Gee. I really wish I could tell you why in 25 words or less. I have to work on that.

You see, the problem is, I’m not even sure of all the reasons yet.
But do I know there are many reasons!

Jeremy, the hero of GotH, is a bit of an enigma. When I started the book, his character was not very fully formed. His body … always been nicely formed. But his character has taken quite a bit of work. It’s basically taking me just as long to figure him out as it takes Lucy. She may even be a step ahead of me at times.

Part of my problem is that I have trouble shoving him into one of those hero categories.

  • He’s titled, wealthy, in control, hard to crack – but he’s not a total alpha jerk.
  • His childhood was marked by tragedy – but he’s not really tortured. (Unless Lucy pestering him counts as torture, in which case he’s very tortured.)
  • He’s had his share of women – but he’s not a jaded rake.
  • He’s (gasp!) a decent guy at heart – so he has some beta leanings.

The fact that he refuses to be neatly labeled doesn’t bother me so much – it means he’s complex. Lucy deserves more than a label, anyway. But it does worry me in terms of marketing and pitching my book. I suppose I should sell him as an alpha, because alpha heroes sell, right? And he definitely has his alpha moments. Here’s one:

(Before you read this, you should know that Lucy has recently forced him to take her
ribbon shopping.)

Jeremy raised his gun to his shoulder, took aim at a distant tree stump, and fired. Chips of rotten wood exploded into the air. Henry, Toby, and Felix stopped in their tracks and stared at him as though he had suddenly burst into song.

“There was a pheasant,” Jeremy said.

Three heads swiveled in unison to regard the cratered tree stump, then turned back to face him. Henry opened his mouth to speak, but Jeremy silenced him with a look.

The Look.

There were few aspects of his father’s demeanor Jeremy found worth imitating, but The Look was one of those few. He had inherited his father’s ice-blue eyes and heavy brow. With a bit of practice, giving someone The Look came as easily as flexing a muscle.

The Look meant different things at different times, depending on the recipient and the occasion. It could mean, “Hold your tongue.” It could mean, “Lift your skirts.” On one particularly memorable occasion, it had meant, “Put down the damned candlestick before you embarrass us both.”

But whatever The Look meant, it conveyed authority. The Look said, without equivocation, I lead, and you follow.

There was only one person in Jeremy’s acquaintance who remained utterly impervious to The Look. And damn, if she wasn’t leading him around by a satin ribbon.

The candlestick thing is pure FanLit. I can’t resist. The whole book is riddled with FanLit references. I’m sure I’ll end up editing many out – and that one’s a prime candidate – but many will stay. And when (note the optimism) it is published, I’ll run a contest to see who can find the most.

But do you see what I mean? He sounds pretty alpha there, right? Even if he isn’t purely alpha, should I sell him that way, for simplicity’s sake? What do you think?

Okay, so sometimes just writing this stuff out really helps. I realized I forgot to answer the original question: Why are you going to love him?

And there’s a simple answer to that question: Because of all the women he could have, he’s smart enough to want Lucy. And not only want her, but care for her. Sure, the “smart” parts of him aren’t exactly the ones making the decisions for most of the book, but …

8 comments to “Why you’re going to love my hero.”

  1. Lenora Bell
    · February 4th, 2007 at 1:16 am · Link

    Do you really have to give him a label? Can’t you just sell him in exactly the way you just did? I thought he sounded wonderfully complex and interesting. He’s strong, but not domineering, sensual but not profligate, kind-hearted but never a sop. I don’t know enough about the whole alpha/beta hero debate to weigh in on the matter with any authority, but that’s my two cents.

    Oh, and btw, that excerpt was hilarious. Love the “lift your skirts” and the candlestick.

  2. beverley
    · February 4th, 2007 at 12:06 pm · Link

    Hee hee hee. Avon Fanlit will live forever on in our books!

    Yes, I especially loved the reference to “lift the skirts” and the candlestick. Shades of de ja vu.

    Yes, let’s not peg him. He’s…Jeremy, and all that that entails.

    Alphas with a gold heart and a pure soul–they aren’t considered jerks are they.

    Keep moving Eve, you’re doing a wonderful job with your story. When I get brave enough, I’ll post an excerpt from mine on my blog too.


  3. Maggie Robinson
    · February 4th, 2007 at 2:07 pm · Link

    Oh, Tessa. How I love this! I CANNOT wait to read it and I’ll even pay cash money for it. I’d like to see The Look and all it implies.

  4. Lindsey
    · February 4th, 2007 at 4:39 pm · Link

    LOL Tessa – as soon as I read “candlestick” I knew! I love being in on a private joke. And The Look is, in its way, a P&P2 reference, no? 😉

  5. Tessa Dare
    · February 5th, 2007 at 11:17 am · Link

    Wow, Lindsey – I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of “The Look” that way. It’s a quite different kind of look, but you’re right – it’s probably a P&P2 tribute of sorts. There are several lines in the book that are twists on lines from Austen novels, too. And I think all of my female characters share names with Austen characters (although their personalities are not matched accordingly).

    Maggie – whether this book is ever published or not, you will never have to pay to read it.

    Bev – Yes, excerpt please!!

    And Bev and Lenora – The only reason I have any desire to peg Jeremy (wow, that sounds kinda dirty) is for blurb & pitch purposes. I need a way to describe him in a few short sentences, and that description has to make you desperate to read about him. That’s my problem now.

  6. Alice Audrey
    · February 5th, 2007 at 12:50 pm · Link

    I love the candlestick! Don’t take it out until they make you. Can’t wait to read the rest of the book.

    As to how to package Jeremy -now you’ve got ME thinking that way – um… what was I saying?

    Oh yeah, don’t think of him in terms of alpha and beta at all. It simply isn’t the right way to look at him. How about a brief comment on why he loves but resists instead?


  7. beverley
    · February 5th, 2007 at 4:11 pm · Link

    Oh yeah, pitch purposes. I guess I better get moving because I will be pitching mine in March.
    I posted my excerpt. You gave me the courage.
    And guess what, I picked up Emma and Pride and Prejudice from the library this past weekend!

  8. Santa
    · February 10th, 2007 at 11:06 pm · Link

    I love your hero! Good luck with the pitch. Gads, even the word gives me shivers.