This year Watch Out is getting a bit of a remix. Not only will you be seeing interviews, but now there will be guest blogs. Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Jane Beckenham. She will be chatting all about creating her hero. Take it away Jane..
CREATING A MAN a.k.a. MY HERO
You would think that creating a man, from this point onward known as my hero,– would be an easy task. I mean how many women get the chance to actually create the perfect man and mold him into perfection. It’s a dream surely to give him the perfect smile, the perfect personality along with the body of Adonis of course. But would that be perfect for my story?
The perfect man would be boring. He wouldn’t create the impact on the page nor would he be more than one-dimensional or give the reader that little flutter in the heart as they read of his turmoil and angst as he skips through the story. Because that is what has to happen. The poor man has to hurt big time and it’s my job to make sure that this man isn’t perfect – at least definitely not for the heroine. Then it is heroine’s job to realise that he can and will be perfect for her – in the end – and that he is definitely the man she is prepared to put time and effort into making sure he becomes her perfect man.
So what do I need to start out with?
Height – well for me anything over five foot two inches (my height) is perfect, but then I think in probably most readers eyes/imagination perfect would be say six foot. We’ve become conditioned by the Hollywood hero towering over us on giant cinema screens and so in our minds heroes have grown to superman proportions, so I guess a measly 5′ 2” hero aint going to cut the mustard.
Then there is his looks. Now while appearance is personal to each writer I increasingly find my heroes have dark hair. I did try to write a blond guy’s story once and failed miserably. So for the most part my men are dark haired, or at least have the edges of their hair sun bronzed – of course this is because they’ve spent hours toiling under the sun and that too is where they developed the great six pack of muscles. I mean he’s my hero and he might as well be yummy to look at – so there.
But why can’t a hero be weasely and skinny you ask? No reason. Except as I said he’s my man and I can do what I like with him. LOL. But then I’m not sure if George Clooney has a six-pack under his Armani suit – and yes I would be happy to check it out for you.
So we have tall, muscular, dark hair. Oh and his eyes. Now those have to smolder. Bedroom eyes. A tiny secret here. I’ve met a man once with bedroom eyes -oh they were real smolders. Just yummy. And yes they crinkled at the edges and glinted too. So it’s not really clichéd. But this make believe sounds a tad too perfect and one-dimensional at this point.
Personal traits are where we can rip the poor guy to shreds and make him as un-perfect as can be. He maybe successful, loyal to family and pets, but he’s gotta be hard as nails and uncompromising if he’s at some stage going to change and become perfect. He’s gotta be ruthless, bold, critical. Determined, but with a chink in his armor. He has to be analytical enough to realize that if he gives up on his goal, that he gets the greater goal – the woman of his dreams.
In He’s the One Cade Harper is offered the chance to help Taylor Sullivan out. She wants to lose her virginity. Now what guy can resist and most would possibli8y be the wham bam thank you ma’am kind, but Cade, who is a love and leave ’em kinda guy, suggests they get to know each other first. Then when things get heated in not the most of insalubrious surroundings, he halts this little game. Why? He has a conscience and for an Alpha male that’s a strong point. This action makes Cade not so cookie cutter, and gives the reader a hint that this guy is possibly nobler than they first thought.
In Secrets and Seduction, Mac is prepared to believe the worst of Leah because it eases his conscience. His personality is harsh, bitter, and trying desperately to salve his reasons for abandoning his family long ago. To make it okay. But when he meets a woman who could lose the only thing that matters – her daughter – and Mac is the cause of it – it makes him begin to change.
And changing is what our heroes have to do to become the perfect man for their heroines. Their personalities are flawed, dogmatic, one eyed, hard hitting. Until they meet the woman of their dreams…but first they have to recognize that their dreams have changed.
So when you see that six foot, six pack, dark eyed and haired hunk who isn’t quite perfect – yet – hands off – because he’s mine.
Here’s a small excerpt from one of my heroes.
She’s hiding something.
Mac’s instinct kicked in, and he sucked in a low breath, letting the oxygen roll around his lungs and seep through his veins.
Just like you.
He pasted on his best smile and watched as the color drained from her face. All the while, her striking green eyes held him captive. They changed from light green and then replicated the shades of the forest as her mood darkened.
For more than a heartbeat, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Curtis had called his wife cold and unforgiving, and yet all he could see was passion and emotion. A spitfire.
Leah Talbot-Grainger was a beautiful woman, with a tousle of curls that created an auburn halo falling to her shoulders and eyes that had the capacity to bewitch. When the tip of her tongue slid across her slightly parted mouth, Mac’s body heated. Her actions taunted him.
But there were no tears, only a desperate fear in eyes that shadowed secrets, and without realizing it, she confirmed everything Curtis had told him about her, strengthening his resolve to protect his niece at all costs.
As the elevator leveled off with the thirtieth floor, the doors opened in silence, and she shoved past him and retreated to the far wall.
Without saying a word, he placed a foot in the doorway, forcing them to remain open.
Frightened green eyes stared at him. “What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Making sure you understand.”
She wrapped her hands across her middle. He recognized her desperation. “Oh, I understand, all right, but you won’t win.”
“We’ll see about that.” He removed his foot and stepped back. “I’ll be in touch, Leah.”
The elevator doors slid closed, and for a moment, he simply stood there.
Jane Beckenham discovered dreams and hope, stories that inspired in her a love of romance and happy ever after in books, then found her own true love after a blind date, marrying him eleven months later.
Life has been a series of ‘dreams’ for Jane. Dreaming of learning to walk again after spending years in hospital. Dreaming of raising a family and subsequently flying to Russia to bring home her two adopted daughters. And of course, dreaming of writing.
Writing has become Jane’s addiction – and it sure beats housework.