I was thinking this past weekend about what makes a great romance (okay, I pretty much think about this all the time). There are many authors I like to read. Their stories are very good, and the heroes and heroines are funny and likeable. But then there are a few authors I absolutely love. You know what I mean; these are the authors you preorder as soon as you can because you simply cannot imagine not reading the book as soon as it releases. These are the books you obsess over, that you dream about. So what makes the difference? What differentiates a good romance from a great romance? Well, after putting a lot of thought into it, I’ve realized that for me, it’s all about the hero. I will become an author’s undying fan if I fall in love with the hero.
Ever have someone recommend a book to you and you read it but thought the characters sucked? We all have certain personality traits we go crazy over, as well as those that are turn-offs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means there’s a wide audience out there.
Here are some of the traits I need my hero to have if I’m going to fall head over heels in love with him:
- Some Alpha Maleness
I say some because the all-out alpha male, complete with chest pounding, just doesn’t do it for me. A little bit goes a long way here. Yes, it’s sexy if he’s accustomed to calling all the shots, but he’s got to have some flexibility too. After all, well-written heroines aren’t wimpy misses by any means. They’ve got ideas too, and there’s nothing sexier than a man who’s man enough to listen to them.
- Sense of Humor
He doesn’t have to be an all-out jokester (though that’s okay too), but a man who can see the humor in a situation is worth his weight in gold.
This is an obvious one. Who wants to worry about whether their man will stray, or stick around when things get tough? A great hero must have a fiercely loyal core, even if it isn’t fully obvious from the get-go.
This sort of goes back to the alpha male thing. I don’t want him to be smothering, but who doesn’t want to feel protected? Like someone is willing to lay down their life for you?
- A Hint of Vulnerability
This is a crucial trait, and I think it’s a difficult thing to accomplish. There’s a very delicate balance: too much vulnerability and he’s wimpy or needy, too little and you run the risk of him not seeming real enough. But if you add just the right mix of vulnerability to the equation, you get a hero who’s impossible to resist.
So what do you think? Do you agree that a to-die-for hero is what takes a romance from good to great? If so, what are some of your favorite personality traits when it comes to heroes?