I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero
‘Til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
Bonnie Tyler – “I Need A Hero” Lyrics
Larger than life, yes indeed—but real as well.
Let me start this article by saying that while I read all the time, my leisure time reading is very limited, and for that reason, I mostly read historical fiction when I read for enjoyment. I like nothing better than to settle into a good bit of historical fiction, romance or otherwise, where the heroes are larger than life and the story sweeps me away to another time, another place.
Everyone’s perception of a hero is different and vive la différence. If I believe everything I see on Facebook, we all love to look at great looking guys and fancy them heroes in romance novels. No one is immune to good looks, muscles, and riveting eyes.
In historical fiction, the hero is almost perfect, until we get to know them. It is in that discovery of his foibles that we learn to love him along with the other hero or heroine. That’s the way it should be. That’s why I love broken heroes, and how they deal with what broke them.
We’ve all been broken at one time or another—lost loves, alienated affections, reduced circumstances. Many years ago, I divorced and raised two children by myself until I met Clint and we married five years later. Thirty-four years later, we are still happily married, and each day is a modest triumph over life and its relentless need to break us somehow. In real life, he is my hero for more reasons than I have time to write about. Many heroes in my fiction have one or two of Clint’s traits that I conceal enough that only I know.
But that is where real life diverges with fiction. In my reading. I want heroes that are larger in personality and action than any I’ve known. They have problems, but none of the everyday kind. I don’t want to read about paying bills and grocery shopping. Give me something extraordinary. Perhaps he is a tad insecure (not too much so,) or he is someone who can’t make up his mind, or he’s in a relationship that anyone can see is bad for him and only the right person convinces him of his folly.
Reviews and some blog posts raise questions about our perceptions of heroes. Some readers want everyday guys as the heroes in novels and question why every hero has to be devastatingly handsome, built like a brick house, and be rich as Croesus.
The answer? Why not?
In many, many historical romance novels, most heroes are tall, dark, handsome, enigmatic, perfect smile, brilliant, hung, and irresistible. They aren’t ordinary. They live in mansions, never have to work, ride horses, and fall in love with either devastatingly handsome men or women of unparalleled beauty.
While they might have problems we can empathize with, for them, their extraordinary intellect solves them, after a fashion, and with varying degrees of difficulty. Their conflicts are epic (save for the infamous misunderstanding stuff which has played itself out—just talk to each other!) and their makeups are equally as rewarding for the reader.
Much like movie stars, I want the heroes in romance novels to be heroes beyond the reach of mere mortals, be they very rich peers of the realm or a cowboy on the wild American prairie. A soldier during World War II or a gangster in the early days of Hollywood. Larger than life. We all have enough real life—Hero, take me away.
I don’t want to read about someone who looks and lives like my next door neighbor—he’s an older guy with a paunch anyway. When I open a book, I want something I can’t find in real life. Something beyond my personal knowledge.
Did you dream of the guy next door while growing up, or a knight in shining armor? While I had pictures of my favorite rock ‘n roll stars on my bedroom walls, I had my sights on a nebulous guy who’d take me away “from all this.” And he did, in a shiny silver Nissan 280Z.
Do you love larger than life heroes with a kinky sex life?
Musa Publishing launches its Eros line of erotic romance and erotica on August 15th, and I’m honored to have one of the first four books in the line.
Pre-order my upcoming historical romance, Lucien and Serenity, Book One in the Sapphire Club series.
Blurb: Ten years after she abandoned her marriage, and in fear for her life, Serenity Damrill returns to London. Desperate to win her husband’s unwitting protection, Serenity submits to the unusual marriage her husband proposes.
No longer the man she married, Lucien has devoted years to the creation of the Sapphire Club, the premier sex club in London, where members realize their wildest dreams. When his frigid wife returns, he sees little reason to entertain a resumption of the marriage, unless she submits to the type of intimate relationship he’s come to crave.
When Serenity’s past comes to call, her deceit is revealed and the fragile peace between husband and wife hangs in the balance.
Ah, but at the Sapphire Club, rules don’t exist, and anything is possible…
Join me and many others for the Eros line launch party on August 15, right on Facebook. Musa Publishing is giving away a Kindle Fire, free books, and you’ll be able to chat with your favorite erotic romance authors. Come on by and join the fun.
Tell me about your favorite heroes in fiction. I’d love to know!
Until next month, big Hugs,
About me: Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Musa Publishing will a great many of Brita’s historical romances, including the rewritten and expanded, best-selling Sapphire Club series.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.
Readers can find more information about Brita Addams at any of the following places:
Monthly column at The Novel Approach
And the Rest is History WON Radio/Blog Talk Radio shows
Join me on Tuesday, July 29, at 2pm Central, for my radio show, And the Rest is History. I interview Heidi Thomas, an award-winning author “born with ink in her veins.” If you miss the live broadcast, follow the link for a replay anytime.