Friday, April 10, 2009

T.A. Chase - My Heroes - DIK Day 2

Heroes-What kind do you lust after?

First, I'd like to thank all the DIK ladies, especially Wave, for inviting me to come join them for a couple days. Boy, do I need this tropical vacation. *kicks off the flip-flops, settles onto lounge chair, and sips from drink*

What am I doing here? *glancing around at all the hunky men surrounding me*

Oh right, I came to talk about men...heroes to be exact. As readers, we know that heroes are a dime a dozen. Every book has one, and in books like mine, there are even two heroes for the price of one. They are diverse as the snowflakes falling from the sky. Oh wait, we're on a desert island..ummm...as diverse as the grains of sand on the beach. Every story needs a hero, someone the reader can get behind and cheer for.

But what makes a great hero? If I had the answer, all my books would sell millions of copies. (Okay, so I can dream, can't I?..lol) Each reader has a preference for what kind of hero they like to read, because they connect with that type better than others. I thought I'd list a few of my favorites.

1. The Alpha Male: A lot of readers like a take-charge kind of guy. A man who knows who he is, what he wants, and isn't afraid to take it. Those arrogant characters are the ones we love to see taken down a peg or two without crushing them. We want to see them grovel at their lover's feet or be confused by all these 'strange' emotions they're feeling and when that happens, they tend to run rough-shod over everyone, either back-pedaling away from the one they love or they stampede forward, like a bull in a china shop. We're left cringing and sympathising with the object of their affection. Yet we can't help loving those tough guys. The best example of an Alpha Hero in my books is Vlatko from Stealing Life. He's definitely a take-charge arrogant man, but Rue knocks him for a loop.

2. The Beta Hero: He's not as in your face as the Alpha man. Steady and dependable, he'll always be there for you, but doesn't believe strong arm tactics are necessary to prove his point. In some ways, he's willing to take a back seat to the other characters, but we don't want him disappearing into the wallpaper. He needs to have an interesting personality, but not overbearing. The Beta doesn't have to be stunningly gorgeous, but pleasingly handsome. While they might be side-swiped by love, they don't always fight it like an Alpha will because they tend to be more in touch with their emotions. Hmmm...a Beta hero is a little harder to find, but I think Les from No Going Home is an interesting example of a Beta Hero with some Alpha tendencies...lol. He wants Randy, but he's willing to let their relationship progress at its own speed, so that Randy can feel comfortable with it.

3. The Anti-Hero: I'll admit that I'm partial to the anti-hero. The man who doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone. He just wants to live his life or survive the battle. There's no real thought of falling in love or caring about anyone else besides himself. Yet when a man like that gets caught up in a situation where he has no choice, but to save everyone else along with himself, he doesn't hesitate to do whatever it takes. Saving the world, a person, or the universe is secondary to saving his own skin. Those types of guys are the most interesting to watch fall in love, because even more than the Alpha, the Anti-Hero fights it tooth and nail, and won't even admit that he's in love when pressed. Seeing an unapologetic loner realize he can't live without this one other person is, for me, the most entertaining story of all. I'll admit I haven't written an Anti-Hero yet, but I have a couple of stories that are in different stages of completion that where one of the heroes would be considered an Anti-Hero. Hopefully, you be able to spot them when they come out.

Of course, all the heroes must be flawed in some way. Not necessarily physically, but in some way emotionally. We, as readers, want to see our heroes heal and grow throughout the story and by the end, be healed or at least not be as damaged as they were in the beginning. We don't want them perfect. Perfection is wonderful to look at, but too difficult to achieve. And to be honest, I've been unable to trust a man who seems perfect. I've found there's always something hidden behind all that perfection.

So, tell me what type of hero do you like and give me examples of them. (You don't have to use just my books. Any hero from any book works for me.) I'll be picking a name from the commenters and giving away a copy of one of my books. (If you already have all of them out, I might be persuaded to give you one of my books that hasn't be published yet. Though you'd have to wait until I got the final edits finished for them.)

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow, when I'll be talking about music and how my stories tend to have theme songs to them. :)

34 comments:

Jambrea said...

*Please Don't Enter Me* :D

Hmmm...A favorite hero I can talk about. ;) I'll be shameless and say that I really love all of your heroes TA. My favorite would be, at this time, Gram. I love how he stands by Kasey and doesn't push. He is just there for him.

