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What's in a romance hero?
Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:06 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

Last week, I asked our Book Country Facebook followers to choose the best romance hero in fiction. You picked Mr. Darcy! Mr. Darcy may not be a hero from a modern romance novel, but he possesses 3 important characteristics that make him a great hero and a real heartthrob: he is flawed but sympathetic, and ends up mending his ways for the heroine. (More on this here: http://bookcountry.com/Industry/Article.aspx?articleId=137260.)

But I want to hear what you think: what are characteristics that a modern romance hero needs to have to rock your world? Also, what are some strategies you've used to craft the male characters in your books?
Nevena Georgieva
Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 11:10 AM
Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 438

Bumping this up to make it visible to everyone.
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 7:33 AM
Joined: 2/15/2013
Posts: 11

Honestly, I liked Christian Gray. I know that it may not be a popular choice to other writers. I liked that he was so flawed and he recognized it. I liked that the love story and love in general heeled him.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:39 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 227

I've been thinking about this for a while, and my favorite heroes are usually alpha (gawd, please give me more of Jericho Barrons!)--strong, arrogant, and bossy, usually "for the heroine's own good." 

When I'm writing, I like my heroes to understand and USE the powers of anticipation to build up the tension. Lots of sensual innuendo. Leaning in close--enough for breath to stir the tiny hairs on the skin--but pulling back before contact. In addition to the sexy side, they have to have heart, even if they don't show it all the time. Little things they may not be conscious of, such as stepping between the heroine and a threat--while denying any softer feelings for said heroine.

Oh! And observant. This is where my heroes may veer from reality (and enter my wishful thinking). They tend to be more accurately observant of things the heroine does or says, because they're paying attention.

TE Hauxwell
Posted: Saturday, April 27, 2013 11:32 AM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 18

My ideal romantic hero is a gentleman and an intellectual. I'm not a big fan of the rugged, alpha male types. The hero of my current story is a young artist who has been disabled by injuries received in the first world war. His journey is not so much one of reformation - like Mr Darcy - but recovery and acceptance.

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:25 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 17

For me, I think the ideal romantic hero is a mix of Mr. Darcy with his intelligence and demeanor, and throw in a bit of Alcide from True Blood. Kind of rough, but tender hearted ... with maybe the twang of a country boy.
Maya Starling
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:30 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

I like them to respect woman, not treat them as possesions, value their opinion and that they don't make all the decisions.

Give me a real man, maybe a bit rugged and rough but a gentleman at heart.

Oh.. I can't stand it when the male MC leaves/runs aways just to keep those he loves safe.

Such a cliche, such a nonsense... they always come back.

Danielle Bowers
Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013 9:13 AM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

I remember that poll.

When I read romance I like to see the hero as a real character, not the distilled ideal dream hunk.  I want to see a flawed, imperfect person with endearing qualities that makes him the perfect person for the heroine. 

Nothing makes me put a book down faster than finding a hero who is tall, dark, brooding, light eyed, and possessive. 

Look around you for hero inspiration.  Take Nathan Fillion, yes he's good looking but not classically so.  What makes him attractive is his charisma and sense of humor.  He sparkles on the screen, but can a writer capture that on paper?

Maya Starling
Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013 1:47 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

<3 Nathan Fillion!... him in Firefly... that's just something else.
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 9:47 AM
Nevena: I think we are so absorbed in finding a proper niche for our writing that we tend to forget how much all writing is alike. If market oriented, you design your work to fit the category most suited to connecting with like-minded readers. I volunteer in a library book cellar and observe a multitude of genres bound for their proper placement on the shelves. So much of what I see smacks of assembly line writing.Some perfunctory authors turn out their obligatory book every six weeks or so. This aesthetic notion of agonizing over a manuscript for years makes no sense for those seeking to make a living writing books. Unfortunately for purists like myself, I've never deemed writing as an occupation, just another way to make a living. As a consequence, I never consider what genre my current project will come under. But whether purist or realist, all writing touches to some degree on the human experience; characters in a mystery bleed just as red as those in general fiction. No matter the genre, the tears flow just as fully, the laughter explodes just as heartily, and the machinations of flawed humans tumble just as readily. For those writers who know exactly how to impose their work on the proper genre, they should be congratulated. For those who, as myself, gush with a compulsion to fill every page of every book with the full gamut of the human experience, I say Godspeed.

Mimi Speike
Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 1:37 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

DJS, I love the way you think. I bet your fiction is as gorgeous as your off-the-cuff commentary. 


I have a to-read list,  you'll go on it. And I'll get to you at some point. I'm reviewing on two sites, and I'm trying to push ahead on my own monster-under-the-bed that keeps me up at night. I jump up in bed often and turn to my bedside Mac, adding a thought or tweaking an earlier one. 


--edited by Mimi Speike on 12/6/2013, 1:44 PM--

Margaret Melchior
Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 9:42 AM
Joined: 1/7/2014
Posts: 8

I think I can most agree with Noelle here.

The romantic heroes I like to read about most - and I write myself - are always a bit rugged, a bit wild. I like when they DON'T want to show heart, when they are entirely convinced they don't need anybody, and when they are maybe just flirty because why they hell not but then realize that they might feel more for the heroine than they initially planned.


I have fun writing these characters most. There's very little I enjoy more than making my heroine fight a blush because he's leaning a bit too close to her and she doesn't WANT to find him attractive, because he's arrogant and cocky and thinks he's the greatest gift to womenkind to have ever walked the world, but she can tell there's more to him and she's just too curious to let that one slide.


And I say it with no shame, I love a good Prince who falls in love with a common girl!

Janet Umenta, Book Country Assistant
Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 10:58 AM
Joined: 4/7/2014
Posts: 142

I like how everyone has their own ideal romance hero.


For writer, Jill Shalvis, her romance hero must love animals! You can read about it on the blog


We hope to see you at RT!


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