Saturday, June 29, 2013

Whipping Up a Hero

By M.K. Schiller (Guest Blogger)

Sorry if the title is misleading, but I hope I got your attention! I want to chat with you all about one of my favorite aspects of writing…creating characters, especially palatable protagonists. When I read a book, I want to identify with the heroine, but I desperately need to fall in love with the hero. I want a visceral reaction of my own – one that may induce swooning, sighing, and smirking when taken in large quantities. The substance of a great hero is a culmination of many internal and external factors, and the choices are like an endless buffet. It’s like your mother always said, ‘you won’t know if you like it, unless you try it.’

Recently, a critique partner told me the hero in my current work-in-progress was somewhat beta. I disagreed, choosing to view him as a gentle bodice ripper. The kind of man who will defend the heroine to his death, but does not actively look for a fight (he is a college math major after all). However, the comment made me think about how to marinade and season the perfect alpha/beta male specimen, so I started a list.

In my humble opinion, the ultimate hero is muscular, but not overly so... more swimmer than weight lifter. His eyes can be blue, green or red for all I care, but they have to be sparkling or mischievous. Sprinkle in some unique character traits like jagged scars, meaningful tattoos (not overly done), or boyish dimples to add zest. As for danger, it has to make sense or it will overpower your creation. He’s not dangerous because he’s stupid. He’s dangerous because he’s protecting someone (probably our heroine), or he works in a field that commands it. I’m not into bad boys without a purpose.

My hunky hero is savory and sweet. He’s incredibly smart and successful, but occasionally silly and spontaneous too. The kind of guy that can laugh at himself. He’s loyal even if he doesn’t realize it. He’s cocky enough to be confident about his sex appeal, but not conceited. He’s the jealous type, but not obsessive. He has angst…lots and lots of angst to pepper his character. Women are nurturing in general, and this ingredient makes the final dish more mouth-watering. Then again, maybe he’s just normal and has the right amount of sugar to cure our acidic heroine. Add in a heaping cup of charm, a pinch of fury (for drama), a teaspoon of selfishness (to make him real), a hearty dash of rebellion (I like my food spicy), and there you have it! My recipe for a yummy hero, Witches of Eastwick style. It’s pretty cool to be an author!

It’s not enough to just describe him though, because I think many women would have similar ingredients in their cupboards, and we don’t want all our dishes to taste the same (most embarrassing when you’re at a potluck). So, let me give you some examples. If you’ve ever seen Jerry McGuire, I love Tom Cruise’s character…yes, he had me at hello. He was a self-absorbed, fickle man that didn’t see his flaws, until he meets the heroine and her adorable little boy. Then there’s George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life –I know it’s not a romance, but I love this movie. A very different hero who sets aside his own life for others, yet he always felt cheated by the sacrifices he made, until a certain angel crosses his path. Finally, there is Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey fame. I know there are some differing opinions here, but there’s something to be said about a man who’s both powerful and vulnerable. If you had told me a few years ago I’d find a man who got off on dominating woman and had mommy issues irresistible, I’d say you were crazy, but that’s exactly what E.L. James did. She made me fall for that man. Now, I love dominating men as much as fiery shrimp Gumbo. 

Isn’t that what a good story should do - make you think outside the box, or in this case, the casserole pan? The three examples above probably have you wondering if I’ve lost my mind, but the reality is, like the food we eat, the hero we choose to love is subjective. You may not love my hero choices, and if they were placed in another time or setting I might not love them either. It takes too much or not enough of one ingredient to spoil the whole pot. That’s what’s so great about an enticing hero - he’s flavorful, but everyone’s taste buds are different. No matter what your preference is, always heat on high and serve piping hot!

I am honored that Lisabet asked me on her blog. I am new employee at the hero factory, with my debut novel set to come out on July 26th from Total-E-Bound, but I do love a tasty hero. I would love to hear from all of you. Please leave a comment about what traits you like in a protagonist either physical or emotional. Give specific examples if you can. One lucky commenter will receive a $10 US Amazon gift card. Just send me an email (make sure it’s the same email you want the gift card sent to) to mk @ mkschillerauthor dot com with a copy of your comments and link. I’ll enter you in the drawing to take place on July 13. Please note I won’t keep your email addresses unless you specifically ask to be on my email distribution list.

