Both as a reader and a writer, I always most connect with the hero. As a writer, it’s the hero who comes to me first and tells me what the story’s all about. As a reader, it’s the hero who most draws me into the story and makes me want to keep reading.
So, I got to thinking about that–what does a hero need to have to make me fall in love?
My Must Haves:
- Honor – I love heroes who know what the right thing is and to do it, even when it means their own sacrifice or that others may not agree. I love heroes who will fight for their own honor and for that of their friends and family.
- Power – Whether the hero is an immortal god or vampire or a contemporary soldier or firefighter, I want them to be powerful in some perceptible way. Physical power is important, but I also like them to have a powerful personality and the strength of character that commands the respect of men and the desires of women. Rawr!
- Inner Demons – Tortured heroes are my favorite, in part because that moment of redemption is so powerful.
- Protectiveness – Part of what makes a hero honorable and powerful is the protective streak that runs through him and makes him willing to sacrifice himself to protect those he loves and those who may be weaker.
- Possessiveness - I love a hero who meets his woman, has to have her, and then needs her so deeply he can’t imagine letting her go.
- Tattoos – Love, love, love a tatted hero. In my contemporary series featuring Special Forces soldiers, I had to create heroes sans tattoos because such marks are way too identifiable out in the field of action. Wah! LOL Otherwise, I do like to ink up my men!
- Unexpected Moment of Kindness – He might be arrogant, powerful, rich beyond belief, but I absolutely love that unexpected moment when the hero melts my heart by demonstrating that underneath the strong, gruff facade lies a kind man. It might be kindness extended to an animal, or a child, or an older person–how he shows that moment of kindness matters less to me than the joy of seeing it.
- Arrogance…to a point – I enjoy a hero with an arrogance born of experience, talent, and confidence. But, for me, that arrogance has to remain this side of asshole for me to continue to sympathize with and route for the hero. Exception: if the hero’s torment is explained well enough to justify some slippage in his behavior!
- Bromance – I really love to read about the good friends and brothers of my heroes. I enjoy reading about that male camaraderie and love how scenes involving a hero and his friends are often sarcastic, funny, or key for making a guy face the truth.
So, what about you? What features would you put on your heroes-must-have list?
Don’t miss Her Forbidden Hero‘s sequel, One Night with a Hero, coming 10/20/12!