Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Lure of The Bad Boy Hero



Congratulations to "Steph", the winner of Gail's giveaway. Thank you to everyone who participated!

When I say “romantic suspense hero” what professions spring to mind?  Detectives?  Cops?  Military or Special Forces? 

That’s certainly what came to my mind when I sat down one day to brainstorm heroes for a new miniseries I wanted to write.  I already knew I wanted to create an open-ended series -- something I could add to as inspiration struck.  And while I was fine having some overlapping characters, I didn’t want people to have to read the books in a particular order.  I’m always disappointed when I pick up a book I think I’ll enjoy, only to discover that I’ve come in halfway through the series and don’t know who everyone is.

So that meant creating an agency of some sort, an organization where characters could vary, depending on the plot.  And since romantic suspense heroes need certain skills to do their job, the most likely type of agency would be one related to the military or police -- SWAT teams, cold case detectives, Black Ops or Navy SEALS.

But while I love special ops or law-enforcement heroes, I didn’t want to base my new miniseries on them.  Not only have they been done often, but they’ve been done well.  Extremely well.  Probably much better than I could ever do.  I wasn’t sure I had a unique enough twist on them to contribute anything fresh.

And truthfully, I’ve always been more intrigued by men who don’t obey the rules -- those darker, murkier characters who follow their own moral principles, meting out justice as they see fit.  So I decided to buck tradition and invent a more offbeat group, a secretive, loosely affiliated association of thieves, spies, and rogues who operate in that gray area between right and wrong -- usually outside the law.  Of course, since these are romantic heroes, they really are the good guys, albeit in a less traditional way.

Harlequin loved the idea.  They named the group The Stealth Knights and gave them slogan: The Stealth Knights: powerful, passionate heroes with their own code of law.  They also created a cool little “flash” logo which consists of a shield with swords.

Despite their medieval sounding name, these are very contemporary heroes.  And while I set the first two books (High-Risk Reunion and High-Stakes Affair) in a fictitious, Pyrenees Mountain kingdom, the Stealth Knights will operate anywhere in the world they need to go.

To give you a better idea about the heroes, here’s the back cover copy from my current Stealth Knights book High-Stakes Affair:

With her country on the brink of unrest, loyal Princess Paloma Vergara escapes the security of the palace walls to protect her family.  To eliminate the threat of blackmail against her brother, the heir to the Vergara legacy, she must enlist the help of an ex-con with a very special set of skills.

Dante Quevedo has his own dark agenda: avenge his sister’s death.  Teaming up with the royal beauty makes revenge all the easier to claim.  Until they stumble upon a terrorist plot that leaves them with no one but each other to trust...

So what kind of romantic suspense heroes do you enjoy the most?  Do you like reading about bad boys and other, less conventional men?  I certainly had fun creating The Stealth Knights.  I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do!

Gail will be giving away a print or ebook (Kindle or Nook format) of High-Stakes Affair to one lucky commentor!

Giveaway ends 9pm EST March 5th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email justromanticsuspense @ gmail.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

26 comments:

  1. Your book sounds fabulous!!! For me special forces and the bad boys are the ones that just have it all!

    Thank you for the giveaway
    Desere

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    1. We've got the same tastes, Desere:))) Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Your new series sounds intriguing. I guess it depends on the definition of "bad boys" as to whether I like reading about them or not. I do like the less conventional however. The hero has to have some integrity for me to like him. I'll just have to read the first book in the series to see if I'll like you band of unconventional Knights.

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    1. Ellen, I think that's the hardest thing to pull off, to take a character who is basically a criminal and make him redeeming. I think I did that in High-Stakes Affair. The hero is basically a modern day Robin Hood. He saw his mother gunned down by the royal forces when he was a child and had to steal to survive.

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  3. Love the idea of a group of special agents who abide by their own code of law. While their ethics may be questionable, they get the job done and good prevails. Love that premise. The series sounds fabulous. (Kathy at kathyivan dot com.)

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    1. Thank you, Kathy! The ethics of the royals is also very questionable, so in the end, the hero really is the good guy:)))) I don't think I could ever have a hero who is truly immoral.

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  4. Great idea for a series, Gail. And congratulations on your Gayle Wilson final !!

    ~Angi

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    1. Thanks so much, Angi! I'm quite thrilled about the Gayle Wilson final!!!!! I'm still smiling about it:)))

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  5. I do enjoy reading about bad boys, of course they're not too bad because they are doing good. I love the name and the medievel looking shield, brings knights fighting for right to mind. I enjoy reading about law enforcement, SEALS, Black Op's, and all kinds of obvious good guys, but the gray area guys are really very intriguing. So much more to work with. Their shady pasts, sometimes tortured bodies and souls. Makes them a very interesting hero. I can't wait to read about your Stealth Knights.

    seriousreader at live dot com

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I love law enforcement and military heroes, too. I guess that's because I come from a military family:))) I have enormous admiration for those brave warriors who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. They are amazing!

