They say there are only a handful of heroes in the romance genre. The nerd, the cowboy, the billionaire, the bad boy, etc. And, yes, if I look at the books on my shelves, a lot of the heroes start with those familiar roles. However, if a writer can twist that role into something new – i.e. a nerd with a bad boy waiting to break out – that’s when the book grows beyond the flat nature of words and into something so tangible you could almost touch it (I wish!)
I’m reading a lot of historical romances at the moment, in addition to some romantic suspense, and when you read a lot of books in the same genre, you start seeing the familiar heroes. And I suppose every subgenre has its own kind of heroes. In historicals, we see reformed rakes, emotionless-turned-loving uptight aristocrats, middle-class winning over the upper. I think my favourite hero in a historical romance has got to be the wicked, charming rake who needs something from the sassy heroine, and learns he is not the only one seduced. Some great books incorporate this, including Sarah Maclean’s Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake, Sabrina Jeffries’ A Dangerous Love, and so many of Lisa Klepas’, especially The Devil in Winter.
I think we have our favourites in every subgenre. In suspense, I love the uptight cop brought low by his fascination – and frustration – with the witness. Forbidden romances are always great – so many scenarios set up instantly! 🙂 D.B. Kennison’s Still Life (that I’m reading at the minute) is great for this, as well as many by Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts (of course), Karen Robards and Linda Howard.
In contemporary, you have to love the hero too good-looking for his own good suddenly encountering the one woman’s panties he can’t talk his way into, be it boss, cowboy, bar owner, anyone! Think Susan Elizabeth Phillips – the QUEEN of contemporary – as well as Julie James (absolutely hilarious), Susan Andersen’s early books, as well as Rachel Gibson’s early ones, Selena Robins and some of Jane Graves’ works.
Paranormal is a biggie, as there’s so much scope – as well as being the genre I personally write in! I think my favourite here has to be the irredeemable supernatural hero whose destined love will save him through A LOT of ups, downs, turnabouts and twists. I LOVE Larissa Ione for that, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s earlier Dark Hunters, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole, Rosanna Leo, and Karen Marie Moning’s Immortal Highlander series. And me 🙂 *guffaws*
So, what do we think? What are YOUR favourite heroes?