Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alternative Hero Material

It's my crazy great pleasure to have Lynne Marshall at Tattered Pages today, with a fabulous post about alternative heroes. I CAN'T WAIT to see comments on this one~ And be sure to leave one, cuz Lynne is hosting a give-away!

As romance readers, we’ve gotten used to reading about heroes who light up the room when they enter. They’re gorgeous and little birdies go tweet tweet tweet around their heads whenever they smile. Without spending any time at the gym, and while eating anything they want, they still manage to be cut and wash-boarded. Did I mention they are moguls, top-notch surgeons, millionaires and/or undercover cops, and even though every woman on earth drools over them, they only have eyes for the heroine?

Ah, the power of romantic fiction. Sigh.

What about regular guys? Aren’t they worthy of our undying love, too? 

Inspired by reading AJ Nuest’s book, Jezebel’s Wish, where the heroine, Jezzy—what I call an alternative heroine—is far from the norm in the perfect looking, today-girl, I-can-have-it-all-type departments, I got an idea for this blog. So here’s my plan, I’d like to talk a little about alternative heroes, the not-so-perfect men who still manage to win over our hearts in our favorite books. 

Anyone ever read Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer? Will Parker was skinny, homeless, and out of work at the tail end of the great depression when he stumbles into Eleanor Dinsmore’s life by answering her ad for a husband. She thinks Will is a bag of bones and as the story plays out, she helps fatten him up, and turn him into the man he is destined to be. Did I mention she is a widow, pregnant, and has two other children, and is in great need of a man to help her work her land?

That scenario doesn’t sound very sexy does it? Well, I’m here to tell you that book will grab you by the collar and pull you into its depth faster than any Stetson clad Texas billionaire.

Suz Brockman wrote a guy named Ken “Wildcard” Karmody who was only five-feet-eight, in Out of Control, one of her Navy Seal Series. Not your average hero material, you suggest? Let’s just say you’d be wrong about that statement, too.

Recently, I read a fun book called Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts, where the hero turns out to be a cross dressing nightclub entertainer in Vegas. This was a harder stretch for me because I kept imagining him with waxed eyebrows whenever he and the heroine got up close and personal.

I’ve got one more alternative hero I’d like to tell you about. His name is Tyler White, and he is an over forty, has-been singer on his comeback tour in One for the Road, my current release with The Wild Rose Press. He’s big, six-feet-four, a bit out of shape, he smokes, and has blood pressure issues. Is that your idea of a hero? Probably not. The last thing he’s interested in doing is falling in love with a forty-six year old widow while renting her forty-foot RV for his cross country tour. Without spoiling the story, I’ll just mention that while challenged by D’Anne and the trials and tribulations of being on the road twenty-four-seven with his band and a picky widow, not to mention a mystery he needs to help solve, he becomes the man he was meant to be…a true hero.

I don’t have any problems with dreamboats as heroes, but once in a while I like to spice up my reading life with grittier characters who have realistic flaws, guys like Will, Ken, and Tyler White. How about you?

Tell us who your favorite alternative hero is from either a book or a movie, and get your name in a drawing for your choice of either a print or e-book gift coupon for One for the Road from Amazon

Lynne Marshall (  is a multi-published author of Medical Romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon, with an upcoming Harlequin Special Edition, Courting His Favorite Nurse, due out 3/12. Her current release is a full length contemporary romance, One for the Road, from The Wild Rose Press 

Lynne believes it’s never too late to fall in love, and that second chances are gifts from life which are not to be squandered.


Amy said...

I LOVED Morning Glory!!! lovedlovedloved! It is an AMAZING book. As is everything by her. In Then Came Heaven her heroine was a nun! WOW! Thanks for the great post Lynne!!

P.L. Parker said...

What a hard question to answer! I can't think of an alternate hero in a story. My heroes all have flaws but they are still hunks. Congratulations on the release and the book sounds great!

Calisa Rhose said...

I love the imperfect hero. I think they are realistic while still being someone who we can watch change, improve and grow into a great hero. I think it isn't seeing the perfect image in a hero that grabs me. It's seeing him grow and become that hot hero we want to see the heroine with that attracts me, and makes him attractive in doing so.
Alternate hero? Hm I'd have to think about this because there really aren't that many out there right now. One of my fave is my own. Ex-bull rider, messy divorce, lots of baggage and an ex-wife who yanks him around on a leash of guilt. Not to mention his ghost pain, scars and a crooked nose from a nasty bull that ended his career, and very nearly his life.

