Guest Post: The Great Hero Debate by Ashlyn Macnamara
Historical or contemporary—which genre has better heroes? I decided to find out by doing an informal poll of my author friends. While the sampling below his hardly scientific, here are the results of my survey.
Author of racy Regency romps, Valerie Bowman (Secrets of a Runaway Bride, available now) is quite adamant in her choice. “Historical heroes FTW!” she says. “They are hands down hotter. My particular favorite is Jason Fielding from Judith McNaught’s Once and Always. He’s smoking hot, a bit tortured, speaks in an English accent, knows how to rock a cravat, owns a giant country estate and a fleet of trading ships. And oh yeah, he’s a freakin’ MARQUESS. The end.”
Dark Regency author Erica Monroe (A Dangerous Invitation, coming in December) claims Lord Derek Aveline, hero of Heather Snow’s Sweet Deception as her favorite. Among his qualities, Erica cites Derek’s protectiveness of his childhood friend Emma Wallingford. She told me the moment Derek realizes he truly loves Emma is one of her favorite epiphanies in all romance.
Shelby Reed (Games People Play, available now) is a contemporary author who mentioned a historical hero as her stand-out. At the recent RWA National Convention, she raved about Joachin St. Cloud, the privateer hero of Joyce Verrette’s A Rebel’s Love, a book set during one of my favorite eras, the Revolutionary War.
This is an older book, but despite the reputation romances from the 80s have and despite the ruthless time period in which the story is set, this hero is tender, loving, and strong. There is also a thread of angst in Joachin’s story, as the war takes his brother from him. Angsty, tender, and strong—sounds like a winning combination.
Tara Kingston, author of smart, sexy contemporaries and historicals such as Claimed by the Captain (available now) writes: “One of the most swoon-worthy heroes I’ve encountered in a romance is Gerard Claremont, also known as Captain Doom in Teresa Medeiros‘ Thief of Hearts. An alpha male with a poet’s soul, bodyguard Gerard is protective, keenly intelligent, and gallant, while his swashbuckling alter-ego displays both a pirate’s swagger and a fierce sense of honor.
My copy of Thief of Hearts is quite dog-eared thanks to my craving for pirates and The Bodyguard rolled into one dashing hero.”
Victorian author Kathleen Bittner Roth can’t decide if she prefers historical or contemporary heroes. She says, “Rachel Gibson is my favorite contemporary author. Luc Martineau, hockey superstar (God, I love hockey) in See Jane Score, does it for me.
Attracted to a woman just the opposite of what usually turns him on, this hard-nosed hero ends up on a roller coaster of a ride in order to find his true, sensitive self that made me fall in love with him.
“As for historical heroes, my all-time favorite used to be Samuel Gerard from Laura Kinsale‘s The Shadow and the Star. A wounded, beautiful man who has to learn how to love. I say he used to be my favorite, because frankly, I have fallen in love with John Fairfax, the Duke of Ravenswood. He’s the hero in my own story, A Duke’s Wicked Kiss [coming in 2014].”
Light paranormal author Mary Behre (Spirited, coming in April 2014) naturally named a paranormal hero as her favorite. The man in question is Archeron Parthenopais of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s eponymously titled book. Mary especially loves him, because, despite having all the motivation in the world to be evil, he uses his powers for good. And while he is an Atlantean god, he is essentially human.
Kate M. also went outside the box and chose paranormal—but with a historical edge. “My favorite hero would be Daemon from Anne Bishop‘s Black Jewels trilogy. He’s got his own sense of morality, compellingly seductive, and happy to use his charisma and psychic strength to punish those who harm his family.
The series is sensual and tortured with characters who find their way to an unexpected happy ending. The more I’ve read of the series, the more I love Daemon and his kind. More historical than contemporary, the fantasy world highlights how chillingly scary a strong man who will do anything to protect those he loves can be.”
Clearly, the results are overwhelmingly skewed toward historical heroes. Or it just may be, as a Regency writer, I know more historical authors. And by the way, I’m casting my vote for historical as well. My all-time favorite hero is Lisa Kleypas’s Sebastian St. Vincent, the titular Devil in Winter. I love a hero with a smart mouth and sarcastic sense of humor, so he hit all the right buttons for me. Plus, he’s got a bad-boy façade overlying a teddy bear. And he falls for with a stutterer. What’s not to love?
So, contemporary lovers, do you want to tell us historical lovers where we’re wrong? Historical lovers, want to defend your era of choice? Love both and just want to talk about your favorite hero qualities? Do so in the comments.
About the Author:
Ashlyn Macnamara writes Regency romances with a dash of wit and a hint of wicked. She considers this writing gig her midlife crisis, but figures it’s less risky than rock climbing or skydiving. When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading and wasting time on the internet in the guise of doing research. Despite her insistence on looking toward the past, she can be found on her website, Facebook, and Twitter. She also likes to play at being a Duchess from time to time. Her second book, A Most Devilish Rogue releases August 27.