Writing modern romance means writing about modern men, but remembering that women don’t just want Joe Blow, they want a paperback hero. They want Hugh Jackman from Kate & Leopold or John Cusack from Serendipity or even Hugh Grant from Notting Hill. They don’t want the guy who can’t make his life better. They don’t want the guy who pushes paper as a ho-hum accountant unless he is hiding his superhero nature under his bland exterior.
Larger than Life Heroes
Women want to be the one that Superman needs, that Batman allows himself to love or that Spiderman whisks in to save. They want to be swept off their feet and made to feel extraordinary. How do we define extraordinary in paperback heroes? By making them larger than life.
Look at author Sherrilyn Kenyon, all of her heroes are larger than life, some of them are gods, some are immortals, some are shapeshifters or trapped by a curse. They have huge, gargantuan issues and powers beyond all reckoning. They fall in love with the every woman.
The book that stands out to me in her series is Night Play, the tale of Bride and Vane. Bride owns her own dress shop, she’s a size 18 girl who longs for love, but is hyper critical of herself. Vane walks into her shop and before they realize it, they are making love in the dressing room. It’s a one-off thing for both, even though Bride’s never done anything like it before.
Vane makes her feel powerful, sexy and very feminine. Vane enjoys satisfying his own lust and curiosity about the woman he’s seen many times before. But they are mated and now Vane has just a short time to see if she will accept him or he’s neutered until she dies. He uses his shapeshifting abilities to hang out with her as a dog and gradually they begin their time shifting, world moving romance that includes supernatural elements beyond their control and more.
It’s so out there and yet it’s so in tune with what women want from their paperback heroes. So whether you’re a fan of romantic fiction, romantic comedies or tales of true love, remember what attracts women to the paperback heroes like Roarke (J.D. Robb), Acheron (Sherrilyn Kenyon) and Eric (Charlaine Harris).
Paperback Heroes Week
This week, we’re going to talk about paperback heroes. We’re going to talk about the good, the bad and the wow can you believe that’s in print? What appealed to our mothers and our grandmothers may not appeal to us. What about what appeals to our daughters? Keeping a finger on the pulse of attractive leading men is a good way to create the heroes that are right for your story.
What do you look for in your paperback heroes?