Can men ever be REAL men in women’s romance?
By Louise Wise
Our husbands, brothers, fathers, sons, grandsons all have faults. Not all will be ‘fit’ (in the woo-wee sense, not the healthy sense), and shockingly most fart, pick their nose, forget birthdays, forget to buy the cat food, not see that the dog’s been sick on the rug, or that the baby needs changing. Yet, in most women’s fiction, these men don’t exist. Not the main characters—the heroes.
So what do women want from their fictional men? Do we want real men in our romance books?
Maybe I should ask the question: Could an ordinary man ever be a hero? I’ve never wrote about one, neither have I read about one. I wouldn’t want to. We read romance because, probably, we don’t experience it in real life, or maybe because we just like it.
It’s that simple. We like reading about romance, because we like it. So, no, men can’t be ‘real’. They have to be our heroes. They can be ugly, scarred, bald, have long hair, wear glasses but heaven forbid the man who has BO, or is tight with money or affections. We don’t like fat men, either. And being a coward is a big no-no. Of course, all these exist in books but they are secondary characters or the ‘baddie’.
But it’s changing. Slowly. Men are becoming more real. Our male hero is slowly becoming not so perfect. He needn’t be tall any more. He doesn’t have to have a full head of hair or have bulging muscles. He needn’t even be young! But he DOES have to be fit (woo-wee). He must understand women, even if he does have a few faults.
And that’s all good. Female characters have changed so it’s only right that the men can as well. Nowadays, we can read about fat women, single mothers, spotty women, women with hang-ups and not think twice about it.
The needs of the reader have changed, but they are a fickle lot. They want both realism and escapism. They want both romance and ‘real’. And it’s our job to supply that.
British Humor / Contemporary Romance
From the Author: “The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch therefore I am” is realism tied up in a chick lit style romance. The male character is smug and arrogant (but he’s woo-wee fit!), and the main character Valerie Anthrope is moody and bitchy. The fun comes from the secondary older characters, Tim and Ellen. OAPs that will drive you mad!
‘I thought you were the type of man who could handle a one-night stand.’
The Fall of the Misanthrope is a hilarious tale of one woman’s handling of the modern world. Snowed under with work, drinking espressos and popping energy pills to keep her awake at night to avoid a recurring nightmare, she plays with her health when she realizes the depression, which caused her mother to kill herself, has caught her.
Bossy Ellen Semple thinks she has the answer: maternal love and cream cakes.
But Valerie begins dating playboy Lex Kendal, unaware that he’s Ellen’s nephew and the very reason why her brokerage has taken ‘exceptionally good business lately’. Ellen believes his ‘bed ’em and leave ’em’ ethos will damage Valerie even more but Lex rubbishes her fears.
But it’s Lex who falls for Valerie and she dumps him. Then Valerie has a nightmare that turns everything she’s ever known the right way up. She’d been walking on a time-bomb. Or is she losing her mind?
There was no need for words. Once inside, I walked straight upstairs, my body already aflame. Lex followed, his body so close, every time I took a step up, I brushed against him. We were removing one another’s clothes before the bedroom door had closed behind us. Our mouths seeking one another’s, our hands exploring unfelt flesh.
We didn’t make the bed at first. Lex lifted me up, and I wrapped my legs around his waist. We made love against my dresser, and again in the bed. I was angry at Ellen’s betrayal. Somehow she’d set out for me and her to meet, and obviously Lex too. But my anger had turned to lust. I wanted Lex or Alex Kendal, and I was going to use him to my advantage.
Louise Wise lives in England with her husband and four children – all boys. So is it any wonder she took to writing fiction and blogging? Her habit have reduced her to living in a small room at the back of the house, tapping out romantic fiction on her pink (something had to be pink!) laptop and spotlighting/interviewing other authors on her blog.
She emerges for coffee at regular intervals during the day, and slopes off to Real Work at a busy pharmacy several days a week which helps pay for her addiction to writing. She rarely washes. And doesn’t like to be disturbed. But she’ll make allowances if you come bearing gifts of vodka and chocolate.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B003FW6RKM