Tessa Dare: So, Cathy - we are here to talk about rogues! Which rogues everywhere will be delighted to know, since the incorrigible rascals love to be the topic of conversation. What is a rogue, anyhow? I suppose I think of rogues as characters who break the rules. And sometimes they break other things, like laws, promises, plate-glass windows, and noses.
Cathy Maxwell: Which makes them completely unheroic and unsuitable for anything but chores. I’m not a fan of the bad boy and I don’t think you are either, Tessa. Bad boys can be fun for a fling, but who wants to marry someone who breaks things, especially promises and noses? Plus, and I can say this because I’m older than you, every bad boy I once knew is now in rehab and they have just not aged well. So here is what I like—the explorer man, the bold man, the man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. (Am I sounding like an Old Spice commercial? Well, yes, I like that man!) And did I mention a sense of humor? The men I’ve loved have all made me laugh. I find a quick wit challenging and, yes, a bit roguish.
TD: Two of my favorite heroes have a lot in common: Rhett Butler and Han Solo. They have a taste for adventure, and disdain for falseness. They think their way around obstacles--and though they claim to act purely from self-interest, when the chips are down, they're capable of true loyalty and selfless heroism. I wrote a Rhett and Scarlett-inspired couple once: Miss Eliza Cade and Harry Wright in The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good MrThe Bride Says No. Wright. The title says it all!
CM: That was a wonderful story. Like Mr. Butler, Mr. Wright could kiss. You also nailed a quality I love in a man, honesty. I admire men who stand for something. Many of my heroes are searching for redemption. They battle the beast within and win—then they kiss very well.
TD: Most rogues make for reluctant heroes--but in the end, some of the truest ones. Ransom, the hero of Romancing the Duke, is that sort of hero. He's suffered a personal loss and a serious injury, and the last thing he needs is for a helpless woman to show up unannounced and faint in his castle courtyard--but of course, he's going to sweep her up and carry her inside anyway. It doesn't matter how gruffly he denies any heroic intent--Izzy sees straight through him.
CM: Maybe it is the heroines who are the true rogues—women who are willing to defy convention and carve out their own destiny. After all, isn’t that what each of us must do in our lives? Isn’t that what Izzy is doing? She is searching for more than love. And if one can be swept up into the arms of a sexy man by being herself, well, then what is not to like?
TD: For me, the best thing about writing strong-willed, stubborn heroes who make their own rules--be they lawless rogues or Alpha leaders--is that they need strong, smart, unconventional heroines to match them. The bigger the rogue, the harder he'll fall...when he meets the right woman, that is. In your new series starting with The Bride Says No you have not one, but two strong heroines! In fact, I almost wonder if Tara isn't the most roguish character in the mix.
CM: You know she is, Tessa. So, perhaps female rogues are far more fun than the male ones? And perhaps each of us, male and female, needs a bit of rogue time. Then we can move toward the more interesting things in life like being wonderful partners in a meaningful relationship.
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