Series Author Kate Hewitt on What Cannot be Bought

In the Harlequin Presents line of series romances, problems are frequently solved with the hero's fortune. However, Kate Hewitt's new novel, Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon, breaks this mold. Her hero is going blind and no amount of money can fix his sight. This unusual series romance has been nominated for a 2010 RT Reviewers' Choice award and today the author is here to share what inspired her to write about this imperfect, perfect hero that faces an uncertain future.

If you’ve ever picked up a Harlequin Presents, you know what to expect: a fantastic, glamorous setting, a gorgeous, billionaire alpha hero who has it all, and an emotionally intense conflict--all of it whisking you away on a ride, according to the writing guidelines, ‘in the fast lane of romance!’

Yet what if that billionaire alpha hero doesn’t have it all? What if inside he is struggling, doubting himself and everything he’s believed in? What if money can’t buy what he wants, and I don’t just mean love?

Max Monroe, the hero of my December release, Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon, is such a man. Max has made his millions, he’s respected and ruthless and has everything he thinks he wants... until he learns that a hereditary disease will steal his sight in a matter of months, or perhaps even weeks. Max is going blind, and he has a particular, terrible reason to dread the loss of his sight.

This is a problem money can’t solve, no matter how much Max throws at it. Ruthless billionaire or not he becomes powerless in the face of his disease, and it was this emotional conflict that drew me to write Max’s story. What happens when a man who thinks he has everything finds out he is about to lose the one thing he desperately needs... and there is absolutely nothing he can do about it?

When Max learns about his condition, he withdraws from the world, pushing people away out of his pain and fear. Yet Zoe Balfour, whom he assumes is a spoiled, shallow socialite, manages to slip under the defenses he’d created and find the path to his heart.

Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon is, above all things, a romance, and so the story centers on the developing relationship between Zoe, an ex-wild-child who is discovering her own hidden depths, and Max, a man poised to have everything taken away from him. Yet falling in love is not just about finding someone who shares an attraction or returns your feelings; it is about learning to trust that one person to see and know you completely, to witness your fears and mistakes and yet still, amazingly, accept you. A soul mate is someone who draws out the best in you, and that can only happen when the deepest and darkest is drawn out as well.

For Max, this means he must reveal the truth of his blindness and his accompanying terror to Zoe before he can truly become the man he’s meant to be and return her love. And Zoe too must show Max her own insecurities and fears before he helps her to rise to the challenge of both a loving relationship and motherhood. It’s not just about two characters finally saying ‘I love you’ to each other; it’s the difficult and emotional journey they take towards that most wonderful and vulnerable of states: a loving, committed relationship.

One reason I love writing for Harlequin Presents is the intensity of emotion of the characters and their conflicts. I love the glamour and fantasy elements too, but at its core a Presents is about the emotion, the painful process of falling in love, and the glorious joy of a happily-ever-after that two people really had to work for. If you’ve never picked up a Presents, I encourage you to try one--even Zoe and Max’s story!

You might be pleasantly surprised.

- Kate Hewitt

You can pick up your own copy of Zoe and the Tormented Tycoon on sale now!