Shana’s blog yesterday got me thinking about sexy heroes (like I actually needed an excuse). But to go in the other direction from animated heroes, let’s talk about the wicked ones and why are they so damn sexy?
This question was posed to me for this blog and I decided to tackle the topic because well, who doesn’t love to talk about sexy men? Now the easy answer is…because they’re HOT!
I take this notion of creating heroes quite serious. Consider it for a moment…when you’re reading a romance novel, you want to root for the heroine and fall in love with the hero. If I can’t create a hero that readers can fall in love with, then I’m not doing my job right.
But what is it about the wicked ones, the bad boys, that really call to us? They don’t in the real world (for the most part). I mean most of us are married to the good guys. I know I am. My husband is a college professor for Pete’s sake. While he’d love to thing of himself as a rough-and-tumble tough guy, he’s a big ‘ol softy. So that’s what I want to come home to every night, but when I snuggle up with a book, sometimes I want that rogue.
I think the biggest appeal is not so much how naughty they are, but that they’re naughty with a chance at being redeemed. We want to be that woman that brings that bad boy to his knees. We secretly long to be that girl, the one with the stack of books and the glasses sitting in the school cafeteria and the hottest guy in school walks past those cheerleaders because he can see the reality of who that girl is. He wants to know her. It’s all tied into that fantasy.
So the redeem-ability factor is huge. The other thing is those naughty men give the heroines a reason to be naughty, even if only behind closed doors. It’s nice to fantasize about being able to be daring and reckless with a man, to trust him so much we’d let him take us anywhere.
All right readers, your turn, who’s your favorite bad boy hero? It can be TV, book, movie, whatever.
How They Met Themselves, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, watercolor, 1864
Not long ago the Norwegian and I were out for dinner when a complete stranger approached me and asked if I had seen the show Breaking Bad. I hadn’t, but he told me that Anna Gunn, the woman who plays Skyler White on the show, was my doppelgänger.
I looked her up when I got home. I could see a vague resemblance in the photograph. Of course, it piqued my curiosity about the show, especially since it has garnered so many awards. I started watching it and now I joke that I have a serious meth addiction. Really, I don’t. And I know drug addiction is no laughing matter, but the show’s writing is incredible and the acting is superb… But I digress.
They say everyone has a double. I guess mine might be Anna Gunn – sort of. We’re not identical. Our noses are completely different, and once I started watching the show and saw a more dimensional version of the actress, I thought she and I resembled each other less. Sometimes I think mannerisms and certain expressions make people similar even if they don’t look alike. In fact, that’s one of the story lines in my book, Celebration’s Baby, which will be out in April 2014. A secondary character, Maya, lost the love of her life years ago. He died in an accident and she hasn’t been able to love since. Fast forward years later, a man who reminds her of her old love shows up. She can’t decide if she’s attracted to him because he reminds her of her dead lover or if her heart is truly ready to love again.
He’s not exactly a doppelgänger, not in the true sense of the word. Then again, the meaning of the word has changed over the years. In folklore, doppelgängers are perceived as sinister versions of a person – an evil twin. In the old days, when you saw your doppelgänger, it was a harbinger of bad luck or an omen of death.
But, of course, the contemporary meaning of doppelgänger is simply a look-alike. Doppelgängers are a running gag through the sitcom How I Met Your Mother: at one time or another, the characters have spotted uncanny look a likes of each other, except for Barney (Neil Patrick Harris’s character). The absence of his doppelgänger is used as a significant plotline, which I won’t spoil in case you haven’t seen the show and want to.
Who’s your doppelgänger?
Celebration’s Bride is available now!
RT Book Reviews gives Celebration’s Bride 4.5 stars and says, “Thompson’s reality TV show setup rocks the pages with its quirky cast. Her couples’ imperfections make them realistic and alluring….”
