The best part of being a romance writer is writing heroes who are manly and powerful, but sweet and tender. It’s also the most challenging task. But we romance writers have had great role models. We’ve seen all kinds of wonderful heroes between the pages of our favorite romance novels — from the men whose words make us melt, to the silent types whose actions speak louder than any words they might say.
Do you remember the heroes of Julie Garwood’s early books? How about Lord Royce, Nicolaa’s hero in The Prize. He was a gruff Norman knight but there was a kind and gentle side to him that was irresistible. And the heat they generated between them… Oh baby.
Then there was Katherine Woodiwiss and all her wonderful heroes: Lord Saxton, who buys Erienne at an outrageous auction in A Rose in Winter, and Ruark Beauchamp, who is saved from a wrongful execution in Shanna. These were unquestionably
drool-worthy heroes. And what about Jude Devereaux? In Sweet Liar, Jude wrote a hero for everybody’s tastes – Michael Taggert. And Stephen Montgomery, the Englishman who – against all odds – fell in love with Bronwynn, a highland lass. Their larger-than-life love gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
Along came the Clan of the Cave Bear series, which was more about the heroine than the hero, but Jondalar came through, quite amazingly. These books were original and incredibly imaginative. Who would have thought a story about a prehistoric woman would be so fascinating? Or so romantic?
Does anyone remember Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams? The conflict and the hero’s love for his woman nearly cost him his life. He was willing to give it in order to prove his love for her. It was maddening and brutal, and yet one of the most powerful love stories I’ve ever read.
Karen Robards wrote some truly fabulous historicals before switching to contemporary romantic suspense. Nobody’s Angel and This Side of Heaven were two sensual historicals set in colonial America. Very hot, very emotional.
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to find a romance set in pre-Revolutionary America any more, and it was such a vast, ‘anything is possible’ time with plenty of opportunity for adventure and romance. And heroes in buckskin? Daring rescues from dangerous situations?
My two Highlander books have heroes who are more apt to do something than talk about it, which is really my favorite kind of hero. I want him brawny and brash – a man’s man – but I also want him to be gentle with the heroine. I want her to get under his skin, and make him willing to sacrifice anything for her. (The Highlander’s Desire will be out later this year).
Now that I’ve told you some of my early favorites, what are the books that brought you over to the romance genre? Did you start with historicals like I did? Or was there something else that grabbed you?