by Anna Sugden
I'm thrilled to welcome back my dear friend and one of our favourite Lair authors - the wonderful Virginia Kantra. It's particularly exciting because this means the wait for Sea Lord - the third book in her fabulous Children of the Sea series - is over! The Amazon pigeon is struggling across the ocean with my copy, as we speak *g*. Welcome, Virginia.
Thank you, Anna. It's always great to visit the Romance Bandits.
I understand you're talking about a special kind of hunky hero, in honour of your new release, Sea Lord.
I am. Today, we're going to be talking about The Prince.
Can't wait! Over to you, Virginia.
CINDERELLA'S PRINCE: Am I not Sensitive, Clever, Well-mannered, Considerate, Passionate, Charming, As kind as I'm handsome And heir to a throne?
RAPUNZEL'S PRINCE: You are everything maidens could wish for!
[Stephen Sondheim, "Agony" lyrics]
In "Into the Woods," Sondheim makes fun of princely heroes and fairy tale archetypes. I, however, am a sucker for The Prince. His appeal goes beyond his sword and crown, his servants and castle, even his charm.
Which is good, because the title hero of my latest release SEA LORD, selkie prince Conn ap Llyr, is determined, dedicated, disciplined and ruthless, but not particularly charming. Or sensitive.
That's okay. It's those other qualities that make him a good leader and explain the appeal of the prince.
Males in the animal kingdom compete for the right to reproduce. Not only must the male drive off or defeat his rivals, but his prowess - his ability to protect and provide - attracts his mate. You don't have to stretch your imagination to see how some paranormal writers (werewolves and tigers and bears, oh my!) make this work for them in their books. But even in the human kingdom, we still look for a hero who can protect and provide.
Maybe it's primal instinct, but we seem drawn to men who can protect us, who can guard the cave and defend our young. Which no doubt explains the popularity of Navy SEALs, gun slingers, cops, and the Undead. The ability to provide goes beyond hunting skills to social power and monetary power, which is why we have heroes who are dukes and billionaires.
Establishing the male’s fitness as a mate isn’t only a matter of physical prowess, of wealth or social standing, but of competence. Nora Roberts has said that to a woman with two small children, a hero is the man who can fix the toilet on a Saturday night. This may explain part of the popularity of the “nerd” books, in which the hero’s mental competence is at least as important as his physical strength.
Princes, kings, and sheiks combine all these qualities. They're strong, rich, powerful, competent, and commanding. In short, the quintessential alpha males, confident and fully capable of protecting and providing for the heroine and their people. What's not to love?
We-ellll...All those strengths can be pretty overpowering.
The prince's virtues can make him arrogant, inflexible, and overly protective. Any heroine who doesn't want to be locked in a tower ("for her own good") has to step up and take a stand.
The woman who dares to love a prince has to find her own power, her own strength, to match him. And when she does, he will respect her abilities and nurture her talents.
Yeah, I'm a sucker for The Prince.
So what about all of you? Do you go for the alpha type ruler or his steady second-in-command? The bad boy or the boy next door? How Charming does your prince have to be to talk his way into your...favor?
One lucky commenter today will win a prize!
USA Today bestselling author Virginia Kantra is a six-time RITA Award finalist and winner of numerous writing awards including the Golden Heart, Golden Leaf, Holt Medallion, Maggie, and two National Readers' Choice Awards.
Married to her college sweetheart and the mother of three kids, Virginia is a firm believer in the strength of family, the importance of storytelling, and the power of love.
Her favorite thing to make for dinner? Reservations.
Visit her on the web at www.virginiakantra.com or www.myspace.com/virginiakantra. You can also find Virginia on Facebook.