Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Perfect Love Interest: Guest Post

Yes, it's guest post day! Today we have the wonderful Meredith Schorr, author of the book Blogger Girl. I asked her how she creates the perfect love interest in books. Without any further ado, here we are:

Valerie asked me to write a post on how to create a perfect love interest in a book. My initial response was, “thanks, Valerie, for asking me such an easy question! *sarcasm*” but then I decided to look at the post as a challenge since it is not a question I have ever asked myself or even discussed with other writers.

In real life, one man isn’t perfect for all women. By that same token, one fictional hero isn’t perfect for every book heroine. I think it is really important to know your leading lady when creating her leading man. For instance, if your main character is extremely bold and sure of herself, a compelling hero might be one who offers a challenge by putting her in her place and mellowing her out. If your leading lady is introverted and reserved, it could be fun to spice things up by creating an “alpha” love interest that takes her out of her comfort zone and makes her see herself in a different light.

There are some genres, most notably “romance,” where the leading man is always as swoon-worthy on the outside as he is on the inside, i.e. physically unflawed – tall, muscular, six-pack abs, smoldering eyes, winning smile etc. but my brand is “Real Chick Lit for Real Chicks” so while my leading men are always attractive, I often throw in a physical flaw to make them more relatable/attainable. For instance, Nicholas in Blogger Girl is gorgeous but he’s also only 5’7’. In a sex scene, I describe his body as lean and well-built but not overly muscular or perfect. While the handsome yet imperfect hero works well for my books, since my heroines are also based in reality and flawed, the “realistic” hero might not be appropriate for other books.

Although as noted above, what constitutes the perfect hero depends on the heroine herself, there are some factors one should keep in mind when choosing the right man, certainly in the “real world.” I am going to share an excerpt from my first novel, Just Friends with Benefits, where Stephanie, my main character, gets some helpful advice from her mother on the topic:

Giving me her “mommy knows best” look, my mom said, “Well, if it’s right, you should feel safe with him.”
“Safe how?”
My mom looked straight ahead as if the right words were somewhere in the distance and then nodded. “Have you ever been infatuated with someone to the point that you practically walk on eggshells fearing he’ll stop liking you at any time?”
I thought back to almost every guy I had ever liked. “Uh, yeah!”
“Well, when it’s right, you shouldn’t feel that way. You should feel safe and secure in his feelings for you.” Pointing her finger at me, she said, “Unlike my relationship with your father.”
I was pretty confident Ryan wasn’t on the verge of losing interest in me. “Cool.”
“And when it’s the right man, you should also feel confident he’ll take care of you.”
I should’ve known this was coming and waved my hand in protest. “I’m not looking for a sugar daddy, Mom.”
My mom shooed my hand away. “That’s not what I meant.” Chuckling, she said, “Well, that’s not entirely what I meant. I don’t want you marrying a man who can’t support you and your children economically. Does Ryan do as well as Hille?”
“I was just asking. But what I meant by ‘taking care of you’ was that a man who loves you will do whatever is necessary to protect you from dangerous people and dangerous situations. Even with his bad knee, Allan insists on taking out the garbage if it’s after sunset so I don’t have to walk outside in the dark.”
Maybe that’s why Ryan always insisted on coming with me when I got drunk and wanted to leave a bar to grub a cigarette from a stranger. “Okay. What else?”
Looking thoughtful again, my mom said, “He should accept and adore you the way you are while at the same time encouraging you to be even better.”
Ryan still liked me no matter how often I knocked over my drinks. And he was trying to persuade me to train for a half marathon. This was looking good. I beamed at my mom. “You amaze me, Mom. You’re so wise.”

Wise words indeed!

Thank you to Valerie for asking the tough questions and for having me on her blog!

1 comment:

Meredith said...

Thanks so much for having me on your blog!

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