Heroes: All alike?
Please join me in welcoming Jackie Ivie, author of romance novels featuring hunky Highland heroes as bold and rugged as the Scottish highlands. Her books include: Tender is the Knight, The Knight Before Christmas and Heat of the Knight.
Jackie’s here today to talk about her preferences in a hero and to challenge readers to defend their favorite type of hero. Jackie is giving away two copies of her latest book, Once Upon a Knight. One copy will be donated as a prize for our 2010 UYS event and the other copy will go to one lucky reader of this post. To enter, simply leave a comment. Let us know if you agree with Jackie about Highland heroes and what you think of the other hero types she mentions. (Are Regency heroes really a bunch of wusses?)
Hi. Jackie Ivie here. Talking about my favorite topic: heroes. (Sigh). I just love a brawny, stirring, achingly gorgeous man – wearing as little as possible of course – going up against all odds and somehow winning, because his heart is as big as the rest of him.
My editor has one request of me: Keep those Highland heroes coming. And there is nothing better… even if I have to face the fact that they all look alike. I hear that all the time and…it’s true. They have the same physical traits. They’re all big men. Brawny. Hulky. Hunky. Hot. Weapon-brandishing, kilt-wearing Highlanders. It’s in the mind. I have this 6-foot-3-inch to 6-foot-6-inch hunk firmly set in my mind. He’ll weigh about 235 to 265 lbs. depending on his height. He’s got a full head of shoulder-length hair (or longer), feminine-looking lips, firm jaw, high cheekbones, jaw-dropping handsomeness that gets him more embarrassment than anything else. Women literally fawn on him. Sometimes he takes their offers. Sometimes he barely avoids it.
That’s my hero. I can’t escape it, either. He’s on every cover. My heroes are not stout men. Oh no. They’re rippling with muscle. Easily capable of taking a 9 lb. claymore in each hand and working them against the enemy. Capable of winning a battle against tremendous odds, crossing leagues of country in little more than a hank of cloth, surviving any weather condition, any trauma…winning the heroine’s heart.
And all on an empty stomach.
Take my newest hero, Vincent Danzel from ONCE UPON A KNIGHT. Vincent’s of Viking descent, has shoulder-length blond hair, dark eyes, jaw-dropping looks, wench-stealing ways, and a frame to make certain of it. He also has a very dark life-defining secret in his past. It’s so bad that he’s set his lack of worth on it. He’s a lying low-life wretch and lives down to that. There isn’t a task too low for him. He figures he’s already destined for Hell, so what does anything matter? He’s got the size, looks and intelligence to make every wench’s heart beat faster just before he takes it, and that’s just what he’s tasked with. Unfortunately, his cousin knows exactly what Vincent needs to alter everything and bring out the hero in him: the perfect lass. Sybil’s quick-tongued, manipulative, self-assured and stunningly smart. Capable of taking down any man with a well-chosen word, or gesture, or potion. Vincent is like child’s play to her…until her heart tells her different.
That Vincent. Here’s a small excerpt from ONCE UPON A KNIGHT showing just one description of him:
The blond fellow from the marsh was moving from an indolent position leaning against a bit of rock wall to ask it. He was more massive than she remembered. With hands upon his hips and his legs apart, he was effectively spanning the width of her tower hall. He’d also found a way to a bath and laundry, if what she smelled and observed was accurate, since he was splendidly attired in little more than a kilt of blue and black, while the open sides of his doublet were leaving none of his brawn disguised. He probably should have donned a shirt as well, she decided, eyeing him with what she hoped was disinterest.
“Well…what?” she replied, since he did nothing more than block her hall while he waited.
“I’ve bathed,” he replied. And then he grinned.
Sybil had to look down as the strangest shiver ran over her frame the moment she glimpsed teeth and what promised to be actual dimples as well. Her own body’s response was unfamiliar, unwarranted, and not going unnoticed. At least by her. She could only hope her voice had the same disinterested, modulated tone as always when she needed to use it.
She looked back up. One of his eyebrows was cocked up now and his head was slanted slightly. There was a visual array of rope-like tendons pounding from the belly he was displaying as well. It was very practiced, very posed, and very unnecessary. It was also stupid.
“So?” she replied, finally.
His eyebrow fell, as did his smile. He had wickedly dark eyes, and with them dark lashes, both of which were incongruous and superficial-looking with his coloring. He knew it and was used to wielding it, which made the reaction her body was giving even worse. He’d lowered his chin, made a knot bulge out on side of his jaw, and favored her with a stern look, but since it was being shadowed by his lashes, it didn’t do much. It was just as theatrical as the rest of him.
Sybil’s lips quirked despite her effort.
Sound familiar? (another sigh) I’m going to guess I write a typical alpha-male Highland hero – but I’m just going on covers and reading some of them. Let’s face it, brawn and lots of it define a Highlander.
What about a Regency hero? These are rather effeminate guys in my book (and if I put one in, he’s going to look plenty silly). They look fantastic in evening wear, including champagne-shined Hessian boots, they have an arrogance few can crack, they deliver perfect lines with stunning wit. Most are tallish, slender, and look like they spend hours in the saddle. These fellows are born to speak the innuendo and rarely if ever get embarrassed.
What about a Gothic hero? He’ll probably be pale slender, secretive, ultra-intelligent. Western hero? Reticent, slender. Modest. There are more. I’m certain of it. I’m guessing a hero can be pegged to his genre by a description of him. Any dissenters out there?