Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Creating Heroes by Rhonda Frankhouser

When people find out I'm a romance writer, this question always seems to arise. How do I create my sexy heroes? Are they modeled after someone I know? A complete figment of my imagination or a fantasy lover, perhaps? 

The question always strikes me odd. I honestly don't know what kind of man I'll create for my heroine until my fingers sculpt him with the keys. I'm a pantser even with my characters. At least I thought I was.

My first sexy hero was Billy MacCallister. Son of a rival rancher. Younger brother of a childhood friend. He first came alive when Ruby rolled up the driveway of her grandmother's ranch, in Return to Ruby's Ranch. I felt his dedication and honesty before I ever pictured his face in my mind. He was good with the animals, an ace cowboy, and had the respect of his men. 

Ruby needed someone steady, and patient. She's was a hot mess, as they say. For someone to earn her trust, he had to be ever loyal to her and her plight to find the answers to her many questions about her family, yet he could not be a pushover. Ruby would never fall for a man who was too perfect. She needed someone real and flawed, who could love her for who she was. 

And so Billy evolved - the picture of him came clearly to mind. Stubborn waves of chestnut hair tucked behind his ears; bright green eyes that betray his secret childhood crush; a muscular body formed from hard work and the scent of sweaty horses on his sun-tanned skin. His slightly crooked smile, always with a secret to tell.   

Ruby couldn't deny her growing affection for Billy MacCallister, even though love was the last thing she was looking for on her journey home. She had to find out what really happened to her mother who had disappeared from the ranch two decades before. She needed to understand why her grandmother had lost her mind. She had to learn the ranching ropes and win the respect of the ranch hands or risk losing the ranch her grandmother had spent her whole life building. She couldn't let anything or anyone stand in the way of her goals.

So, back to the question at hand ~ Where do we come up with men who complicate our heroines lives? In this particular case, it turns out that Billy was also the man of my own dreams. I met and married my own Billy some twenty years after I had written his character out in this story. I'm not going to say that I'm clairvoyant, but I must have put in my order with a higher power. My creation's accuracy was right down to the green eyes and chestnut hair, strong and honest and dedicated to me like no one ever before. I'm one of the lucky ones - living out my own fantasies.

How do you come up with your heroes? I'd love to hear about your process? What kinds of heroes make you want to read on?

Ruby Lattrell spends her days caring for her ailing father and younger brother. When they no longer need her, her life lacks purpose. Then she inherits Ruby’s Ranch – the only real home she ever knew – the place where her mother mysteriously vanished. The smell of fresh cut hay and the most handsome cowboy she’s ever seen, Billy MacCallister, greet Ruby when she arrives at the ranch.

Billy MacCallister always dreamed Ruby would return home. When he finally sees her standing on Granny’s porch, now a mix of that sassy young girl he once knew and the reassured, sensual woman she is today, he knows his heart hasn’t misled him.  Before she can fall into the timeless love that Billy offers, they must solve the mysteries that haunt Ruby’s Ranch. Will digging up the past hurt more people than it helps? Will the truth they discover tear Ruby and Billy apart?

Thanks for listening!

Rhonda Frankhouser

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1 comment:

Julie Lence said...

Billy sounds like the hero we all want! So glad you found your real-life guy! Hugs, Rhonda