Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Day Two of #TemptedToWrite

Day Two:  What Does Your Hero Think about Love and Why?

Heroes and love.  The ultimate question.  There always has to be conflict between the two leads in any romance, and when much of the conflict is between how someone feels, and what they think they should feel, it can end up being quite explosive.
But of course, characterisation often depends a great deal on backstory.  As readers, we want to know how the hero ticks - and why.  It's not enough to just tell us why he reacts in any particular way; what is it about his background that makes him so?

Example Number One:  Trig in Kelly Hunter's What the Bride Didn't Know

All throughout their teens and beyond, he, Lena and Jared had pushed each other to be faster, cannier, more fearless.  It had got them into plenty of trouble.  Got them into the Secret Intelligence Service too.  Jared rising through the ranks because he was a leader born, Trig and Lena rising with him because they had skills too and the suits knew the makings of a crack infiltration team when they saw one.

No space between him and Lena at all when it came to what they knew about each other.  No strength or flaw left unexamined.  No shortage of loyalty or love.  Lena loved him like a brother and a comrade-in-arms, and that was worth something.  It was.

But sometimes she saw the reckless boy he'd once been rather than the man he was now.

Sometimes she coaxed him into competitive games he no longer had the heart to play.
What makes Trig stand out?  Trig already knows how he feels about Lena - he's head over heels for her - but he can't tell her because she's the younger sister of his best friend.  Kelly Hunter chooses to create a situation that prevents the hero from expressing his love, until Lena loses her memory and wakes thinking she's married to him...

Example Number Two:  Nate in Louisa George's Backstage with Her Ex

She was gorgeous.  Not Cara gorgeous, ut then he'd spent a lot of time trying to work out which parts of her were real and which were fake.  Certainly, her outspoken ministrations of everlasting love had been false.  Everlasting.  Pah.  In Hollywood everlasting meant five minutes.  But then, Sasha had promised him a lifetime too, and look where that had ended.
Man, this was wild.  He forced out a breath.  He'd forgotten all about her, consigned her to bad history and pushed her to the dark recesses of his brain.  Now here she was invading every thought, his space, the flame of red hair looking pretty darned perfect against the cream couch.

But self-indulgence had been too costly in the past and he'd do well to remember that.  Sasha might have held his heart once, but she'd damned near thrashed it too.  Taking her to bed would be mighty fine, but he'd never trust her with anything more.  Never again.
What makes Nate stand out?  Nate's relationship with women is complex, mainly because of the way he was continually rejected as a teenager, and specifically by Sasha.  So when Louisa George makes the two meet again, he has to cope with the way feelings he thought he'd left in the past come flooding back.

So, who did I think was worthy of receiving copies of both of these books?  Actaully, all the submissions were really really good, but for me Jean Barrett's Nicholas stood out.  Well done Jean!!
Nicholas Kent believes in love. He should. His two year marriage to Valerie was idyllic, and true to his marriage vows only death parted them.  Now, five years on, he's ready to honour his death bed promise to find love again. 

All good in theory, but he had a strong, loving marriage, with more laughter and joy than tears and arguments. Can a man really expect to find the same quality of love twice in one lifetime, or is he looking for the impossible? And what if he did find it? He's lost his soul mate before. 

What guarantee is there that fate won't deal him another underhand blow, and rob him of love too early second time around?
What makes Nicholas stand out?  Often, heroes refuse to believe in love, but Nicholas does.  However, his belief in love is tempered by the fact that he's already suffered the loss of love and so, as readers, we immediately want to know what who's going to help him!  Plus, I like the fact that his experience is different from many other heroes.  Good call Jean.

And join me tomorrow for an exploration of those sassy heroines. ;)

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