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  6. What's not to love about a bad-boy hero. We want to mother them and be their support. They are so intriguing and edgy... we can't help but feel something special for them.

    Hugs!
    Loni

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    1. Hi Loni. Thanks for stopping by! I agree that bad boys are intriguing. I suspect it's also because they do things we "good girls" wouldn't dare:)))

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  7. What I really like about romantic suspense is all the tension and action. I like heroes whose professions place them in exciting situations where there's trouble to deal with or run from. I don't have a particular preference but I do want the hero to be clearly defined and have a chance to show off their skills.

    Cambonified[at]yahoo[dot]com

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    1. Yes, exactly! The action part is important so that they don't come across as just sitting around brooding. I love a hero with a grudge, but I want him to actively resolve it.

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  8. I enjoyed your post. Your new series sounds amazing! I like reading about bad boys and unconventional men.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks so much, "bn100!" I've got a soft spot for the less conventional, too:)))

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  9. I like your unique take on the hero. Sounds like a great idea.

    janet(underscore)kerr(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Janet! I appreciate that.

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  10. I like reading about bad boys that have good hearts and strong morals. Maybe they just prefer to do things on their own terms in their own way. When I think of military men, I think strong Alpha males that follow the rules and do what they are told and expect complete obedience from their team too. When I think of bad boys in romantic suspense I still think of all the same character traits but see a man that is more independent, follows his hunches and maybe does things in an unconventional manner that is no less effective than the rule followers. I see them as bounty hunters, private detectives, rogue or undercover FBI or DEA agents. Someone with an air of mystery that is comfortable making his own decisions without being ordered.

    I generally prefer (99% of the time) the military man, the rule follower with the strong morals and devotion to his team. But every once in a while I completely fall for a 'bad guy' hero that goes his own way and does the right thing in the wrong way. For example I have a huge crush on Tony Martinez in the Julie Collins series by Lori Armstrong. He IS a bad guy but I can't help but love him.

    I'm looking forward to reading this series. I would love to expand on my 1% of bad boys and find more of them I like. After all reading is fantasy, right? And I get enough of the good guys in my real life (married a Marine!).

    Thanks for the blog and the giveaway. I've added this series to my TBR list.

    Heather E
    hregtvedt@aol.com

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    1. Heather, I married a Coast Guard officer, so I'm with you on the military guys!!! But the rogue/bad boy IS fun to fantasize about. In real life, of course, it's a matter of degree. I'm fine with someone doing an illegal search or something in a similar vein, but hard criminal behavior isn't appealing in any way.

      I guess fiction distances us enough from the action to make it more acceptable. For example, in the romantic comedy Someone Like You, the Hugh Jackman character smokes in a non-smoking area. In real life, this would annoy me to no end, and I'd be telling him to put it out. But when sexy Hugh Jackman lights up -- AND tells the guy trying to enforce the rule to shove off -- it makes me laugh.

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  11. I do tend to like the bad boys that are FBI, CIA, etc, however, sometimes I am drawn to those others that push the edge for the good of others. I especially like that many of them are "macho" men sometimes, but the love of a good woman softens them up! I enjoyed your post!

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    1. Amy, you aren't alone. Look at how popular James Bond has been over the years! And that's probably the ultimate female fantasy -- seeing the big, macho man fall in love and reform:))))

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  12. Gail - thank you for the post. I love your books. Cooper Kennedy in Meltdown was one of my favorites. Thank you for your comments on reading/writing a series. I am often frustrated if each book does not stand on its own, but I also appreciate revisiting characters I have grown attached to in other books. I will definitely be reading the Stealth Knights -- these group of alpha-heros are right up my alley.

    I will also add to your and Heather's comments -- married an Air Force officer who is heading overseas soon.

    ((smiles))

    Steph
    stbmeyer[at]gmail[dot]com

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  13. Wow, Steph. Thanks so much for reading my books!!! What a nice thing to say:)))

    Did you know that the Coast Guard and Air Force officers wear the same blue uniforms? My husband is retired now, but my youngest son enlisted in the CG and is at sea at the moment. My oldest son does computer work that supports the military, and he has been to Afghanistan twice for that. It's always a worry when they're gone!!!! I hope your husband's deployment doesn't last long. It isn't easy to wait and worry while they're gone!!!!

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  14. I love your new series premis, Gail. In a way it sounds like the show, Leverage, where a band of grifters and con artists outsmart the bad guys to help everyday folk. I'm a fan of that show and I love your writing - I can see why Harlequin loved the concept.

    And how cool is it that your name is now bigger than the titles on your books? You have arrived!

    Wishing you all the best, Maggie
    http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com

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  15. Thanks, Maggie!!! I wish I could say that I've "arrived," but Harlequin switched over to making everyone's name bigger than the titles a year or so ago. So I can't take credit for that. I haven't seen Leverage, but I'll check it out. There was a British series about con artists that we rented on Netflix, and I really enjoyed it. I can't remember the title off hand.

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