HelenKay Dimon here, taking over Jill’s blog for her today because she's at Stanford Hospital today doing icky pre-op stuff and also, frankly, because we need your help…
Jill and I room together at writing conferences and talk to each other every day about important things like, hot guy photos on tumblr, how she can’t get attached to anyone on Supernatural because that character will die (I apologize if that’s a spoiler), and our mutual love of procrastination (unless any of our editors are reading this, in which case I mean we talk about writing all the time, that and how much we love writing for you).
There is one issue we discuss at length and pretty much weekly: romance heroes. Specifically, we talk about what I will refer to as Our Tolerance For Asshat Behavior. See, we both like alpha heroes but one of us (that would be me) is okay with them being a bit more ass-y, broken and flawed. [Note to husband: this applies only to fictional romance dudes. My tolerance for asshat behavior in a real-life husband is not high. Just saying.]
Take for example my newest release, LONG WAY HOME. The hero, Callen, is broken. Like, big-time broken. His father was a con man, the woman he thought was his birth mother actually isn’t. He’s been estranged from his brothers and is trying to rebuild those relationships. And the woman he loved betrayed him...or so he thinks. Basically, the guy has had to deal with a lifetime of secrets and disappointments and is trying to get his world in order. As you can imagine, sometimes the things he tries to do misfire and he doesn’t always handle his frustration in the best way. In other words, he is ass-y broken and flawed. The good news is he also has Jill’s Seal Of Approval. She thinks he stays just this side of the “too ass-y” line. But I know he came close to being too much for Jill.
My question is: where is that line? For me, a hero can be jerky and maybe a bit too controlling and definitely broken so long as a few other things are happening – he has a reason to be that way, he’s decent underneath and he grows and becomes less ass-y during the book. If he’s violent or mean or not a good guy (like there is no mushy center under all that hardness) then I’m out. He’s not the romance hero for me. But I’m pretty tolerant otherwise.
I’ve asked Jill about her favorite romance hero many times. She often talks about JD Robb’s Roarke. One of my all-time favorites is Gray from Linda Howard’s AFTER THE NIGHT, who is super ass-y at the beginning of the book. You’ll notice both of these guys are in control of their lives, alpha, smart and dedicated to the women they love. One is just a little assier (yes, I know that’s not really a word but you get what I mean).
So, you guys weigh in and we’ll see what your tolerance level is. Who is your favorite ass-y hero and how ass-y can a hero be? And for more fun, we’ll give away two copies of my new book LONG WAY HOME (digital only) to people picked from those commenting here so you can judge the level of Callen’s ass-y behavior. For the record, I say he has just the right amount. :twisted:
p.s. this is Jill sneaking in a word, Helenkay's book LONG WAY HOME just came out yesterday and is awesome and you can buy it at the links below. Carry on with your wonderful answers as you always do...
Links: Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/mt5usm2 B&N: http://tinyurl.com/okd3s99 iBooks: http://tinyurl.com/kstxfrj Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/mkc8hvs Berkley: http://tinyurl.com/qxlx2ur