Pink Heart Society regular Annie West returns with the latest installment of her A Writer's World column, focusing on the appeal of the illustrious, ever-seductive, billionaire hero...
I've got a new book out this month and, as I've got a soft spot for Damaso, who's busy claiming his heir in this book, I started musing over the sort of hero he is. Time was when this book might have been titled 'The Billionaire Claims His Heir' or 'The Tycoon.....' It's so easy to try to categorize a hero with one descriptor, the cowboy, the millionaire, the bad boy, the surgeon, the sheikh. To me each hero is far, far more complex than that, but I understand why that short descriptor is so popular. With the huge number of books we have available, it helps to narrow down our choice by deciding we want a particular style of hero.
So, why do rich men pop up again and again in our romantic fantasies? Why do we love to read about them? We know that not all rich men are pleasant or handsome or full of the qualities we want in a man, but then nor are all cowboys, doctors or firefighters. But the Mr Darcys of this world recur again and again in romance.
The easy answer is that it's pleasant to read about a man who can provide well for his heroine. Money doesn't trump happiness or health but it can go a long way towards making life easier, especially for a woman who may have had to scrimp and save in a harsh environment. More, it's fun reading about a world where the day to day financial concerns we face just don't appear. Instead there's an opportunity to indulge in exotic, often glamorous locations, wonderful fashions or jewelry, eating out that those places most of us only read about. This is an opportunity to experience a fabulous world most of us might only see in the media.
Personally though, I think the allure of the rich hero is more complex than that. For instance, is the hero a self-made man or was he born to wealth? Damaso was born in a slum and owes his success to a grim determination to succeed, talent and a lot of luck. Because of his background he never takes his current success for granted and in fact his past plays a huge part in his thinking and decision-making, giving him facets that make him quite different to someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In Damaso's case he's still haunted by demons that he and his heroine must overcome if they're to find his happy ending.
I love it when we get a sense that the hero is far more complex than the label they wear. In the case of the uber-wealthy hero there's a chance to delve behind what everyone sees - his corporate success, and discover hopes, dreams and fears that are kept well-hidden. That sense of a hero's private world hooks me every time.
Another plus with tycoons is that they make great alpha heroes. These guys are used to success on a big scale. They're capable and decisive, used to getting things done. I don't know about you but I adore a hero who's competent - whether it be competent at fixing a leak in the roof or at something else.
Yet another reason to enjoy rich, powerful heroes is the fact that they have such a long way to fall. Yes, that's the mean romance writer in me! If the hero is ultra successful and used to getting his own way, how much harder is it going to be for him when he meets a woman he can't easily control? A woman who upsets his neatly organised world, turning it and him, on their heads? Yes! I love seeing a strong hero struggle to grasp the fact that he's no longer king of all he surveys.
How about you? Do you like rich heroes? Billionaires, millionaires or princes? Do they appeal to you or would you rather have a down-home kind of guy in your romance reading. Do you have any favourite wealthy heroes?
Damasco Claims His Heir is out now, available from The Book Depository, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Harlequin:
When opposites attract!
Damaso Pires should have known better than to get involved with Marisa—the scandalous princess of Bengaria! Yet soon he sees her true beauty and flawless virtue, which touches a place in him he thought ruthlessly destroyed by his childhood on the streets of Brazil.
But their brief affair becomes permanent when Marisa reveals she’s pregnant.
Damaso knows the sting of illegitimacy and, having fought tooth and nail to claw his way up to the dizzying heights of international success and financial infamy, he won’t let his child slip from his grasp. There’s only one way to claim his heir, and that’s marriage!