What makes a hero?

A good hero is essential to a good romance. Popular wisdom would have it that writers need to be a little bit in love with their hero, and that, ideally, your reader should feel the same. So what do you do if the classic romantic heroes leave you cold, if you feel Mr Darcy would benefit from a slap round the chops with a wet fish, and suspect, therefore, that your taste in heroes might be a little bit off?

 

Well, I started by making my romantic hero a mathematician, because I know that absolutely every girl likes a side order of quadratic equations alongside their tall dark and handsome. But actually, being clever scores definite hero points in my world. It’s why generations of girls, myself included, grew up obsessing over Doctor Who. The idea of a hero who can save the world, not with muscles or guns, but by thinking faster than the bad guy definitely does it for me. Smart is sexy. Come on – I can’t be the only one who wouldn’t kick Professor Brian Cox out of bed for talking about special relativity, can I?

 

Fun is sexy too. I’ll take an average looking boy who’s prepared to be the first one on the dancefloor, over an Adonis who needs to get home early to top up his beauty sleep, every single time. Better a face that’s lived a little, burnt a bit of midnight oil here and there, made a few ill-advised choices, than a perfectly unlined, and utterly uninteresting, mannequin.

 

And last, but far from least, kind is sexy. Spare me from dark brooding heroes with cruelness in their gaze. Cruelty, brooding, arrogance, and moodiness aren’t sexy. They’re tiresome in a hormonal fifteen year old, and kind of beyond the pail in a fully grown man. Ok, so maybe he’s had a bad experience and he’s scared of getting hurt. Well, here’s a newsflash, aren’t we all? And that might excuse a little light moodiness, even a hint of very occasional brooding, but cruelty is a no-no. Kind men treat the people around them, including their heroines, with respect, and it it’s good enough for Aretha, it’s good enough for me too.

 

So lets hear it for the smart, fun, kind guys, be they geeky and shy, weather worn and muscle bound or anywhere in between. You show me a smart, fun, kind man, and, regardless of age or physical beauty, I’ll show you a hero.

Follow Alison on Twitter and visit her blog. Alison’s debut with Choc Lit Lite, Much Ado About Sweet Nothing is coming soon …

Alison May_high res

The Art of Deception – a rom without the com

The location of Umbria in Italy, courtesy of Wikipedia

The location of Umbria in Italy, courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Think pretty, resourceful young woman, frequently told by her bitter mother that the people responsible for her father’s death were the Castanien brothers, and you have Jenny  O’Connor.

Think tall, good-looking man with a sense of humour, in need of someone to teach Art classes throughout the summer at his house in Umbria, and you have Max Castanien.

Think what might happen if Italian-speaking Jenny, seeing Max’s advert for an Art teacher, decides to apply for the job, hoping that by getting to know him she’ll be able to learn why he and his brother behaved as badly towards her father as they did, and you have the background to The Art of Deception, a rom without the com.

 

Living and teaching in one of two houses on Max’s property, situated on the slopes leading away from Montefalco, looking across the plain to Bevagna, Jennifer finds herself drawn to Max, but she refuses to face this attraction. She’s only there, she repeatedly tells herself, to lead Max into explaining his past behaviour towards her father. That and nothing else!

As for the members of her Art class, all is not necessarily what it seems to be…

The Art of Deception

I go to Italy every year, to Umbria, the area in which I’ve set The Art of Deception. I always visit Bevagna and Montefalco when I’m there, so when I decided to write a novella for Choc Lit Lite, I instantly thought of setting it in that beautiful part of the world.

My research for the story was the most pleasant kind – wandering through the streets of two small towns that I love, seeing again the glorious views, revisiting their art galleries, museums and places of interest, sitting with a caffè in one of the little streets, watching the world go by. To lift the words of someone else, it doesn’t get much better than that!

But see for yourself how lovely Bevagna is…

 

A view of Bevagna from the other side of the river.

A view of Bevagna from the other side of the river.

Looking beneath a bridge into Bevagna. The ancient wash house is reflected in the water.

Looking beneath a bridge into Bevagna. The ancient wash house is reflected in the water.

A side street in Bevagna

A side street in Bevagna

 

A piazza in Bevagna

 

The Vale of Bevagna

The Vale of Bevagna

A little street leading up to the piazza in Montefalco

A little street leading up to the piazza in Montefalco

 

Ciao!