And NOW you offer OFTR? lol I'm buying it tomorrow night. But if I win a coupon here, I'll buy another great WRP book. There's a few I have my eye on!

Great post ladies!

Lynn Chantale said...

Hmm, I had to think about this one a moment. An alternative hero, Sam from Lord of the Rings (the movies)
But Henry Roth from 50 First Dates, Dayan from Dark Melody.
I can't think of anymore right now, but I do love heroes that kind of sneak up on yon.
One last one Sam Witwicky from Transformers. His screaming is hysterical.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Amie! Pardon my tardiness, but I thought I was posting on the 28th. oops!

Oh yes, I am so glad you agree about Morning Glory. LaVeryl is a fantastic writer.

A nun as a heroine is another great example. thanks so much for commenting.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi P.L. - flaws are a definite with any character to make them interesting. Being a hunk can also be a disadvantage, you know? Women don't know how to function normally around them, a lot of insincere people want to hang out with you. etc. I can see where super-good looks could get played up as a huge flaw.

What do you think?

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Calisa!
>Ex-bull rider, messy divorce, lots of baggage and an ex-wife who yanks him around on a leash of guilt. Not to mention his ghost pain, scars and a crooked nose from a nasty bull that ended his career, and very nearly his life.<

I'd say this qualifies for alternative hero! LOL.

Hey sweetie - I'm trying to get my sales numbers up by offering coupons, so please go ahead and buy the book with the coupon! If you win today you can gift the book to someone else. :) Finding new readers is tough.

Thank you for commenting, Calisa - it's always great to read your comments at blogs.

Jannine Gallant said...

I love all LaVyrle's books, still have them on my shelf, and still re-read them from time to time. As for alternative heros, I'm stuck on my own from Bittersweet, a historical western due out in February. Daniel took a back seat to his brother his whole life, and now plays second fiddle to the new sheriff. He's not as big and brawny, is less outgoing, and lacks his expertise with a gun. He's just a regular guy working his farm and trying to live up to his brother's image. Most of my other hero's are Type A charmers. So why is it Daniel is my favorite of them all? Hmmmm...

Great post, Lynne!

Lynne Marshall said...

wlynnechantale- thanks for the recommendations. I hope, by the end of the day, we'll have a whole lot more examples of alternative, yet just as appealing, heroes.

And AJ - your blog is beautiful! Lots of fun stuff around here.

AJ Nuest said...

Hi Lynne! Oh my goodness, I re-checked the date and well, I had the post scheduled for the 27th in one place, and then the 28th in another. Geesh! I can't keep track of myself much less anything else. Sorry for the SNAFU! I guess I was so excited about your post I just couldn't wait!!

Lynne Marshall said...

Jannine - your Daniel does indeed sound like an alternative hero!

Thanks for commenting.

Lynne Marshall said...

AJ - I had picked up on something you'd said in an e-mail to me about Thursday, and I meant to check it out yesterday, but the day got ahead of me. Anyway, I followed my hunch today, and viola! There I was with that goofy picture of me on your blog. LOL

I'm thrilled to be here no matter which day. Thanks for having me. I hope we get lots of comments.

Arial Burnz said...

GREAT post Lynne!! OMG you've totally inspired me to write an alternate hero in the book I'm working on right now. I'm so glad I read this post! Congratulations on your release!!!

Dee J. said...

Great post! I LOVE Wildcard! One of my favorite heroes! (Although Suz knows how to write a hero, be it any type!) I also ADORE Tyler! I fell in love with him at the very beginning. Trying to think of other alternative heroes and drawing a blank at the moment... I'll come back if I think of one.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Arial, I'm glad you enjoyed the blog, and I hope you DO write that alternative hero. Let me know when it is available to read! :)

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Dee J!
Thank you for your compliment about Tyler. As you know, I'm quite partial to him, too. :)
Yeah, Ms. Brockmann knows her heroes, that's for sure, regarless of how tall they are.

Thanks for stopping by.

Unknown said...

Hi Lynne!

I absolutely loved your book! Personally, I don't care if the hero is a hunk or not, as long as the heroine sees him as one. You did a great job of letting us see Tyler through D'Anne's eyes, and that's what matters. Because she loved him, I did too.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Roz!
Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I am honored that you read my book, and more importantly, that you fell for Tyler. He does definitely grow on a lady's sensibilities.

Mona Risk said...

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, right? I don't pay attention to the physical attributes of the hero, but to the way he treats the heroine, the way he acts around her and others. If he treats her the way I like to be treated, and makes her feel good, then he's a hero in my eyes. I have a real hero at home, who's less than 6 feet. Who cares considering, I am on the shorty side.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Mona -
I'm glad you've got your own special hero at home. Thank you for commenting.

