We all do it — fall in love with someone else’s hero. We always have. Robin Hood. Ivanhoe. Mr Darcy. John Thornton. Raoul de Valmy.
Also, in my case, Brian de Bois Guilbert, Humphrey Beverley, Faramir and Captain Carrot. I like geeks, loners and oddballs. Even those with the occasional dash of villainy, at least as long as I could redeem them. What can I say?
Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that a heart-stopping hero constitutes a good slug of the fun of fiction.
Liz Fielding’s Hero
So I don’t really know why I was so surprised when I fell hard for the hero of an unpublished novel by one of my favourite romance authors, Liz Fielding. Except that the book was not only unpublished, the story was still on the drawing board.
But there was something about the way she talked about her Fredrik…
He had that inscrutability. Something was going on underneath his supremely controlled competence. I could feel it. My fingers itched to get at him.
It felt faintly shameful. I recognised it. I had hero envy.
For I had joined three stunning authors to write a quartet of linked books set around a royal wedding in an English country church, published by Tule.
The four of us got together to talk about our characters and the world we were going to create.
Visiting Castle Combe, a perfect English village, and having lunch in at the Manor House Hotel was just necessary research. Tough job, as Jessica said. But it had to be done.
Jessica Hart’s Hero
So we all went back to writing our books. I told myself that Fredrik belonged to Another Woman. And I needed to stay loyal to my own Prince Jonas. Concentrating hard, I managed it too.
Until Jessica Hart (she also writes as Pamela Hartshorne) sent me the first draft of her story.
And up came Max. And he was this wonderful, practical, grumpy, responsible, inarticulate Englishman who drank terrible coffee and worked all hours and loved his children and his dogs and his decaying stately home…
Yes. OK. In love. Again.
And he wasn’t mine either.
Anne McAllister’s Hero
Now, Anne is the writer who convinced me to look again at cowboys, which was no mean feat. They really weren’t my fantasy until her skilful, principled, competent guys crossed my bookshelf.
So I knew I was going to love her hero. Well, of course I was. He was my hero’s best friend and best man at the wedding.
But did Jack have to be this much of a heart-breaker?
He gives up ranching to play his music. Even exhausted on tour, he can give a Greek god a run for his money. And he’s lost the woman he loves.
And there I go again, handing over my heart.
My Hero …
… had some competition, as you see.
Normally, while I’m writing contemporary romance, I will read biography or crime or adventure stories, for just that reason. But this time I was, as Anne’s Jack would say, hog-tied. I had to read those books to make sure I was staying consistent with our world.
So how was I to keep my focus on my own guy and not get seduced by these itinerant hotties from my colleagues’ books?
Well, I could already hear Jonas and he quite often made me laugh.
Also, I knew that he has this quicksilver charm which some people might not even see because he keeps it banked down unless he is with people he really likes and trusts. And a whole lot more intelligence and passion than he is quite aware of himself. It takes my heroine to wake him up to both!
We authors had agreed to share images on Pinterest that reflected our main characters and I found just the right one for my prince who was also a volunteer forest Ranger. Whenever I felt Jonas slipping away from me, I would go and have a look to remind me.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did stay loyal to His Serene Highness Prince Jonas. Just.
He’s published on Friday 13th but you can already order him.
So a question : which fictional hero have you lost you heart to?
Well, Rochester and Lord Darcy —of course, when I was first starting to read this genre, Heroes of contemporary fiction which has become historical fiction through the passage of the years.
But as to today’s historical and contemporary fiction.If any one of my favorite authors has written the story, then I am at least a wee bit in love with the guy. And I do love some above others, but I truly cannot pick one — or even just a few.They (and their ladies) have become such good friends of mine that it feels somewhat disloyal to make selections.
And there are reasons to pick some that don’t appear on first reading. Take Georgette Heyer: The patience of the young “make-believe” fiance in Cotillion doesn’t seem that heroic at first. But he has had a warm spot in my heart for years.
Or Winnie-the-Pooh! (Until Anne Gracie mentioned him as a favorite boy friend, I hadn’t thought of him in those terms. BUT — he and I are almost the same age (he’s about 2 years older) and my life would be so much poorer without him and his friends.
I know what you mean about their becoming good friends, Sue. It seems invidious to pick one. Though I’m a huge fan of Anne Gracie’s Flynn. And Winnie-the-Pooh has a wonderful honey-dusted solidity to him as a boyfriend, I agree.
But the chap I really fell for in Georgette Heyer was Gideon Ware in The Foundling. She didn’t give him a story of his own, so I sort of felt he was available for me, I suppose.
Oh, these sound wonderful! I’m with you on Captain Carrot. Adore him and the love affair with Angua. Have a soft spot for Sam too. My Georgette Heyer favourite is Rule, with whom I am irrevocably in love, but also love Sir Richard Wyndham. Though I must say I fall in love with all my own heroes while I’m writing the book. You have to, don’t you? Can’t expect the reader to if you don’t. They sort of fade after a while. My own enduring hero is Lord Francis from the Lady Fan books, but he’s ongoing so I guess that’s to be expected.
I love your Lord Francis, Liz. He’s so down to earth. And kind.
It’s Captain Wentworth for me! Now there’s a proper man; he feels, he can be impulsive, he can even apologize! I can quite understand why Anne fell for his warmth and energy – so different from the cool politeness and indifference of her father, the disdain of her elder sister, Elizabeth, and Mary’s whinging..
I’m a Captain Wentworth fan, too, Elizabeth. Warmth and energy is absolutely right – and a great contrast to the uptight Darcy.
Humphrey Beverley? Children of the New Forest?
Spot on, Georgie.
I know all my friends, well those who read Victorian children’s stories, fell for the handsome cavalier older brother, but Humphrey was my first genuine crush. Because he worked stuff out and then did it. Happy sigh. Bet he was a founder member of the Royal Society when he grew up.
Darcy, Thornton, and Wentworth