Message From The Author
Youre a 20-year-old guy in college, working on a finance degree, when your divorced mother remarriesa king. But youre happy for her, and gradually you grow used to the idea. Imagine now that several years later your stepfather tells you that hes picked you to succeed him, and the next thing you know, youre the crown prince, thrust into a world you never
envisioned, complicated by a court-load of scheming royals who dont think you belong there, either. And if that werent enough, an independent-minded princess-in-peril lands in your arms, on the run from the very laws you pledged to uphold. Outmanned and outgunned, plowed under, fish out of waterat this point, any of those terms would describe you. Only allowing yourself to be overwhelmed is a luxury you cant afford; it seems that the entire kingdom is hurtling toward war, and youre the only one who can stop it
That is the dilemma facing Ian Hamilton, the hero of my newest aviation romance, THE STAR PRINCE. Those whove read my Rita-nominated romance, The Star King, know that I like to break a rule or two and write out of the box. THE STAR PRINCE is no exception. Ian isnt larger than life, like many romance heroes; hes a regular guy plunged into a larger-than-life situation.
So, hes not an alpha male, my reader friends surmised. They were right. Ian is no hard-hearted, self-centered he-man. Then hes beta, my friends then speculated with some distaste. Hmm. Betas follow; they do not lead. They are replaceable and often forgettable. There is no built-in conflict ascribed to the beta, unless something happens that turns him into a leader or a rogue. Only then does his story become interesting. In that case he turns into a gamma, my friends informed me. Or possibly a theta, epsilon, even an omega
It sounded like a fraternity party gone haywire, using this Greek alphabet soup to describe male characters. Surely, others knew what I meant when I spoke about the special charm of men who werent the obvious heroes, yet who came through when the chips were down. In other words, regular guys.
Author Virginia Kantra, who wrote Born To Protect, admits, I adore regular guy heroes. Maybe because I love them so muchhey, I married a regular guy heroI write this type of hero too. Intimate Moments tends to feature larger than life characters, but to me nothing is sexier than a stand up guy. Nothing [is] more appealing than a reluctant hero.
The reluctant hero I immediately think of Han Solo, one of my all-time favorite romantic leads from Star Wars. Ellen Micheletti of Waldenbooks agrees. She once heard Harrison Ford say that his characters were all ordinary men living ordinary lives who, because of circumstances, found themselves capable of extraordinary feats.
Yes! Heres Han Solo, a regular guy, who takes a few passengers on a short trip in between smuggling runs. Thenbam! He ends up embroiled in a war, and becomes a general, a hero, and the lover of a princess.
Daniel Day-Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans is the consummate regular guy hero. Tortured by his past, he refuses to punish others because he has suffered. He is sensitive to the needs of women and children, and isnt afraid to show it. Not only does he have the courage to walk away from pointless battles, he has the guts to win those wars he has to fight.
My favorite type of hero, romance-lover Holly sighs. And the hardest to find, I feel.
Luckily, the regular guy comes in many flavors. He doesnt have to be blue collar. He can be a nobleman like Lord Laren in Carla Kellys With This Ring, or a professional like Christopher Bishop, the accountant in Jacquie DAllessandros Kiss The Cook. But no matter what form they take, reader Mary Lynn agrees regular guys are absolutely wonderful!
While its great fun to read about a hero whos almost a fantasy, she says,its also a joy to read about a hero that you think you might actually have a chance to meet in real life! Lets face it, most of us arent going to have members of a Navy SEAL squad stroll into our
living room, or pick up a Regency rake at a local bar. But it is entirely possible to meet a man who shares the qualities of the regular guy romance hero, who is appealing through his honor, his honesty, and his courage to face the challenges of life. The average guy is anything
but average. The little actions he takes every day on behalf of his
loved ones and friends make him special, and magical.
I think we all agree the traditional alpha male is not necessary
to drive a romance, although a regular guy hero may cause the resultant story structure to differ from what many readers are used to. Here, the conflict that keeps us turning the pages will more often come from external eventsthe hero and heroine growing closer as they work together toward triumphrather than from arguments and misunderstandings sometimes used to keep them apart. But for the discerning reader there is no greater treat than watching a regular guy, thrust into an extraordinary situation, grow as a man, a lover, and a hero.
Award-winning author and jet pilot Susan Grant loves writing about what she knows best: flying and the delicious interaction between the sexes. Dont miss her newest romance, THE STAR PRINCE (Nov. 01).
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