Another hero that sticks in my mind is Rhett Butler. He would do ANYTHING for Scarlet and she never really gets him until it's too late.

Troy Lee Farr from Linda Winfree's Hearts of the South series. He is steady and true. Heck...I love all her men just like I love all yours. lol

Another of yours that stick out in my mind is Mason Richardson from Understanding Forgiveness in the Shifting Perspectives anthology. He has his own struggles, but he is a strong man who will stand by Heinrich.

And one more...Lou from Allergies. He is just so...YUM! lol

jessewave said...

Hi TA
Two days in a row. What happened to all the edits?

What kind of hero do I like? I like a man who is not made of cardboard, i.e. one who is three dimensional, who has emotions but DOES NOT cry at the drop of a hat :) can leap tall buildings in a single bound (this one has to do with my fixation on superheroes and should not be given a lot of weight) *g*, is relatable [meaning that he could be someone that I might meet on the street], is intelligent and an all round nice guy. Doesn't have to be either alpha or beta or anti but a good combination of all three, especially the "intelligence" thing would be great to have.

OTOH a hot man with jumping beans in his crotch who is obviously "happy to see me" would not be bad either. :DDD

So there you have him - MY hero.

Rhonda said...

TA, can I just say all of the men in your books? I just love all of them so it is hard to pick just one. I especially love Les with Randy and Gram with Kasey. They both were there for their men. Loved that.

Edmee said...

*I am also not participating in the contest.*

.... I will try to write without too much mistakes. LOL

Actually in the classic sense of the word i don't think that every book have heroes/heroines. There are books with great characters, or with ordinary people. And that doesn't mean that they become heroes to me.

I mean, in one of my very favourite writer, Milan Kundera's books there are main characters, but i hardly call them heroes. Not even antiheroes. They just exists and experiencing what happens with them. (I am not sure if heroes exist in every genre.)

btw One of the best antiheroes i think, Jack Torrance in Stephen King's The Shining. Also i think his son is a very pure hero too. Sometimes innocence and pureness can make a child to a real hero. (Sometime's not. It depends on the writer.)

In you books, i think of Angel as a hero. As you said in your post, the reader must prefer types who has similar feelings, experiences. Angel is weak, and not an active character in the beginning, but we can see the beginning of his transformation into a man. I really would love to meet him and Greyson in one of your future book, because at the end of the book i felt that he really just started his journey. :) *hint hint*

He is my favourite from you, but i also love Kael (he is FUN!), he is a hero to me. And also he is the character who i want to be friends with.

But i think as more of a lead character (not as heroes) about for example Kasey and Ray.
It's just came to my mind that Ray i think is more of a passive character than Angel. That's why he is not a hero for me. (I hope it's not rude to say, because i think ray is very loveable and he is great with Lou.)

Edmee

ps. I missed the cat pictures in this blog.... I am sure your cats are heroes/heroines(?) too. :D

Jenre said...

What an interesting, thought provoking post, TA.

I like all sorts of different heroes but I have one stipulation: They have to be manly. That means no pouting, no giggling, no over-abundance of tears, no squealing, no fussing and no whining. Only heroes with masculine traits get the thumbs up from me.

brooks said...

A favorite hero of mine from one of your books is David from Where the Devil Dances. He has alpha protective qualities, yet he is sweet at the same time.

And I really liked Vlatko. He was a strong character, a warrior through and through. Yet he could admit that he needed Rue.

Angel is simply one of my favorite characters period. The inner strength and fire that he has is so amazing. He is a hero in the purest sense. And the perfect complement to Greyson.

All of those strong, yet sweet qualities in your characters are what attract me to your books time and again.

Great post, TA. Thanks.

Gennie said...

I think that Kael from Here be Dragons is a bit of an anti-hero. I like the protective/supportive dynamic between he and Hugh. I like characters that tend to be contridictory in nature. Ones that are normally timid but are able to overcome that to save the one they love.

katchaya said...

Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird

Tracy said...

I like the confident / self assured man. He can be in your face alpha, or not, the anti-hero, or not, but a character comes alive for me if he's confident and able to deal with life as it happens. Les, in No Going Home is a great example - confident in his own skin, despite the curves. If you've all read (or not) JL Langleys With/Without series, the character of Chay in Without Reservations is a great example of quiet confidence and dealing with life in a self assured, quietly confident way. Thanks my 2+ cents :O)

Firecat said...