Celebration’s Family - February 2014
Celebration’s Baby - April 2014
My new book CELEBRATION’S BRIDE hit the shelves yesterday! It’s a milestone in my career because it’s my twentieth published novel! My how time flies when you’re having fun! In celebration (no pun intended – since the book is set in Celebration, Texas), I thought I’d do a Q&A that gives you a little more insight into the writing process and characters. If you answer my question at the end of the post, you could win a gift card!
* Where did you get the idea for CELEBRATION’S BRIDE?
This is the fourth book in my Celebration’s, Inc. series, which is about a group of women who run a catering business that’s also featured on a reality television show called Catering to Dallas. CELEBRATION’S BRIDE is Sydney James’s story. Since she has been a prominent secondary character in the other books in the series, the idea for her story developed organically out of the other books.
* Tell us about the hero of the book? Why will we fall in love with him?
Miles Mercer is one of my favorite heroes I’ve ever written. He’s a complex guy who is more than a little disenchanted with life: his career is not at all where he thought it would be at this point in his life, and he and his father have some “issues” to workout. Yet, the other members of his family remain at the heart of everything he does. In fact, one of my favorite aspects about his character is his capacity to love.
* Tell us about the heroine?
Sydney is a major commitment-phobe, in both life and romance. Because she grew up in the foster system, she’s never settled in one place for long. She’s been in Celebration, Texas much longer than she thought she’d be. She knows her job on the reality television show Catering to Dallas, which chronicles the inner workings of the Celebrations, Inc. catering company, will not last forever. If life has taught her one thing, it’s that nothing this good ever lasts. She interviews for an overseas job that seems a perfect fit and a logical next step in life. But when Catering to Dallas gets a new director, career-driven Miles Mercer, suddenly things look especially delicious in the catering company’s kitchen.
* What life lessons do your H/H learn before they can find their happily-ever-after?
Growing up in the foster care system, Sydney has never known what it’s like to have permanent family ties. When she meets Miles and his big, boisterous family, she sees the beauty in their bond and, in turn, she helps Miles learn the importance of making amends with his father. Along their journey to happily-ever-after, Sydney learns to trust and Miles learns to forgive. It soon becomes evident that through their growth they’re both ready to fall in love.
* What was your favorite scene to write?
There’s a scene in the book where Sydney, who is a bit perturbed with Miles, calls him late one night expecting the call to go to voice mail because his cell phone should be turned off and he should be sound asleep. Much to her dismay, he picks up and she completely forgets her well-rehearsed speech because she’s so flustered. Of course, he seizes the opportunity to flirt with her until she forgets why she’s angry…or maybe she suddenly realizes her bone simply doesn’t matter anymore.
* What do you feel are some of your strengths as a writer and how did those show up in this particular book? I love developing characters that my readers would want to call friends. So, it’s especially fun when these characters make appearances in other books both before and after they’ve found their own happily-ever-afters. Also, I grew up in a small, close-knit community and in CELEBRATION’S BRIDE; I hope I’ve been able to create that same sense of place that I cherished as I was growing up.
* So, does that mean some beloved characters from your previous books show up in this one?
Oh, yes! As I mentioned earlier, this is the fourth book in the Celebrations, Inc. series. So, many of the cast members of my previous books make appearances in CELEBRATION’S BRIDE. It’s a lot of fun writing about them. It’s like visiting old friends. And the friendship among the four girlfriends, Sydney, Pepper, A.J. and Caroline, continues to play as important a role in this book as it did in the others.
* Is there an underlying theme to the story?
This book is about finding love and family where in the most unexpected places. It’s also about redemption and the power of love and forgiveness.
Tell me about a milestone in your life. What did it mean to you? What are your goals now? As I said, one person who comments will win a $10 gift card (Amazon or Barnes and Noble – your choice). I hope you’ll enjoy reading CELEBRATION’S BRIDE as much as I loved writing it. Thanks so much for being part of the Jaunty Quills community and making it possible for us to do what we love.
In my new book, CELEBRATION’S BRIDE, which will be available June 18, the heroine, Sydney, has a history of being somewhat of a vagabond, moving every few years. Because of her tendency for itchy feet, she usually doesn’t accumulate many personal possessions so she can travel light.
