Like many authors, I write what I know and I have solid ideas about what makes a hero. At the top of my list of hero characteristics is strength, or perhaps a better word would be toughness. Not that that trait doesn’t have its drawbacks. Believe me, it’s not always comfortable to be attracted to a tough guy. I know this because I will have been married to one for 34 years next week, but hey, tough guys do it for me.
If my father were still alive, he’d tell you he always knew I’d marry one. I know this because he told me so as we waited in the vestibule of that church 34 years ago just before Dad walked me down the isle. He wasn't a tough guy by anyone's standards, but he was a strong man, witnessed by the day he picked up a baseball bat and attempted to track down the guy who attacked me in a town park when I was thirteen. Thank God we didn't find him that day, because I have no doubt my fun-loving father, who never lifted a violent hand, would have crushed the cretin’s skull for preying on his little girl if we had.
That’s what strong men do. They act when action is required and they fight for those they love. It’s in their genes. Some women like their men that way. It’s in their genes. I’m one of them. As a strong woman who knows her worth, I need a strong man who won’t crumble beneath my confidence. I appreciate a man who sees my feminine confidence as a strength rather than a symptom of PMS. And I like a man who is willing to go after something he wants, especially when that something is me. I like a man who is willing to stand up for what he believes. A man who speaks his mind and is willing to die for me, even if I don’t deserve it.
The man I’m describing has faults, as do I. He gets angry, like me, but when the dust settles, he apologizes if he’s in the wrong. Sure, he has definite beliefs and isn’t afraid to voice them, but he also listens. He’s a guy. He’s quite often wrong, but he’ll never let you down when you really need him. That’s the man I married. Not perfect, certainly, but dependable as a Timex. I’d trust him with my life, and do.
I write what I know and because I want my heroines as happy as I have been all these years, I give them similar heroes. Unfortunately, an occasional reviewer disagrees. I recall one who trashed one of my heroes as a scary violent guy because he was pissed at the heroine and said so. Mind you, I don’t do violence in my romances, so I can't help wondering what this particular reviewer’s perfect hero looks like. For that matter, what type of men is she dealing with in her life? Are they so perfect, or docile, they never have a moment of anger? If so, she should probably watch out. Either they’re in love with their sister, haven’t come out of the closet yet, or they’re conning her royally. I have yet to meet a man, or woman for that matter, who doesn’t lash out in anger in times of conflict, and if you’re reading a romance…hello, conflict is essential.
The truth is, as in real life, no hero or heroine is perfect, but we all have our tastes. What qualities are necessary in your perfect hero and are there ever deal-breaker traits that make you toss the book aside, or worse, trash the book in a review?
When Mac isn’t hissing at stupid reviewers, she spends her time weaving HEAs for her tough guy heroes and their ladies, like Wyatt and Piper, the hero and heroine of To Win Her Smile, the last in her Players series from Kensington releasing 7/18/17