Kelley said...

Christine, I so love to see a man brought to his knees by love.

Christie Kelley said...

Oh AC!! I'm sorry. This really was a last minute thing. I had planned to blog on Wed about the remodel, figuring I would have time tomorrow to write it and take pictures. Then I found out about Kathy and Julie not being able to be here. And I had no time on Sunday to do the pictures and the blog so I wrote about heroes. Sorry!

Jacklyn Craft said...

I agree that the alpha male was hot back in his day, but I prefer a hero who has flaws and is sometimes a little rough around the edges, yet underneath that exterior, when he sets his sights on "his" woman, she's what matters the most. He makes her feel protected and loved, yet he's not overpowering to the point where she's dependent on him or loses her own identity. He has to passionate and still have a touch of the "bad boy" going on.

jennybrat said...

What makes an unforgettable hero is one who is indomitable but is willing to make concessions because of the heroine and is always there for her.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Christie Kelley said...
Dianna, I feel rather ignorant today. What books are your favorite heroes from? I've heard of both but I don't think I've the books.

Sorry for delay Christie, I posted and then went to work, woke up with no heat yesterday so as soon as I got home I had to tend to that little problem.
Back to your question, Wulfric Bedwyn aka the Duke of Bewcastle is in the Mary Balogh book Slightly Dangerous.
St.Vincent is in Lisa Kleypas' book The Devil in Winter (Wallflower series). Totally drool worthy.