I recently was asked by USA Today which hero i most enjoyed writing. I said that was an unfair question because it was like asking which child is your favorite. Ultimately, I selected Billy Ballew in Knight of Ocean Avenue because that was a book that had to be told and practically wrote itself. It’s also the number one favorite book of all my readers, so i imagine a lot of people would agree with my choice. But if i investigate my total body of work — currently almost 40 books — the answer to that question is a bit more complicated. I have a number of favorite heroes for various reasons. Billy is certainly one of them. Here are a few more in no particular order —
Paris Marketo in The Pack or the Panther — Paris is a hero you either love or hate and a lot of my readers do both. Why? Because Paris is a Panther Shifter and is in every way a cat — self-centered, solitary, snarky, and suspicious. I’ve found that readers who don’t like cats, don’t like Paris and vice versa. I adore him but then i love cats. The real gift of the character is that, like a cat, if Paris ultimately gives you his trust and his love, you’ve received a gift of inestimable value.
Raven Nez in Tackling the Tight End — This is actually one of my favorite books. It explores the Native tradition of the two spirit and my hero, Raven, is someone who has internalized that idea since childhood. As a result, he’s able to see being gay as not just okay and acceptable, but actually a gift — something given as a unique blessing to the world. I loved writing this books and this hero.
Rodney Mansfield in Fire Balls — This is one of my most popular books and characters — the tiny, feisty fireball of a guy who may look like a queen but he’s a badass in a fight — and in bed. Rodney popped up in my first Balls book, Volley Balls, as the best friend to my hero. He himself was the least likely of heroes and so, of course, is one of the best.
Roan Black in the Scientist and the Supermodel and Genetic Attraction — Unfortunately, these early books of mine are not currently available (i have to get them self-published and back on the market) , but i have to mention that they contain one of my favorite heroes of all time — Roan Black, the supermodel. Roan was in essence my first hero — these books are the first two romances i ever wrote — and he embodies all of my romantic fantasies. I hope to get him back into your hands this year.
Snowden Reynaldi in Driven Snow — Snow is a khaki-clad, chess-playing physicist nerd who loves the golden quarterback of his college. He’s brilliant, awkward and shy and has his own internal dialogues. He was a blast to write and remains a fave of mine.
Funny huh? In most cases, these aren’t even my most popular books, but the characters have managed to capture my heart. I also love Ian Carney in Lord of a Thousand Steps, Winter Thane in Winter’s Wolf, Jamal Jones in Canning the Center and Tom Henry, the hero of my upcoming book, Fool of Main Beach. But then, i pretty much adore all my heroes. It’s very hard to choose.