Dreaming up heroes with depths
What better job can there be in the world, I thought as a young, aspiring writer, than dreaming up men who make one’s heart pound and knees melt? Now that I have published my Andalucían Nights trilogy featuring Salvador (Indiscretion) Leandro and Andres (Masquerade) and Ruy (Legacy), I have not changed my mind in the slightest – what men!
I love to create confident, masterful heroes, very much Alpha males. They are attractive, though not necessarily beautiful; theirs can be a rugged kind of appeal. They are invariably strong, perhaps even a little imposing to the heroine at the start. They look after themselves physically; I think that is important in a hero.
Career always matters. I like my heroes to be self-sufficient and successful in their business field. To me, intelligence, determination and the willingness and ability to work very hard are attractive qualities in a man. Wealth makes for a more exotic and luxurious story, but is not essential: it is the man, not the experiences he can afford to offer, that matters most.
No man is an island, and certainly none of my heroes stands as such: each is connected to others in meaningful ways. I especially like a man to care about such things as history and culture, to place himself within a wider, richer picture. Ruy, for example, in Legacy knows a lot about Andalucía, especially the gypsy culture there, and he shares this with Luna.
All of my men are thinkers – about what has come before, about what happens around them and what will come to pass. But my heroes don’t only think: they feel. I have always been pulled towards Byronic heroes. There is something about a tortured hero – like Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights – that pulls on the heartstrings. I think also that men with a past and who struggle with that past are more real; it is easier to fall for a man who is human, who struggles with life sometimes just as a woman does. So I write men with depths. Men carrying burdens. Men doing their utmost to move forward. I write heroes who really need the heroines to alleviate their inner pain, to teach them to trust and to love again. Sometimes, the true meaning of ‘hero’ is not saving others, but allowing another to save you.