I am an Army brat. My dad was an Army Airborne Ranger my entire life. He retired when my daughter was 2. I grew up on military bases, surrounded by mostly infantry men.
My husband is currently in the National Guard and was with the 101st Airborne in the first Gulf War, and with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Afghanistan. Our home is often opened up to breakfast and/or lunch for his unit during his drill weekends. I am also the Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader for his unit. I am often surrounded by Army men.
Consequently, when it comes to writing my characters, I tend to gravitate toward strong men. Not just physically strong men, but also men of strong character, strong values, strong morals. Most of the time, even if my male character doesn’t start the book as a Christian, his other values line up already.
There have been exceptions. My character Steve in A Harmony For Steve started off the book as a weak man, consumed by the demons of his past, a slave to drugs and alcohol, who had everyone running things for him – leaving him room to not have to make any decisions or accept any responsibility. It was a challenge to bring him from a weak man with a weak character and have him own his strength and his personality by the end of it.
My character Derrick DiNunzio is first introduced in the book Sapphire Ice. He’s a street hood who is taken in and mentored by my protagonist Tony Viscolli. He is young, physically strong but morally weak. By his book, Topaz Heat, he is a strong male character with a base of good values and morals.
Mostly, though, I write strong men, I love strong men, and I love women who appreciate and rely upon that strength, whatever the situation. When I am involved in a story where the man is weak or the woman is stronger than the man, I just simply don’t enjoy the story on the same level.
As I was talking about writing this post with my husband, I told him that a long time ago (like early 90’s), I read a secular romance where the male character was constantly just so weak. His POV made me cringe on his behalf. His “dark moment” in the story was when he was making his futon bed and eating a rice cake at the same time. (I’m not kidding). He was multitasking despite intentionally trying to live a simple life.
That was very much a theme in the mid-nineties. In that time period, I submitted my book An Aria For Nick (way before it was a Christian romance) to that same mass market romance publisher and the reply I got back from them was that I needed to lessen the masculinity in the character Nick and, “get him more in touch with his feminine side.” I wrote them back and politely told them, “Thank you, but no.” Nick is a spec-ops agent. The last thing he needs is less masculinity (heh).
I know that a lot my personal tastes have to do with what the “normal” is around me. I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire me to write about strong men – and I pray that my fans continue to love them, too!
What about you? What kind of hero do you like?
One commenter will win an autographed copy of my book Courting Calla.
Ian knows God has chosen Calla as the woman for him, but Calla is hiding something big. Can Calla trust Ian with her secret, or will she let it destroy any possible hope for a future they may have?