Of Books and Heroes
by Cynthia Selwyn
First I'd like to say—thank you for having me, Miz Love and Crew. I love books, too!
Whenever we were assigned a new book in school, I was probably the only kid who'd be excited. I remember having to read The Once and Future King by T.H. White in tenth grade; I apparently enjoyed that book too much because my mother made me put it away and "go do homework". (Imagine. Put that book down and go…go READ something! Or something…or…oh, go outside and get fresh air, will you? Just. Stop. Reading!)
That was a common refrain in my childhood: "Put that book down and go play!" I much preferred the company of paper companions than that of real people. For me, there was hardly a difference between the real and the fictional, except the fictional people were far more interesting and did more things that were more exciting. Who wouldn't want the experience of living in a little town on the prairie and surviving despite a very long winter? Who wouldn't be enamored with a young King Arthur? Who wouldn't want to go look for gold with dwarves and hobbits, and then later, to travel to a far and hostile land to destroy a dark ring (from the safety of your favorite chair)? And later, as I grew older, who wouldn’t want to fall in love with a strong knight/cowboy/alpha male type/werewolf/vampire? (Because let's face it, nine times out of ten, fictional men are much better than the real thing. Unlike real men, they don't smell sweaty, they don't belch and they don't scratch things best left unscratched, especially in public.)
Now, as a writer, I delight in creating—and not just reading about—my own fictional people. Especially my fictional heroes. It's funny, because most of my men are what you might consider a bit Beta-ish. They're certainly not overbearing or selfish. Like Jack Radigan from my book, Dog-Gone But Not Forgotten. Jack is a cop—which is an alpha-kind of a profession. And he feels compelled to save everyone, even at a detriment to himself. But, when he cooks at home, this tough cop wears the frilly pink apron with a strawberry for a pocket his daughter gave to him when she was younger. (She's going to college now, and begs him not to wear it. But he does, anyway. Because…he cherishes it.) What a hero.
Or Zack, my hero from my recent erotica, In the Cards. Zack is a cowboy and an expert horseman—who teaches and works with troubled teens (and horses). He's also as hunky as the handsomest cover model—and hates that women treat him like nothing but meat on two feet. (Except for my heroine, of course; she sees the Zack under the sexy skin.) He's sort of an alpha—which is what anyone who works with horses or teenagers will tell you is an important attitude to maintain. But mostly, Zack wants to make Alexis happy whatever it takes. (And, honestly, when was the last time a real alpha male gave two hoots about making anyone happy?)
No, my heroes are heroes like…well…hobbits are heroes. (Only taller and without the hairy feet.) They're heroes more like young Wart and not the King, Arthur. They make mistakes, they do and say stupid things and wind up in ridiculous predicaments. Yet, there's a promise to the reader that in the end, despite all situations and problems, they—and the ladies who love them—are going to have a happy and satisfying ending. At least, in my books. How can you not love that?