Also, please consider picking up a copy of The Other C-Word, my debut novel and let me know if you think my hero is a recipe worth passing around.

The Other C-Word will be available from Total-E-Bound on July 26th and all other sites in late August.

Blurb

Can she overcome her consuming desire for him? Can he make her comfortable with the other C-word…commitment?

Marley Mason is dreading the arrival of the new business consultant. After all, this man will most likely outsource her job to China. The last thing she would expect is a case of mistaken identity, leading to false accusations of kidnapping when she attempts to pick up the wrong man at the airport, or worse…that she would have such a visceral reaction to the right man.

Rick Randy is super sexy, scandalously flirty and perfect masturbation material, but a relationship is out of the question. Rick is contracted on a temporary basis to fix Marley’s ailing company, and then pull out, although as he expresses to Marley, pulling out is difficult for him, in more ways than one! Marley’s feelings range from utter confusion to intense contemplation as Rick charms his way into her life. All of those C-words Marley can control, but it’s the other C-word she fears—commitment.



Bio

MK Schiller is a hopeless romantic in a hopelessly pragmatic world. Every evening, she sits by the warm glow of her computer monitor, and conjures up handsome heart-warming heroes and the vivacious heroines they love. Although she loves to write, she is a reader first and enjoys nothing more than curling up with a good book and some tasty Italian (the food, of course!).

23 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hello, MK,

Welcome to Beyond Romance, and congratulations on the new book. Wishing you great sales and super reviews!

Mary Preston said...

I need to my heroes to be absolutely delicious!! I want him intelligent and witty. I don't mind if he's not the typical stud as regards looks as I rather like finding the beauty in a rugged or off-beat face. No one character comes to mind. It's just a general observation.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Debby said...

I loved the list and I think you can have a gentle alpha. He just does not need to show he is alpha until it is necessary.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Heidi Schuster said...

The Other C-Word sounds like a great story with great characters. Sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading.

hms7213(AT)Comcast(DOT)net

Molly Daniels said...

Love this premise, and welcome to published author status!

storimom2@aol.com

Colleen C. said...

Congrats on your debut! Liking the blurb for the book! I like heroes that learn to let love into their lives even if it is not a smooth journey. I love a variety of heroes... seeing each one come to life in a book... whether they are rugged, sexy, arrogant, charming, witty, nerdy, etc... the best part is seeing them get bit by the love bug!
greenshamrock AT cox DOT net

Kate Deveaux said...

Sounds like a great read and congratulations on the debut! I will definitely read it; I love a sweet and savory type. I always fall for the dry sense of humor type too, of course drop dead good looking and charming but that dry wit gets me every time!

Anonymous said...

For me, it partly depends on the genre. I'm not too crazy about alphas in most het romance...I like more unassuming guys there, since it seems less predictable and sexist to me. Alphas seem better in m/m to me, since the interactions aren't as easy to foretell (whether it's two alphas involved or an alpha and beta guy). Either way, humor and loyalty are big pluses!

Trix, vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

bn100 said...

alpha and smart

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

joye said...

Enjoyed reading the interview. In a protagonist, I like it that they have a sense of honor, a sense of humor, and respect for the heroine. He must have commitment to a goal in life. Oh, and it doesn't hurt if he is tall and handsome.
JWIsley(at)aol(dot)com

Emily said...

Sounds like a good book, thanks for sharing!

tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

MK said...

Thank you for having me Lisabet! I really enjoyed reading all the comments. I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Molly Daniels for winning the Amazon gift card.

MK Schiller said...

I completely agree Mary. Sometimes the offbeat stuff makes him more handsome.

MK Schiller said...

Thanks Debby, I like the contradiction in the profile too. Restraint in a wonderful and often overlooked quality.

MK Schiller said...

Thanks Heidi, I hope you give it a try and I'd love to hear your feedback!

MK Schiller said...

Thanks Molly, it's been a great adventure so far!

MK said...

Oh and congrats on winning. I will be emailing you your gift card!

MK Schiller said...

Thanks Colleen! I think love is the best tool to shape a person for sure!

MK Schiller said...

Thanks Kate! If you get a chance let me know what you think!

MK said...

I agree...give me a guy that can make me laugh and you have a winner.

MK said...

Thanks Joye, I couldn't agree more!

MK said...

Thanks Emily, hope you'll check it out!

Molly Daniels said...

Thank you so much!!

Post a Comment