Monday, February 18, 2008

Do we need a different hero?

Their legs brushed as he moved, so sure, so confident... " that right?" She hesitated.

"Trust me." Low and heated, he answered her, moving even further into her darkest places, hands searching, touching, stroking - secure in the way of a man who knew what he was doing.

"I do." She breathed the words, afraid to break the magic of the moment.
His back arched and he froze in place...she felt a tingle from her toes to her eybrows. "Oh Lord..."

"There. Got it."
Her monitor flickered to life and she bit back a cry of delight. He'd done it. He'd fixed her computer. Yeah, sometimes a working computer IS better than an orgasm. She smiled at her own thoughts, then looked down. From this angle, tucked under her desk, he really did have a nice ass!

So that was fun. And something that isn't out of place in a hot erotic romance novel. But yes, I'm as guilty as the next author when it comes to making those heroes out-of-the-ordinary guys. Dukes, warlords, CEO's... sure. Barons and knights, Lords and Earls - you won't find too many humble dudes with everyday jobs in erotic romances. I confess, there is a lure to authors in this kind of man, the alpha male type we know and love.

So where (as my sister Hussy so poignantly asked) are the accountants? The shepherds? The tech support guys? Personally, I draw the line at tech support. If you've ever been on the phone, listening to soppy music, while some dude who says his name is Ross (but you know it's actually Mumble Jumble, he's twelve years old - or sounds it - and his 'office' is in Outer Burundi) mispronounces your name and tries to help you get your operating system to function - well, it ain't pretty and it sure isn't something I want in my next novel.

Putting personal issues aside, though, it is very true that most romance heroes fit a certain mold. This makes it easier for us writers, of course. A strong point in its favor. We're not lazy, but we're human. Plus undercover cops probably have more exciting cases than cops on the beat.

A CEO has money (nice dinners and a cool place to seduce the heroine), while Frank in Cubicle B shares a fourth floor apartment with two roomies and a cat. Again, it's a challenge to make hot romance work amidst Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft and kitty litter. Dukes can hop into their carriages or onto their finest steeds at the drop of a cloak, rather than having to walk five miles over hill and dale to rescue/seduce/claim their heroine, always assuming they've got the breath left to do it when they get there.

So, yes, it's convenient to have a top-of-the-pile hero. And when you take this thought one step further - it's what GOT them to the top-of-the-pile that makes them a hero. They have guts, spunk, moxie, charm, drive and passion. (Well, Dukes and Lords are born into it, but we'll ignore that because it mucks up my argument. That's called Literary License. :) ) The very features that create these men propel them into the role of hero when it comes to spicy romances. They're not afraid to take risks with their careers and they're not afraid to take the heroine to exquisite heights. Or twentieth floor penthouses, whichever comes first. A fine Chardonnay is more conducive to romance than a six-pack of lite beer.

Is there a point here? Yep. We LIVE with the six-pack, cubicle B, kitty litter guy. We wash his shorts, prepare his food and occasionally bear his children. We love him, we're committed to a life with him, and it's all good.

BUT...when we open that romance novel? We'd like to see our heroine doing improbably hot and gymnastic type things with a guy we don't know. A fantasy man who isn't really much like anyone we've ever met. We'd like to lose ourselves for a couple of hours in a world of silk and lace, elegant dinners and fabulous sheets, sleek spacecraft and dark vampire passions.

In other words, we don't really need another hero in our lives - the one we have is just perfect, be he accountant, plumber or CEO. But in our romance novels? Yes. That's where we need and adore the totally unreal dude. It's all about the wonders of escapist fantasy, folks. Come travel with me to a place where things are different - men are different - and leave the everyday stuff behind for an hour or two. Come curtsey to that wicked Lord, flirt with that bold knight, go toe-to-toe with that lusty alien starship captain and succumb to the seductive tones of the CEO in the back of the limo. None of them will ask you to wash his shorts, or what's for dinner.

They're not real. But then again, we write fiction. And that's what "fiction" means - a creation of our minds. And, in the case of erotic romance authors, a few other bits as well. But we won't go into that here.

All of which has nothing much to do with surviving Monday, but I will note that one or two fantasies about my heroes (and possibly Mr. Clooney who has the added advantage of being quite REAL and thus unique) have helped me survive the first day of the week. So maybe today's the day for you to dig up that book with that ONE hero who really did it for ya. Let him do it again. After all, he's a fantasy man with no limits on his prowess. He can do it as many times as you want.

Ah yeah....ain't fiction grand?


Karen Erickson said...

Great blog post and so true. Those over the top heroes are delicious! But I have to admit - my very first novella published was about an IT guy. Who just happened to own the company but the heroine didn't know that at first. LMAO


NathalieGray said...

Ha! And I bet she went on and on about how sucky that company was, in front of the hero, too :)