All writers, especially those who write in romance genres, tend to specialize in either heroines or heroes. My friend Suzanne Forster is famous for her plucky, quirky females. Not to say that she doesn’t write great guys, she does. But her women sing! With names like Kate, Trish, Augusta Featherstone and the perfect Edwina Moody, Suzanne’s heroines are the catalysts of her stories. I’ve never asked her, but i’ll bet she thinks of them first and then finds a hero to offset these great woman.
Not me. For me it’s all about the boys. I guess that’s why i’m a m/m and menage writer. But even when i dream up m/f stories, the heroine remains a bit a of a cipher until i flesh out the hero. What does he look like? I describe him in loving detail. (When you read Genetic Attraction in February pay attention to the way i describe Roan Black when Em first meets him. Yes, a definite wet dream.) What does he do for a living? Is he tough, sensitive, gentle? Once i have him with lots of flesh on his bones, i think about the heroine or maybe the other hero or both that will best suit him. It has to be someone who can cause some sparks and has the potential for conflict, otherwise there’s no story. But it can’t be so much conflict that it can never be resolved, after all romance has to end happily. Think of a story we all know, Pride and Prejudice. When we first meet Mr Darcy he seems so unpleasant that he’s beyond redemption. Aside from being handsome, he has very little to recommend him. For the rest of the book, Lizzie learns more and more things about Mr. Darcy that redeems him in her (and our) eyes so that we are hyperventilating at the idea they may not end up married.
Some of my favorite EROM writers create the BEST heroes. Well, as m/m writers that is their stock in trade. Take a look at the wonderful Edward in Lynn Lorenz’ Edward Unconditionally, Johnny in Jet Mykles’ Heaven, Matthew in Sloan Parker’s More and the fabulous Adin in Z.A.Maxfield’s Notturno and now, the sequel, Vigil. Each of these men is completely unique such that they stand out in your mind in a sea of heroes. And i bet they haunt the dreams of their writers. I know my boys do.
If you write, who do you see first? Hero or heroine? And when you read, is the hero or the heroine the most important in making the book memorable? Share.