Terri Brisbin

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Jaunty Post, Terri Brisbin

Bathseba im Bade um 1530 When I was planning out my next book, I was faced with a serious question and a quandary — could a flawed man, a selfish one, who is bad at the beginning of a story really change and be a hero by the end? Would readers accept that a man who sends another man on a mission that ends in that man’s death, simply to give himself a chance to seduce the man’s wife?

As I began thinking about the last of my MacLerie Clan stories, I was ‘inspired’ by the Biblical story of David and Bathsheba — FYI – King David wanted/lusted after his friend Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. Since he was king and couldn’t commit adultery(multiple wives and concubines aside), he sent Uriah to the frontlines of battle to get him killed — then seducing Bathsheba wouldn’t be adultery. So, Uriah goes to the battle, gets killed and David gets Bathsheba. (there were lots of other consequences to this, of course!) I definitely planned to change some of that — but I really wanted to build on the premise.

So, when you read or write a romance, can the hero be a bad man at the beginning of the story as long as he’s heroic at the end? I mean I completely understand and agree that the hero being heroic is part of the process of a romance — he must be worthy of the heroine’s love in order to find that Happily-Ever-After. To me that’s a deal-breaker. But I don’t mind a bad boy. . . or a seriously bad/dangerous alpha male who is redeemed by love. I love a Regency rake or a medieval rogue. I love a tormented man, molded by his past, who must shatter the chains of that past to claim love.

What about you? Should a man who causes the death of another man in order to seduce his wife find happiness eventually? Is there any ‘deal-breaker’ hero/man for you in a romance? Anything that will stop you from enjoying a romance? Tell me — please!

Terri is working on her next book, the final (!!) MacLerie Clan romance for Harlequin Historicals. Visit her website for lots of info about her, her books and events!


7 thoughts on “Can A Hero Be. . . Bad?

  1. Fascinating question, Terri! I’ll admit that the scenario you’ve laid out makes me twitch … but a very successful author friend spent last night beating it into my head that unless I’m not routinely making myself uncomfortable when I write, I’m not pushing the story far enough. I’d like to say that a brilliant author can redeem a bad boy from anything … but I really need to believe that he has changed/learned his lesson, and that he’s going to treat the heroine and (most) others well moving forward.

  2. Such an interesting conversation, Terri! I’m with Jesse…he has to earn it. But I love redemption stories! So I say go for it.

  3. Terri, I think a good writer can pull off just about anything. For instance, who thought Lisa Kleypas could ever redeem St. Vincent from her Wallflower series? He kidnaps and assaults the heroine from the previous book! But in Devil in Winter, she completely redeems him – after almost killing him, of course. He has to go through a LOT before he gets his redemption. But short of serial killers or psychopaths, I think just about anyone can be redeemed.

  4. I’d done this before in my DUMONT series for Harlequin Historicals — a very bad man, very bad, is the hero of the second book and I sent him through purgatory AND hell to redeem him…. But it is a tough story to write!

  5. catslady says:

    I can’t say an immediate yes but but I probably could be convinced. Realistically, I’m sure it’s happened but that is a tough one – unless the husband wasn’t a good guy, that would make it easier lol.

  6. Shana Shana says:

    The thing about David was that he took responsibility for his actions. He was really sorry for what he did too. I mean, after Samuel or whoever it was called him on it. Still, I think that says something about a man’s character. But it does make for a difficult writing problem. I can’t wait to see how you handle it.

  7. Kirsten says:

    I do belief that everyone willing to change, deserves a chance to be the best person they could possible be. Should he have a major change of personality and really good intentions, then yes he can and should find a woman to love. Who holds the power of forgiveness & inspires him to keep It up. Make him work for it though!! Nothing in life comes easy and he needs to be worthy.

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