MUST LOVE FANGS author Jessica Sims chats about romantic heroes!
There’s just something about a romance hero.
He’s always a bit larger than life, of course. Never has anything but a six pack of abs, a sexy smile, and an absolute and complete fascination with the heroine. His hair might be long and flowing…or it might be shaved close to his head and he might be covered with tattoos. It all depends on the trend of the moment. You’ll never find a romance hero with a beer gut and wearing a stained T-shirt with a crude logo on it.
Everyone that hasn’t read a romance novel thinks they’re a cliche. That women like to read about Fabio-esque men because we live in a fantasy world where we really want to be swept away by a man who cannot believe it’s not buttah.
Of course, every romance reader — and writer — knows that’s not true. We might like a hero who’s a knight in shining armor, but they’re not cliches as much as they’re archetypes. They’re familiar and comfortable to readers, and writers love nothing more than throwing a good archetype into a story and watching how he interacts with others.
I personally love to play with archetypes in my Midnight Liaisons series. Each of my books deals with a different kind of hero…and the heroine I think is perfect for him. There’s also the added twist of paranormal elements, because it’s just another twist for the archetypes that I love to put through their paces.
Beauty Dates the Beast is more of a classic story. There’s a virginal damsel in distress, so who charges in to save the day? The controlling, rich alpha male in a business suit, of course! Except this alpha male has a tail and runs a were-cougar clan, while my heroine is most decidedly human. I like to think of it as a bit like a Harlequin Presents type of scenario, if the hero in the Harlequin changed into a large cat and had to deal with shapeshifter politics instead of say, local politics. At any rate, the twist of having paranormals in the story took it from standard to over-the-top exciting and fun for me to write.
Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter was a very different kind of story from the first one. Sara, the heroine, is in peril as well, but she’s an altogether different kind of heroine. For starters, she’s a reluctant werewolf. Her hero is a big, surly, scary were-bear who wants nothing more than to take care of her and ensure her safety. They start out in a pretend relationship and have to fake affection for each other, but by the end of the story, no one’s faking. I loved taking the trope of the ‘pretend relationship’ and turning it into something a bit different. Ramsey, the were-bear hero, has all kinds of baggage because of who and what he is. Ditto Sara. Throwing them together to see what came out of the story was a blast.
The most recent release in the series was Must Love Fangs, and in that one, the hero is an entirely different kind of archetype – the flirty man-ho. Josh is a were-cougar, and he’s used to having his share of women. He’s never lacked for attention. His heroine is prim human Marie, who’s up to her ears in her own set of problems. She’s dying at a very young age, and her solution is to look for a paranormal fix. If she can get turned into a vampire, she’ll be saved. Of course, shifters hate vampires, and Josh intends on having Marie for himself. It was so much fun to pair an overbearingly flirty shifter male with a human woman who wanted nothing to do with him…and see how they couldn’t possibly resist each other.
There are a few archetype heroes I haven’t touched on yet in the series: the widower, the enemy, the best friend, the knight in shining armor, etc. Actually, there are a ton of archetypes out there….I guess I’d better start writing faster if I plan on hitting all of them. 🙂