Tag Archives: romance hero

Jill Shalvis on Romance Heroes: “No one wants to see a big strong hero using a baby voice”

Posted by May 13th, 2014

We’re spending the morning with the hilarious Jill Shalvis, author of the Animal Magnetism series of romance novels published by Berkley. Jill is one of the headlining authors at this year’s RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans this week. We can’t wait to see her at the conference!

Animal Magnetism books in the Penguin bookstore

Lucy Silag: Your Animal Magnetism books star characters who work with animals—a kennel owner, sexy vets, shelter workers. That’s not your everyday premise for a series of romance novels, but it totally works! Tell us about how love blossoms among the animals in Sunshine, Idaho.

Jill Shalvis: In my mind, there’s nothing sexier than a guy who loves and can take care of animals.  That’s how this series was born.  I kept circling back to this idea of a bunch of guys for whom animals were their whole life.

LS: It seems like it would be terribly difficult to gracefully write about pets—if it were me, I would devolve into baby voices and cooing. How do you do it? Continue reading

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What Makes a Great Romance Hero?

Posted by February 4th, 2013

Craft a male character that makes readers swoon.

romance-hero-craft

It’s unthinkable to write a successful romance novel or romantic story arc of any kind without a stormy, steamy romance hero. The plot may be fascinating and the writing style accomplished, but if the male lead doesn’t give me heart palpitations the book is a flop.

Last week, I urged our Facebook followers to pick the best romance hero in fiction. There were representatives from different genres—urban fantasy (Jericho Barrons), contemporary romance (Gideon Cross and Christian Grey), paranormal romance (Zsadist and Edward Cullen), and even classic literature (Mr. Darcy). The majority of you voted for (who else?) Mr. Darcy. Austen’s legendary hero just turned 200 yearsPride and Prejudice was published on January 28, 1813—so I was surprised when he so unabashedly overtook modern-day heartthrobs like Christian Gray and Edward Cullen.

Why is Mr. Darcy, who we never even see plant a kiss on Elizabeth’s lips, so universally loved? What makes a successful romance hero?

While there are nuances, there are three main characteristics great romance protagonists share with Darcy :

(Warning: Spoilers to Pride and Prejudice ahead.)

The Flaw

A truly great romance hero is not out to please anybody. He tends to be brusque and unpleasant—deeply flawed. Look at Edward Cullen from Twilight or Christian Grey from 50 Shades of Grey. Like Book Country member Danielle Bowers hilariously noted, “Christian Grey has more issues than National Geographic Magazine.”

Continue reading

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