#PinkHeartPoll: What's Your Favourite Hero's Profession?
We're talking about the jobs we think all heroes should have at the PHS this month. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy - what's your preference?
Avril Tremayne - I Heart Architects
Maybe it's a reflection of Australia’s obsession with real estate – believe me, my city of Sydney is insane on the subject – that makes me a sucker for an architect hero.
But then again, when you think about it, shelter is in the first tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, alongside air, food, water, warmth, sex, and sleep – so I guess it makes sense that a guy who can provide a gal with a home should be right up there in the hero stakes. I just like to take it a step further and write (and read about) a hero who knows how to make that home perfect!
Out of my nine published books, two of my heroes are architects. Adam Quinn (Kiss Don’t Tell) has his own heritage architectural business, lives in an historic terrace house he's lovingly restored, and is never happier than when he's donning a tool belt and pitching in on building sites. Scott Knight (The Millionaire’s Proposition) is a little more sophisticated – an award winner who lives in a converted church that’s in the ‘wow’ category (seriously, I’ve been dreaming of living in that church ever since I wrote it), and yet has the adorableness to draw designs for two fairy castles for the heroine's two nieces.
Preparatory to writing these guys, I signed up for a regular monthly architecture lecture series run by one of the best real estate agencies in my local area – and I’m still going along even though my architects have been released into the wild and no longer need me, because, frankly, it's eye-opening. What's not to like about passionate men and women (architects make great heroines too!) describing drool-worthy residential design, as well as talking about their special projects relating to socially conscious and affordable housing, urban landscape planning, natural disaster relief, and environmental sustainability.
So many opportunities for heroism in there that I've thought of two new potential heroes just writing that paragraph!
The personality traits that make a good architect are also intriguing: they have to be big picture and have an eye for fine detail; they need an understanding of history and culture, but also approach work with a modern sensibility; they must be tenacious, yet persuasive; and their brain has to be business-focused but their soul is creative. Lots to play with!
Amy Ruttan - I Heart Doctors
I was kindly asked to write about why I love doctor heroes so much. I guess it’s obvious that I do because this month is the release of my 15th Harlequin Medical Convenient Marriage, Surprise Twins!
I think the reason I love doctor heroes so much is because they’re like onions (sorry for the Shrek reference there). They have so many layers to them. They have lives in their hands. They have to be compassionate, but also lock their feelings away in order to do their jobs.
I can’t imagine how hard their jobs are, but as much as I respect the work they do, I wonder what drives them. What inspires them and how they find love when their career takes up so much of their time.
To be a doctor, you have to be in charge and have a strong personality. I like the dynamic of taking a hot shot male doctor and pairing him with his match, an equally stubborn, strong and determined heroine.
So, that’s why I enjoy writing about doctors. What are some of your favourite heroes to read or write?
Geri Krotow - I Heart Military Heroes
The obvious answer to why I write military heroes and heroines is, well, because I was active duty for nine years and in a uniform for a total of thirteen. I know military “type,” I’ve worked with the men and women who comprise only 1-2% of our society and yet sign up voluntarily to defend us all. The soldier, sailor, marine, airman, Coastguard person, anyone in military service, signs on to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, no matter what wind of politics is blowing.
That said, it’s incredibly heroic and sexy that the hero or heroine of a romance wears a uniform, for the reasons above and for other reasons. In a military romance, the heroic character traits that a reader expects and our genre demands are already in place. Which allows me as the writer to delve deeper into their character and not have to spend so many words showing their heroic nature.
Military heroes and heroines are great because they are able to face down any enemy. When writing a romantic suspense, this is a very good trait and plot device.
Another reason I enjoy writing military heroes is because I’m married to one. Although retired from active duty, the same traits that drove my husband of more than a few decades to raise his right hand and take the oath to serve still exist in our everyday life together. By writing a military hero I get to spend more time appreciating who I married—and the sacrifices he’s made for me, for us, for our country and indeed the world.
I especially enjoy writing military characters because it allows me to showcase the incredible men and women who humbly do the work that few are called to, and show that they are human beings with normal lives. And best of all, I get to give my characters an HEA. Sadly, not all military heroes and heroines get their happily ever after. Some, too many, give all. And that underscores that for me, writing military characters isn’t a simple choice or enjoyment. It’s an honor.
Garrett Leigh - I Heart Tattoo Artists
Tattoos in general have always been a big part of my life, and when it came to writing one of my first books, Slide, making Ash a tattoo artist came naturally. It fit with his dark character, and the brooding atmosphere of his Chicago studio was a perfect compliment. I wrote three books for the series, and with each one, Ash’s work was central to the plot and his character arc/development. It would’ve been easy to make Ash edgy and cool, and leave it at that, but I soon realised that he was personally attached to every piece he etched to skin, and I found that utterly fascinating. I’ve since written another book with tattoo artists (House of Cards, 17th July 2017), and though the pattern of personal attachment was the same, these characters—Brix and Calum—were very different to Ash. Though as dark as him in their own way, their work gave them respite from the real world. For Ash, there was no such distinction—or relief. The one thing all my ink boys had in common the calling they felt to their work. Tattooing was etched on their souls, and they’d die with a needle gun clutched in their ink stained hand.
Silver James - I Heart Cowboys
I’m a cowgirl at heart so it just makes sense that I love cowboys. Too bad I married a man who’s never sat in a saddle—which gives me lots of leeway to dream up cowboy heroes and find the perfect heroines to rope them into lasting relationships. Of course, writing for Harlequin Desire, my cowboys are often rich on top of being horse-savvy. There’s just something about a cowboy—they’re often the strong, silent type. Gentle with animals, calm in the midst of a storm, rugged individualists because they have to face down critters and nature both. A cowboy has a certain swagger that’s irresistible—to me at least. They are alpha men without being total jerks about it.
