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Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Makes a Hero?

I’ve seen a bunch of chatter on line lately about what attributes make a good hero. As I’m pretty much all about oddball characters, I immediately shrug. Stony, furry, scaly, horned, fanged, winged, tailed…whatever works. Not to mention skinny, muscular, short, tall, glasses, or asthma. Done each and every one of those too—in books of course—just in books. (Bats the big brown eyes innocently.) Age doesn’t bother me either way a bit. Gray hair can be sexy as hell. So can a hot younger man. I’m not even hung up on the concept of alphas. Sometimes those betas are the real winners and come through in a crunch.

Common features of all my heroes? Sex appeal. Duh. Nuff said about that one. Smart.  They gotta have a quick mind—education level can vary, but they have to have cunning and wit. Courage. No cowardly heroes need to apply. Of course it might take an extraordinary circumstance to let him know he’s brave, but when it comes down to it, he has to have cojones. Loyalty. Okay, now I’m making him sound like the family dog, but it’s important. Humor. Because without it, all that macho posturing just makes you want to smack him upside the head. Absolute and utter devotion to the heroine—or the other hero AND the heroine, in the case of a ménage. And finally? They gotta have flaws. Perfect people are perfectly annoying. Even your rich successful, handsome, alpha male has to have something he has to get over, otherwise it’s just no fun to read.

A little later I'll be introducing you to one of my newest heroes, Greg Novak, from Motor City Werewolf. I think the cover artist portrayed him perfectly, so...yum!

So tell me, what is it you look for in a hero—in a book or in real life for that matter? I’d love to know what readers really want. The hunky alpha or the sensitive lover? Maybe even a little of both? And of course, you can find out what I like by reading any of my books. If you are a reader, I’d love to know which of my heroes is your favorite. After all, it’s good to know what (or who) to write next.

Happy Reading!

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About the author: An avid reader of romance, fantasy, mystery, and even more romance, Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than 25 years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two grown sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets.  Author of more than 40 books, Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the male humans who share her household.


Cate Masters said...

Such a gorgeous cover! Yep, all those attributes make a hero to me too. Congrats on your new book!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Thanks, Cate. I should have probably added that Motor City Wolf is available for pre-order at

Margo Hoornstra said...

Cindy! Everything you write is good! Congratulations! Well deserved.

Judy said...

I guess you can say I want it all. Definitely the hunk, with a tender side for his lady. I love all your heroes, they all have what it takes:)


Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Thanks Margo! You always make me smile.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Judy, I think that's one of the great things about romance. ;-) we can have it all. Thank you!

Cathy in AK said...

I think you pretty much covered my hero requirements. It's the smarts and the humor that really get me going : )

Congrats on the release!

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Thanks, Cathy!

booklover0226 said...

I like a flawed hero, emotionally, physically or both.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Tracey, I totally agree! Perfect people freak me out. I can't read 'em or write 'em.

Na said...

A hero for me is anyone with integrity and a huge heart. I like my heroes to be dark, tormented, far from perfect because it is when they are redeemed that makes it satisfying. Despite the bad things he does he's really a good guy. He will break laws to save and he will lie to protect. When the odds are against him and he doesn't give in but give more that is heroic to me.

ami_shaw said...

Courage, integrity and sex appeal are all musts. He never surrenders even when he encounters certain death. He'll protect his woman at all costs. And of course, love always wins in the end.

katsrus said...

I like everything you discribed. I especially love the humor. Congrats on your success. That cover is beautiful.
Sue B

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Na, I agree with you. Integrity and a huge heart are vital, and the best heroes are the ones who have to be redeemed.

Ami, there's very little sexier than courage, and a guy who will protect his mate, is there?

And Sue, thank you! I've been very luck with covers from Carina.

Toni said...

I just love it when a cover matches the characters. One of my biggest pet peeves is when they don't. I love reading a scene then go looki at the cover and sighing, knowing THAT is the man I'm reading about.


Mara said...

I love the strong, sensitive hero or the one that, by the end of the book, has found that he can be in touch with his emotions and still be a tough guy. Is it too much to ask for to find this man in real life??

marajbrandon AT earthlink DOT net

Anonymous said...

I'm attracted to the dark and tortured Alpha. They are sometimes a loner. I married someone completely different.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Toni, I totally agree about the cover matching the characters, which is why I was so happy with this one!

Mara, I agree that the combo of strong and sensitive is irresistible, and Stacie, I think a lot of us look for types in fiction that are far from our real-life preferences.

Robin said...

I agree with your necessary qualities for a hero!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com