Friday, April 27, 2012

A Romantic Hero …

At Amazon

Caroline Bourne, author of Shadow Marsh, a historical romance set in Louisiana, is my guest. 
Back in the early 90s I read a historical romance novel at the request of the writer. On the very first page of the novel, the hero sat in a saloon belching and passing gas.  It wouldn’t have mattered how good the story was; I was immediately turned off of the novel by this uncouth pig.  Whenever this man was with the heroine, all I could think about was him sitting in that saloon belching and passing gas…and why on earth was the smart, educated heroine even giving him the time of day?
Since then it has been my opinion that a reader’s first impression of the hero of a romance novel will set the tone for the story. It is much easier for a female writer to associate with the female protagonist, because she has those natural feminine feelings. It takes a good deal of patience, understanding and imagination to get into the head of her male protagonist and know just how much of a soft side he needs to win over the reader, or how brutal he can be and keep the respect of the reader. I like to think that I had some success in that regard, simply because I always gave the hero traits that I like to see in a man. Can the hero have a soft side? Certainly, he can. 
The reader of historical romance, typically women, will fall in love with a hero who climbs a tree to rescue a kitten or throws his coat over a muddy puddle for the heroine, or any woman, to step on. I have to admit that, to my recollection, the hero in none of my 14 historical romances climbed a tree to rescue a kitten or threw out his coat, but they all had their soft side. I fell in love with each and every one them. My 14th novel, Talon’s Heart, out soon as an eBook, has two dominant men.  Only one gets the girl, but I was totally “in love” with the one who didn’t.  To right that injustice, his story continues in a sequel.
Coming soon from Echelon Press
The characters of a book are as important as the story. Their personalities must be consistent, and stir the reaction in the reader that the writer intends. And please, no belching “hero” passing gas in a saloon.

She is Talon Rose, half-blood daughter of a Comanche chief and a white captive. As an outlaw who prides herself on never having killed, she rides the Arizona badlands with Mexican bandits, rustling livestock to sell south of the border, and eludes a “hang on sight” order. . . until a US Marshal captures her.   Taken to an American army camp deep in the Huachuca Mountains and forced to scout with Apaches, she is soon caught in a triangle wrought with desire.
John Nightwing, the Apache Chief of Scouts, proud and determined.
Major Laine Taylor, Officer of Scouts and a genteel Southern gentleman, stubborn and equally determined.
Talon's heart is captured between the two equally imposing men, but only one can gain her undying love and devotion.  Torn between her heritage and her heart, Talon Rose battles the demons of the world as fiercely as the ones within herself. But her struggle is not the only one as two suitors face off in a passionate battle that may cost one man not only his heart, but his life.
Caroline Bourne was born in Southampton, England, served in the United States Marine Corps, and is the author of 14 historical romance novels. She contributed stories to two holiday anthologies for Kensington Publishers of New York.  She currently works for a Southern Indiana police department, and has two daughters, six granddaughters and one great-grandson.    


Ellis Vidler said...

Caroline, you make an important point. I hadn't consciously considered what the first impression of my hero and heroine might be, but I'll be thinking about that now. Thanks for being here today!

Polly said...

Okay, I'm hooked. Which one does she wind up with?

Even though I don't writer Romance, per se, there is always a romance in my books. And I MUST fall in love with my hero. I have to be intrigued by him, sympathize or empathize with him, be conflicted about him. He has to stir my romantic curiosity. My hero is always the force that drives the story for me, and I like him complicated.

Such an interesting post. And yes, a belch and passing gas would kill it for me too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ellis and Polly ... I have so enjoyed being a guest blogger and, Polly, not telling :-) Hopefully, Talon's Heart will be out soon as an eBook (first). Trust me that the "right" guy (for me) gets to continue his story in the sequel, and of course he will get the girl ... it will also involve several avenues of plot, which will all come together for the better ... I am loving the heroes of both of the stories, TH and NW (the sequel). And, Ellis, thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest. Caroline

RP Dahlke said...

Thanks for introucing us to this "new to me" author of historical romance... and best of all, it's based in Arizona, my new home state. Looking forward to seeing it on Kindle!