A romance novel would not be a romance novel without a larger-than-life hero. It doesn’t matter what the sub-genre is – suspense, paranormal, space opera or contemporary. If the plot includes romance, the hero is willing to risk it all and usually does.
Alpha male heroes are making a comeback – albeit with a few tweaks to the strong, authoritative male of the early 70’s. Today’s romance readers still enjoy their alpha males but like pairing them with equally strong heroines. No more forced sexual encounters on poor, unsuspecting virgins who, for whatever reason, ended up married to a brute. More often than not, today’s heroines are just as passionate and sexually aware as their heroes, and can hold their own when it comes to kicking ass and taking names. Personally, I like it when my main characters are competitive. It creates good chemistry and can be the basis for some fun dialogue.
As readers, we expect “extraordinary” when it comes to characters. But that’s in a romance novel or movie.
We pass real life heroes every day, often overlooking them because we never take the time to dig beneath their modesty and discover the extraordinary feats they’ve accomplished.
Take Steve, for example, a man I met through my plant merchandising job. Steve is a store employee, not a vendor like me. He works hard, has a great attitude, exhibits good customer service and is always willing to lend a hand. To look at Steve, you’d think he was cruising toward retirement with not a care in the world. He’s talks about his wife and family with great affection, enjoys his job, and shares a lot of humorous stories with co-workers. Steve’s a good guy. The neighbor and friend everyone wants to have.
I almost missed the opportunity to meet Steve. His life hasn’t been easy. Not long ago, when he was a career man with a phone service provider, Steve was diagnosed with some serious health issues. He waited over two and a half years for a liver transplant and at one point, was told to get his affairs in order.
Today Steve looks robust and healthy. He has a warm heart and a compassionate soul. You’d never know he spent several years battling for his life unless he told you. He overcame what could have been a debilitating adversity and now serves as an inspiration for the rest of us.
People like Steve make me realize everyday heroes are the real thing. They’re not a character in a fictional story. They seldom have “dark, compelling eyes”, a “ruggedly handsome face” or the “taut, muscular limbs” of a story book hero.
Sometimes they’re disguised as a plant specialist . . . or a rancher . . . or a construction superintendent. But almost always, they serve as an example for the rest of us to follow.