Lately, the Norwegian has been contemplating retirement and we’ve been talking about downsizing and traveling. Naturally, that means I’ll have to pare down. I’m making peace with buying books for my Kindle. That way I’ll be able to take my library with me wherever we go because I couldn’t live without my books. There are several other special things I won’t be able to part with either. Here are just a few of them:
My animals (Marie is the cat; Samantha is the corgi). Of course, it’s a given that the animals will come with us. Or if we travel abroad, the Crown Princess will care for them. Still, it will be difficult to leave them even temporarily.
My office is my sanctuary. I love going to work every day, and it’s a pleasure spending a lot of time in here. I have a huge glass-top desk. It’s not only great for working, but it also cleans up easily when I art journal on it. I have it sitting a third of the way out into the room, so that I face the door and my back is to the wall (my art table is in front of the desk along the left wall). I’ll probably have to downsize the desk when we move. But for now, here’s a picture of the left side and some of my favorite things I will definitely be able to take with me. That’s an inkwell with a feather pen that the Norwegian gave me for Christmas a few years ago; the “N” is a paperweight the Crown Princess gave me for Christmas; next to that is a “magic wand” Kathy Garbera gave me (and yes, it really works ); behind that are two tea cups my good friend Mimi gave me; that’s a picture of the Norwegian and me in Paris; the smaller photo is me with the Crown Princess many moons ago, back in my auburn-hair days); that’s my prized Eiffel tower lamp and on it is a magnet of Berthe Morisot that Kathy G. sent me from London and a small beaded change purse that I found in an antique shop and couldn’t live without.
I have an art table in a corner of my office. The picture shows just the tip of the art supply iceberg. I have so much paint, paper and ephemera and stuff that might come in handy for a future art journal project. I don’t know how I will part with it. However, since the definition of ephemera is transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved, maybe that’s all the more reason I need to let it go…in due time. I mean, not tomorrow… or even next year… But I do need to think of what items I should put in a portable art journal kit.
Here are a few more of my favorite things that I will take with me:
Crown Princess made this for me for Mother’s Day. I wouldn’t part with it for anything.
Stepping outside my office, into our backyard, we’ve planted a fabulous little herb garden. I’m so spoiled by the fresh herbs; I’ll have to buy potted ones since I won’t be able to take the garden with me when we go.
Finally, there’s my Don Juan rose bush. The Norwegian gave it to me for Mother’s Day several years ago. It’s in a large planter. So, we were actually able to bring it with us when we moved into this house five years ago. We’ll take it with us when we move again.
What do you have that would be difficult to give up?
We’re all readers here at the Jaunty Quills and I thought it might be fun to geek out today and chat about some books we’ve read recently. So answer the following questions and let’s chat. I’ll pick two commenters to win a copy of my novella, Her Gentleman Thief.
What’s the best book you’ve read recently? For me, it would have to be our own JQ, Kristan Higgins, Catch of the Day. It was just delightful with a heroine I could relate to (in so many ways) and a hero I wanted to spend a lot of alone time with….
What’s your favorite book series? Is it stupid for me to comment that this is a hard question? Don’t answer that. I can’t not mention Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, but I’m going to disqualify those and make myself pick a romance series, I’d have to say it’s a toss up between JD Robb’s In Death series and Suzanne Enoch’s Lessons in Love.
What does a book have to have to make it on your keeper shelf? I have to not only love the book and the story, but both characters. There have been plenty of books I’ve read where I’ve really loved either the hero or the heroine but not both, but to be a keeper, it’s got to be 100% love fest.
What’s the saddest book you’ve read? I don’t generally pick sad books because I don’t like to deal with much angst when it comes to my reading material, I remember I read a book (many years ago) called The Marriage Bed by Stephanie Mittman and I sobbed through the whole book.
Who is your go-to author when you need to fall into a book and you know they won’t fail to satisfy you with a great story? Suzanne Enoch or JD Robb
So how about you? Let’s talk books and you might win a free one for yourself!