Having spent the past few years spinning stories on my computer of the Historical Romantic persuasion, I find myself constantly challenged to define the Perfect Hero. We all have different requirements of our heroes. We all want them to be strong, smart, tall… or maybe short. Alpha – but we love our betas too! Dark and brooding – but occasionally mixing it up with a red or golden haired god with a sunnier disposition can make the heart sing (Hey, look at that – Jason from Follow My Lead has red hair. Whodathunk?)
So how what does make the Perfect Historical Romance Hero? After much consideration, I think I’ve narrowed it down.
Now, the Perfect Historical Romance Hero doesn’t have to have ALL of the following traits, but he has to have at least a majority of them. It’s like a Chinese food buffet. Pick and choose what you like.
1. Be good looking… or at least, distinctive looking.
On the most basic level, we want our heroes to be pretty. What’s the use of those hot guys on the covers if they don’t play into our fantasies? But more importantly, a hero has to look good to the heroine. She may not go for the Henry Cavill type (although if she doesn’t, she’s blind), but instead respond to a… Bradley Whitford (cute, sweet, but a romance hero?). That said there is a well-documented psychological phenomena that says that as one begins to fall in love, the object of their affection begins to look better to their eyes. So Bradley Whitford can turn into Henry Cavill to the heroine. It’s true… beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
|Which one of these men is a romance hero?...Both!|
2. Be unaccountably drawn to the heroine.
There has to be something about the heroine that drives the hero nutty. His eyes are drawn to her the moment she enters the room. She gets under his skin, without even trying. And in some cases, like Jason in Follow My Lead – he is so attuned to Winnifred Crane’s whereabouts, when he sees her boarding what he thinks is the wrong ship, he ends up following her all the way across Europe!
He may not like her initially, but there has to be something in him that ends up putting her front and center.
Also, the ability to spar verbally with said heroine is a bonus. Because that’s the fun part.
3. Wealthy and/or titled.
Who doesn’t want to hook up with an aristocrat? (Did I mention Jason from Follow My Lead is a duke, too?) Or a self-made millionaire? There is an aphrodisiac to power, and we readers certainly enjoy seeing it (note: this aphrodisiac is only potent if requirement #1 is also fulfilled.)
Also required: a certain amount of self awareness. Which is something the heroine can help give him, if he needs taking down off of a particular wealth and status related high-horse.
4. “Have you ever considered Piracy?”
My favorite quote from The Princess Bride best describes what is needed to be a historical Romance Hero. Not that they all become the Dread Pirate Roberts, of course, but they all have a twinkle in their eye, even if its under the coldest, iciest exterior, that could lead them into mischief. Never underestimate a willingness to cause trouble.
And if the hero is a pirate… well, that’s a bonus too.
5. The Indefinable. The X Factor.
Someone once said (and I’m afraid it might be Simon Cowell) that “either you’ve got it, or you don’t.” That extra something special. That undefinable, “it” factor – and to be a Historical Romance Hero, you definitely have to have it. Be it a dark and dirty secret, or a secret delight, or a way of dancing the waltz that makes the girls go all a flutter, a Perfect Hero has “it”. In spades.
So what do you think? What are some of the characteristics of your Perfect Hero? Let me know below, and you could win a copy of Follow My Lead!