I hope we come up with a few more examples of alternative heroes. Didn't Kathleen Woodiwiss write a classic hero who'd had a stroke?

Tom said...

Well, I'm not sure it counts, but I have a hero who's a buffed ex-Seal... but he dies in the second chapter. He spends the rest of the book coming back in a spiritual way... And the heroine is a nuclear physicist. Don't see that every day either :)

I loved One for the Road - finished it at three the next morning after I got it at the signing. I'm on my fourth RV, so it was a lot of fun.


Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Tom - wow you have written an out-of-the ordinary hero. I got a little teary-eyed reading your set-up. I remember how moving Ghost was, so I see great potential for your Seal and nuclear physicist. :)

You've officially made my day knowing you enjoyed my book. As you may have noticed the actual RV in the book is a lot more "buff" if you will, than the dated RV on the cover. :)
But don't get me wrong, I love my book cover!

Lynne Marshall said...

I thought of another alternative hero - Vicki Lewis Thomason wrote a series of Nerd hero books a half a dozen years or so ago with titles like The Nerd Who Loved Me, or something like that.

Any others ladies?

Sarah Grimm said...

Lynne- I've read all of the books you mentioned - except yours, but it's on my TBR! I haven't written about an alternative hero..yet. You see, I've got one in my head. lol I have written the alternative heroine - not very pretty, scarred, but her smile lights up the room. :-)

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Sarah!
So glad you commented. Do it! Write that alternative hero. Good for you writing the alternative heroine - and beautiful way of showing how the inner person is more important than the outer person - "her smile lights up the room." My hormones must be out of whack today, I keep tearing up. :)

And thank you for putting me on your TBR list!

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Lynne, great thought provoking post! I Loved Morning Glory! Best alternative heroes for me are from the movies. Number 1 - James Garner in Murphy's Romance. And dare I say it? ... My heart was captured by Forrest Gump.

Anonymous said...

I love the alternative hero - especially nerd ones ;)

Great post, Lynne!

Anne Kemp

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Mac! I absolutely love James Garner, and I have to admit Forrest Gump came to my mind when I wrote this blog, but I stuck with the literary types. Another Hanks character that got to me as an alternative hero was Chuck Noland in Castaway. Plus I love all the beta type heroes Tom Hanks has played in Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail - such a loveable guy!
Thanks for commenting.

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Anne! Good to know you're on board with those Nerd heroes. First off, I misspelled Vicki Lewis Thompson (I had put Thomason - eesh)
Here are some of those funny Nerd titles: Nerds Like it Hot, Talk Nerdy to Me, and Nerd in Shinging Armor. Fun books!
Thanks so much for commenting.

AJ Nuest said...

This has been an outstanding day, Lynne! What a wonderful post and great topic for discussion. I like the rest of us LOVE the alternative -- but she's usually in the form of my heroine. I guess to me it's easier to write from that side because of my own insecurities. I see myself as flawed so I connect with the flawed heroine. Does that count here?

Thank you ssssoooo much for being my guest today. I just KNEW this topic was going to spur some great conversations.

You're the best! And you have an open invitation to return ANY TIME!

Lynne Marshall said...

Thank you, AJ! I feel honored to visit your blog. Now, I have put the names in my little wicker basket and have pinched my eyes closed and chosen - AMIE! I hope you don't mind a little country music mixed in with your romance stories! :)
Please contact me via my website so I can arrange to send whichever version of One for the Road you'd like - print or digital - to you.

all the best to everyone - Lynne

Rochelle Staab said...

I don't know, Lynne. Your Tyler White sounds like my kind of guy. I'm drawn to the slightly beat up ones for some reason. My favorite movie hero was has-been catcher Crash Davis in Bull Durham. Wizened, past his time, damaged=perfect. Of course, Kevin Costner made beaten look sexy.

Great post! I'm excited to read One For The Road.

Maria Powers said...

What Roz and Rochelle said about Tyler. The "alternate" hero that keeps popping into my head is Detective Remy McSwain. On the surface he seems the perfect hero, attractive a police officer, etc... but then you find out that he's on the take and isn't all that ethical. It's his over coming his human flaws that make him better than just the "typical" cop hero.

I like less than perfect heroes. I like "real" heroes. There are also Vicki Lewis Thompson's Nerd series heroes. Not every book worked for me, but I did like the less than perfect in all of them.

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