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

Juliet’s Split Personality of the Year Award

Last night was the award ceremony for BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and, despite competition on an Olympian scale, the overall winner was the fabulous Bradley Wiggins.

2012 Sports Personality of the Year Bradley Wiggins holds the trophy aloft after being presented it by the Duchess of Cambridge

It’s now time to hear your nominations for a far less famous award – Split Personality of 2012. My husband has nominated me, having sat through numerous meetings with our accountant where I refer to Juliet Archer in the third person. I am an employee and director of our limited company under my real name, but our activities include my/Juliet’s writing income and expenditure. Our accountant has got used to it and even joins in, pulling out a chair for Juliet and offering her a coffee!

I certainly wouldn’t want Juliet to ‘come out’ in my day job, where my livelihood depends on a completely different sort of professional credibility – although I’m sure some of what I encounter there may be ‘pure fiction’! So I’m stuck with this split personality thingy going on – great fun most of the time, but scarier as I get older, when launching into a talk about Mr Darcy to an audience of baffled clinicians becomes a distinct possibility …

Of course, split personalities needn’t be writing related. People often show different sides of themselves with different family members or friends – whether it’s biting your tongue in front of the in-laws or remembering your children may look to you as a role model.

What about you? Do you have a split personality, or do you know someone who has? Let’s have your nominations!