Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Need a Hero

I usually write contemporary erotica because I like setting stories in the here and now, but there is one area in which I’m horribly jealous of people who write paranormal and historical.

What should the hero do for a living? In ménage, multiply that dilemma by two or more. 

Historical authors have it easy. The hero’s a duke, a viscount, an earl or some other variety of lord. Likewise, paranormal – does a werewolf or vampire really need an occupation? Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. Werewolves are alpha males, no matter what job they have, if they even have one. Vampires always have gobs of money they’ve amassed over the centuries and don’t need to actually work.

But contemporary heroes are tough. You want the hero to be strong, manly, powerful --the equivalent of a duke or a Highland warrior in today’s world. 

So who are the “kings” of today? Who are the people who rule our world?

Well, there are politicians. (Shudder.) Movie Stars. (Can a man who pretends to be someone else on camera really be considered romance novel manly?) Rock stars. (What about the drugs and rampant sex?) What about sports stars? 


Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Even though athletes essentially play games for a living, they’re tough and physical and I can get behind them as heroes. Like warriors, they throw their bodies into the heat of battle, even if it’s play battle.

What about other modern-day “warriors”?

Military guys make strong, macho heroes. But you have to be comfortable writing about a military environment. I’ve never gone that way because I don’t want to get the details wrong and I have no military connections whatsoever. Besides, in a time when we settle most disputes via the justice system, the real warriors of today would be lawyers. And I just can’t bring myself to write a lawyer hero.

Cowboys round up cattle, which may not sound  heroic but somehow they make it work with their sheer rugged appeal. Of course, in real life they’re practically an endangered species. I’m guessing there are about as many hero cowboys as there are actual cowboys, especially if you include all the duos, trios, and so forth in ménages. Not that I have a problem with that --  I love cowboys. The more, the merrier. (Go, Stacey, Sophie, and company!)

Firemen make great heroes – they battle flames and save lives. Then there are your business tycoons (probably ruthless), sheiks (no thanks), detectives (likely cynical and jaded), journalists, doctors and scientists. These last three tend toward the intellectual side, which can make a good contrast with a kinky sexual streak.

In my contemporary books so far, my heroes have been a motley crew. An artist, a fisherman, two businessmen, a biathlete and a hockey coach.

As I’ve written them, I’ve come to realize that it really doesn’t matter what they do for a living. Their true heroic qualities come from their heart, their caring for the heroine, their inner strength, their hot bodies … that sort of thing.

In the world of today, maybe the true heroes aren’t “kings” but regular guys.

So what are your picks for favorite occupations of contemporary romance/erotica heroes? 

Juniper Bell's next book, Beautiful Obsession from Ellora's Cave, will feature a graduate student as hero. You can meet her other heroes here.


Anonymous said...

Hey there's always firefighters (modern day dragon slayers!!)

Tammy said...

Hmm seriously how about Truck drivers, Carpenters.

Juniper Bell said...

Georgia - What a great way to describe firefighters, and so true!! I love firefighters as heroes.

Tammy - My husband is a carpenter and to me he's a hero! He looks so good in his tool belt. ;-) I always wonder why we don't see more regular-guy heroes such as truckers. Maybe that's starting to change.

Eden Bradley-Eve Berlin said...

I've actually written a lawyer, and I have a lot of artists, including a tattoo artist-but as you said, it's his heart that makes him heroic.

I love the tool belt look, too-a guy who's good with his hands. ;)

Juniper Bell said...

Hey Eden! Tattoo artists are totally hot -- they're renegades and creative, so you know they'll be great in the sack. ;-) And yes, carpenters are very good with their hands. LOL.

Magdalen said...

I write about lawyers--it's what I know, with a father, a brother, an aunt, two cousins, and an ex-husband in the field (plus I was a lawyer for a while). My joke is that my lawyers are fair, funny, smart & able to fall in love...and yet it's still not paranormal romance!

There are some advantages when the hero is a lawyer or a judge: they're often alpha, natural problem solvers, and very verbal. The disadvantages for me as a writer is 1) their reputation in the real world--hey, I get it, other lawyers were the number one reason I quit being a lawyer myself--and 2) there are all sorts of relationships they can't have. Can't sleep with a client, can't sexually harass a colleague, and can't even talk to the other side's client!

I choose to see this as a challenge, not a barrier. Hey, I may have a few problem solving skills left over from my former career...

Juniper Bell said...

Okay, Magdalen, you sold me! Lawyers CAN make great heroes. And I can't wait to read some of yours. ;-)