I'm an old fashioned gal so for me it's the alpha male all the way. I loves me a take-charge kind of guy!

To be honest TA, I'd have a hard time chosing a favorite from amongst the heroes you've created. They're all so unique, each in their own way, which is one of the things I love about your books.

Renee said...

I love them all: alpha, betas and anti. I see Kael as more of a beta, which I'd love to see more of!

More than a type, a characteristic that gets to me every time is the emotionally restrained hero, who roils with emotion (and passion for the hero or heroine) just under the surface. Gabe, in Sam Kane's Islands and Gabriel in Mexican Heat are a couple of examples that come to mind.

Kate Diamond said...

Ooh! I agree with katchaya! Atticus Finch was the ultimate hero, and the American Film Institute agrees!

In a romance, I don't care whether the hero is alpha or beta. I really look for character chemistry between the two protagonists, and I think every book is different.

Sabrina said...

Favorite heroes...I love Vanyel from the Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey, Clint from Promises Keep by Sarah McCarty, Joey from Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell, and Roarke from the In Death Series by J.D. Robb.

My favorite of your heroes though is actually a tie between Les and Tony I love them both!

T.A.Chase said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. :) I loved hearing your thoughts on heroes and which one of my guys you've fallen in love with. :)

nibor03 said...

Hi TA,

Where's Your picture? :)

Les is my favorite hero from you. I like his gentle support and unconditional love! His being hurt and surviving it and learning to grow from all he suffered added to who he was. Loved that about him.

I do like an unusual hero also. In Shadow Dancer by Stephanie Burke, Zactch, the hero was in a wheel chair. I liked that his not being able to walk and needing someone to help him, didn't take away from the type of man he was.

Robin J

Melissa Bradley said...

Hi T.A.. Interesting discussion today and of course one of my very favorite topics...heroes. One I know you know I love is Les from NGH. He really got inside my heart. Eagle from BCR has also carved out a place for himself. I love his giving, his loyalty and his courage.

Another one that does it for me is Senior Chief Stan Wolchonok from Suzanne Brockmann's Over the Edge. Protective, steady, self-deprecating and doesn't mind a lady taking the lead.

I also love Jason from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. He's a little guy, but his heart is huge. He's courageous, loving and a wonderful friend.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Thanks to Wave and the authors of DIK for such great blogs.

Tina Burns said...

Angel is my fave of yours, well, and Vlatko. It's a tie.

My fav hero is Roland from Steven King's Dark Tower series. He's super flawed, doesn't want to be the hero, makes mistakes and pays for them, others pay for them, yet he continues on.

Tina Burns said...

ps: don't enter me in the contest either. :D

H said...

As I was reading through your heroes lists, I was thinking that whatever else they are, I like a "deeply flawed" hero. Sometimes that flaw is something than can be changed/fixed/dealt with, while at other times (in other stories), it is part of what makes the character come alive. Not necessarily easy things for an SO (or prospective SO) to deal with, but flaws bring the character to life, 'cos we are all flawed, and give the reader something to empathise/cheer/bemoan with/for the character (and probably for his SO!)
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that a Deeply Flawed/Anti-Hero is a winner for me (not sure how much of both I could take in the same character - Thomas Covenant was a step too far, IMHO).

Thank you - I've thoroughly enjoyed those titles of yours I've read so far (I've told myself to reduce the TBR over this long weekend before I get Allergies .. but I'm weak and don't always listen *g*).

Maija P. said...

I love to read about men like Zarek (Kenyon) or Zsadist (Ward). But my latest hero worship is towards Bujold's The Sharing Knife hero Dag. He's just... Dag. An older man who has seen the world and still continues to protect farmers even though Lakewalkers have difficulties with them. Caring, quiet, thoughtful and speaks only when he has meaningful things to say. When he found the much younger Fawn, he totally thought there couldn't be anything with a sparkling diamond like her. But Fawn saw what a lovely man he was... And the end is history ;)

Maija P.
chayanna82(at)hotmail(dot)com

Tracy said...

I'm really a alpha hero guy. Possessive and dominant - but still able to hear my point of view. Can't be cavemanesque. I'll say like Nalini Singh's Changleling men. Love them.

Carolyn Jean said...

Great post! I love anti heroes, too. What's his name from Casablanca, of course, or even Paul from Palace of Varieties would sort of qualify as one. He's one of my fave heroes.

reader2112 said...