Growing up in Oklahoma, I worked beside cowboys on a ranch. I rode with them, danced with them (I can still do a mean Texas Two-step), and fell in love with a couple of them. Neither was my soulmate and we’ve remained friends to this day because that’s the way cowboys are. They’re loyal and steadfast. Not to mention they fill out those jeans so nicely! Cowboys work for a living—have the rough hands to prove it—and they don’t lose their love for the land even when they’re standing in a boardroom, dressed in designer suits (like my Red Dirt Royalty men). I’ll admit to holding a special place in my heart for Kade Waite, the hero of my July release. Kade is half Chickasaw Indian, the Barron Ranch foreman, and his life is about to take a huge detour. It’s a good thing he’s a cowboy in his heart and soul because all those things I love about cowboys will see him through his own story.
Rochelle Alers - I Heart Software Engineers
Even before I sat down to plot my first title for Harlequin’s Special Edition series I knew I wanted to it set in a small town with a hero, who despite living and working in New York City, has retained his small town sensibility.
Thirty-three-year-old software engineer Sawyer Middleton, is the complete opposite of yuppie stock traders from the l980s who drove six-figure sport cars, favored designer clothes and accessories, and partied nonstop during their downtime. He has become quite wealthy once he and his graduate school buddies establish an internet start-up Enigma4For4. His partners and employees become his extended family as he logs a sixty-to-seventy-hour workweek whenever they work on creating new apps and video games. However, he will occasionally find time to date and attend a sporting event, but unlike his partners who are all in committed relationships Sawyer is an uncompromising son prodigal son who has hasn’t stepped foot in his hometown in more than ten years.
Sawyer is aware that his reluctance to marry and father children stem from hostile boyhood encounters with his father. He returns home to Wickham Falls for a family emergency at the same time the internet company is scheduled to go on summer hiatus. He trades the bright lights of the Big Apple for rural West Virginia where he reconnects with family members, is introduced to schoolteacher Jessica Calhoun, his sister’s best friend, and after a while realizes there’s more to life than coding and algorithms. The woman with whom he has fallen in love isn’t willing to leave Wickham Falls, so Sawyer has to compromise for the first time in his life. He decides to put down roots in his home town, marry woman with whom he can plan a future, and give back to a school district to educate and provide scholarships for future software engineers.
Elizabeth Heiter - I Heart Detectives
When asked what my ideal man looks like, I’ve often pulled out what I call my “trifecta”: eyes, smile, biceps. But when it comes to what I really look for in a man, it boils down to this: I like the nice guy.
For me, the nice guy is someone who puts others first, does what’s right even when it’s not easy and helps others. A detective embodies those traits. Sure, they could be wrapped up in a gruff or jaded package, but underneath, there’s the desire to do good. (And sure, a job benefit also might be great biceps!)
The hero of my latest romantic suspense, Police Protector, has all of that and more. To me, he’s the perfect example of someone who deserves his happily ever after: he’s a foster kid who was tossed from one home to the next, but when he aged out of the system, took on two jobs to provide a home to his younger “brothers” when they hit eighteen. And now, forensics expert Shaye Mallory (whom he’s had a crush on for years) is being targeted by an unknown threat, so what’s a hero to do? Work like crazy to solve the case, of course. And take on her protection himself, even if it means sticking close to her round-the-clock. Turns out Shaye Mallory has a thing for detectives too…
Kate Hewitt - I Heart Bankers
I’ve written a lot heroes for my Harlequin Presents who have vague jobs in high-flying finance, and are of course the prerequisite billionaires—millionaire doesn’t cut it anymore! It’s fun to write about all the intense glamor—private jets, penthouse suites, everything at the hero’s long, lean fingertips. But my latest book for Tule Publishing, Marry Me at Willoughby Close, has an entirely different kind of banker hero—that is, a slightly stuffy, buttoned-up British banker who works for an old firm, established and elite, in London’s City and is the heir to an earldom.
Henry Trent is a minor character in previous books in the series, and he doesn’t come across very well at all! Snooty, snobby, stuck up… you get the picture. But I had such fun writing this story, and how a shy ex-foster kid, Alice James, brings the best out in Henry, and also makes him realize the worst, which definitely needed doing.
It’s fun to write billionaire heroes who wheel and deal their way through life, but in this story Henry’s background as a banker was all about where he came from—the money, the privilege, the stultifying set of expectations. And how falling in love can help him break out of the mold!
Amy Andrews - I Heart Rugby Players
Rugby players. What’s not to love?
I think it’s the pure physicality of footy heroes that is their biggest attraction. Big guys, powerful, very physical - lotta testosterone. There’s something primal in their makeup which appeals to women. It might not be very feminist or PC but when it gets down to it we’re all just slaves to our biology and the man who’s the biggest (and I’m not talking about what he’s packing between his legs – although hell, that’s a bonus) the fittest, who can keep us in furs and mammoth stew throughout the long cold winter, is going to be the one that makes us want to get all jiggy with it.
There’s also something appealing about a big, tough-guy hero who’s at the top of his game but not in control of everything. Who can fell an opposition player with one ground shuddering tackle but can be laid flat by a woman who confuses and confounds him at every turn. Bringing those kind of men to their knees…well now….yes please!
Also, the haka. And nude calendar shoots.
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