Tuesday, July 21, 2020

WHAT MAKES A HERO? By Kathleen Lawless @kathleenlawless

Ah, the character traits of a romance hero.  I remember the old Mills and Boon days, Harlequin’s parent company for those of you who remember back that far, when we referred to the hero as an SSB. A sneering, sardonic bastard.  He didn’t get a point of view in the story and the heroine was forever trying to interpret his hot/cold actions toward her.  Not until the very end did the heroine find herself swept against his manly chest and reassured that he had always loved her.  True love conquered all.

I’m happy today’s romance novels have come a long way.  What are some of the attributes that readers enjoy in a hero?  Given that single dad romances are enjoying a strong following right now, I would have to say compassion is right up there.  Today’s hero needs to be nurturing, but not wimpy. 

Personally, I prefer alpha males over beta males.  Men who are strong and capable and able to take charge, whether they are saving the world, saving the family ranch, or saving a kitten from a tree. 

As Jayne Anne Krentz states in the introduction to “Dangerous Men, Adventurous Women”, Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance, “…women value the warrior qualities in men as much as their protective, nurturing qualities.”   Krentz goes on to add that he is taught to control the two halves of himself, “so that he can function as a reliable mate and as a father.”     

That sounds about right to me.  And those traits were never far from mind as I created the heroes in WIDOWS, BABIES AND BRIDES, FOUR COMPLETE HISTORICAL WESTERN ROMANCES together in one convenient boxed set.
I believe a true hero is one who is willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of others, whether it is the heroine, her family, or an entire community. 

Rafe, in CALLIE’S HONOR has loved and lost and has only revenge on his mind.  Until he meets Callie and his protective instincts kick in.

Jesse, In ANORA’S PRIDE is a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy.  But he can’t leave Anora.

Jud, in MADDY’S FUGITIVE, is a fugitive on the run, intent on clearing his name.  He has no time for Maddy, yet puts his own needs aside to offer her protection and respectability.

Dex, in GRACE’S FOLLY, is a Pinkerton detective whose mission is in complete conflict with what Grace needs from him. Yet somewhere along the way, Grace’s needs take precedence over his own.

I love each of these heroes and hope you do as well.  The box set is on sale until tomorrow only for 99 cents.  That’s a $9 saving, so go ahead and treat yourself to a dose of strong western heroes and the women who tame them. 


Julie Lence said...

Hi Kathleen: I remember those old Harlequin heroes well. The traits were the same in many of the books I read that were not Harlequin, and how I based my very 1st hero, until I joined a writing group and made him more endearing. Today, I love the alpha male with a teddy bear heart and look forward to reading your box set. Hugs!

kathleen Lawless said...

Thanks Julie. I love your expression alpha male with a teddy bear heart. That is perfect!

ptclayton said...

I love the blog today and love to read about women such as mail order or widows etc,, I can't take advantage of the special as can only do print but i will watch for a sale I am battling a disease that has taken over my entire body and drs can't do a thing to stop it. Thank you Kathleen for posting this today peggy clayton

Marcia King-Gamble said...

I grew up on Mills and Boon books and thought that was what an attractive man was supposed to be like. Not. Though Alphas are intriguing, and I like to find out what makes them tick. Went to buy the set only to find out I already own them. Definitely on my to read list. Here's to many sales.

kathleen Lawless said...

Peggy, I am so glad you enjoyed the post and very sorry to hear of your health issues. I must confess, I still prefer a paper book over an ebook, but you and I are fast becoming the minority.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I remember the old Mills and Boon romances. So often the heroine was really young and the hero was almost twice her age. I'm glad the romance industry has progressed.