I don't think I really have a preference for one type of hero over the other. I like them all, usually in a story I like one hero more than the other.

I love TA's Vlatko & Angel. Sean Michael's Mal/Herc from the Velvet Glove series. Chris Owen's 911 guys. And and and......I think I better stop now. As long as the characters keep the TSTL moments to a minimun, I am a happy reader.

Chris said...

I have always had a special fondness for the not so perfect man. I would never want to live with someone that always did the right things or made the right choices. I also love a face that has character whether it’s from laugh lines or scars. Maybe that’s why I like my cowboys. I do like my heroes to be strong, and I especially like the ones that are strong enough to let others be strong too. Les Hardin is a favorite hero of mine. He has lived through tragedy and heartache and still has the courage and strength to believe not only in himself but in others. Of course a man with a voice that makes me want to get naked isn’t a bad thing either.

Karin said...

I guess my favorite type of hero is somewhere between an alpha and a beta, though probably edging toward the beta. My favorite hero, who I think is a beta, is Captain Frederick Wentworth from Jane Austen's Persuasion.

However, I really enjoy all heroes as long as they're well written and their personality fits their story.

Anonymous said...

From your books, Vlatko, Gram and Les...
Also Spenser from Robert B Parker's books, he is smart, well read, a smart-ass and stupid crazy about his girlfriend who truthfully gets on my nerves. But I like him and Hawk too.
Suzi.

Jo said...

I have really loved authors who have a bad guy in one book who becomes the hero in the next... Yummy anti-heroes!

Of course, doubt I'd want one in real life, LOL.

Kris said...

Terrific post, T A.

I'm a fan of all these types of heroes, but I have a special place in my heart for the anti-hero. I particularly enjoy reading the stories of those ani-heroes who are just masses of heaving emotions.

I read Jane Seville's "Zero at the Bone" which featured one such hero, D, only yesterday. Other absolute favourites of mine are the two main characters, Ty and Zane, from Madeleine Urban's and Abigal Roux's "Cut and Run". I adore those guys.

Celeste said...

I like my heros to be strong, intelligent and to be willing to display some emotion (or at least acknowledge that they have some...). I have an especially soft spot for Rathian and Stakel in The Vanguard and Les and Randy - all of the above, a little on the Alpha side but not overwhelming, people I'd like to meet and get to know.

Valerie Oakley said...

I gotta go with Hugh from Dreaming of Dragons as my fav Beta Hero, Ren from Bound by Love as the Alpha type and Eric from Where the Devil Dances as an Anti-Hero. But My All time Favorite guy is Kael, I can read DOD over and over again because his character (all of them really but especially his) is so well written that it never gets boring to me.

Sioux said...

I like the anti-heroes. My favorite so far, published only on the blog is Nick in Nick of time, although Gryphon seems to me in his own way to also be an anti-hero since he doesn't much like humans. Keep up the good work with all the hero types and we'll keep buying.

Bridget Locke said...

Hmm...fascinating post.

I'm a herocentric reader. The heroine has to be good too, but usually it's the hero who makes or breaks a book for me.

For instance, Pemberley by...(can't think of author's name) almost ruined Mr. Darcy for me because of the fact that he was whining and crying and had become a complete psychopath. I hated him! :(

I'm a big believer in a believable character. I admit to going more for the Alpha/Anti-Hero heroes because they tend to have more character. Too often the Betas are women in a man's skin and just don't read as someone I personally would be interested in dating. If a strong Beta can be written well? I'd totally be behind him. :)

And I haven't read any of your books, so enter me! :D

Anonymous said...

I really love all of your heroes.

Susan said...

Wow, favorite hero, hmmmm. That is a very hard choice to make considering just how many couples I want to see more of, from your books and others.

While I have seen mention of both Kael and Hugh from Here be Dragons mentioned, I think of them differently. Think Hugh is alpha for sure, but think of Kael as more the hero of the story. He was in a very abusive relationship but he managed to leave and move far away to someplce new and not knowing anyone there. I can relate to him because when I was lots younger I had a couple of bad relationships too, not quite as bad as his but, yea, can still relate. He was smart enough to understand he needed help dealing with it and saw a therapist, too. As his relationship grows with Hugh he has the flashbacks true but it is a form of healing. What really got me though was the time they went to visit his horse and the dragon attacked. He didn't hesitate to jump on his horse and attack the dragon to help protect the other horses. Can't wait to see what happens next :) hint hint lolol

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