New York Times best-selling romance author Suzanne Enoch shares the inspiration for her latest hero, and gives us a list of the leading men of romance who set her pulse racing. Her latest work can be found in the holiday anthology "Christmas Brides," available on Kindle now.
At this very moment I have a photo of Joe Manganiello pinned on my desktop, as the physical inspiration for the hero I’m currently writing. I get to spend all day referring to his dark, unruly hair and his fine physique, and in my mind he also has a hot Scottish accent. Yep, it’s rough being a romance writer.
A romance hunk doesn’t always start out being a hero, of course. Sure, he has to have at least one redeeming quality, something that keeps the reader both interested in reading more about him and rooting for him to become a better man. He can be perfectly handsome from the beginning, but if on page one he’s a perfect character, that’s just boring. Maybe he’s selfish, or careless, or distrustful, abandoned, or wounded, vampiric, or werewolfian. What incentive, then, does this handsome lad have to improve himself? Ah, that would be the heroine. He has to see something special about her, something that calls to the best part of himself.
The male protagonist of a historical romance, which is the genre I write, has a fair number of employment (or lack thereof) possibilities from where he can begin his transformation into hunky hero – he can be the younger son of an earl, a soldier of fortune, a gambler, a duke, or a down-on-his-luck adventurer, among many other things.
And then there are princes, especially tall, black-haired, green-eyed princes like Prince Wulfiniski from Karen Hawkins's How to Pursue a Princess. That man has it all - broad shoulders, smoldering green eyes, and a wicked sense of humor that threw the poor heroine - and me! - into a flutter every time he walked into the room. All that and he's a prince to boot. What's not to love?
I never could resist a knight in shining armor, either, and Sir Gareth of Caerleon in Teresa Medeiros's Shadows and Lace is particularly irresistible. When the deliciously dark and brooding Gareth wins the fair Lady Rowena in a dice game with her deadbeat dad, he has to decide if his lust for revenge or his lust for Rowena will win out. This one has all of the humor, passion and charm you'd expect from a Teresa Medeiros romance and Gareth is a hero for all ages!
Oh, and then there's something about an American hero in Victorian England – especially when he's as smart as he is handsome, a self-made man with an eye toward the future and a wicked sense of humor that's impossible to resist. Even if the very proper heroine in Victoria Alexander's The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride is determined to do just that. Come on. We've met him. She doesn't stand a chance.
In my Rogue with a Brogue, Arran MacLawry is the heir apparent to the leader of clan MacLawry in the Scottish Highlands. He’s suspicious of the English, and even more so of any Campbells, the long-time enemies of his own clan. The last person he would ever intend to fall in love with is Mary Campbell, then, but that’s just what he does. And she falls for him as well, because he’s a Scottish laird’s brother and tall and broad-shouldered, with black hair that falls over his brow in the breeze, eyes bluer than a Highlands summer morning sky, and he dances a fair waltz. Yes, he’s drop-dead gorgeous – and he’s fair minded and witty and honorable even if he does like to fight and tends to kiss young ladies in public. You know, a hunk. A hero.
Do you have a favorite romance hero? Did you like him from page one, or did he grow on you during the course of the novel?
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