Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Writers' Wednesday - A Writer's World: The Appeal of the Billionaire Hero

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!

Find out more about Annie and her billionaire heroes at her website, and follow her on Facebook to keep update with all her news.


  1. Lovely post, Annie! Almost as lovely as DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR which is one of your best! I love how you take the trappings of the romance hero and turn him into such a nuanced character. Each of them might be rich, but they're individuals in their own right with their own battles to fight and their own journeys to take. Wonderful stuff! As someone who also often writes a rich hero (and I usually give mine a title to go with all that money!), I think it's really interesting to look at how all that money makes the hero different from the average Joe. Not just in terms of his bank account, but in terms of his burdens and responsibilities and his attitude to the world in general. It might nice to be king - but it can be awfully lonely up on that throne!

    1. Anna, I love that last sentence of yours - lonely on that throne. That's one aspect of the rich heroes I find fascinating, the fact that, though they're often feted and sought after, they're also often essentially loners for a range of reasons. Great fodder for romance stories.

      Laughing at your heroes getting the double whammy of wealth and a title. I've only written a couple like that but they were lots of fun.

      So glad you enjoyed DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR. I'll bask in a warm glow now for the rest of the day.

  2. Hi Annie, as I read your post I found myself nodding in agreement with everything you say. I don't write super alpha heroes (not yet, anyway!) but I do like my hero to be strong and well-off. I like to think that after end of my story my hero and heroine will indeed live happily-ever-after together without money worries getting in the way. In my recent The Tycoon and the Wedding Planner the hero is very wealthy but battling with his sense of responsibility about continuing the family business founded by his grandfather. A strong sense of responsibility to his employees, dependents or subjects is also an appealing trait for a wealthy hero. (You do that so well with your sheikh books.) I have started reading DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR and I have to agree with Anna that it is shaping up to be one of your very best. Damaso is deeply layered and you make him so appealing to your reader. Marisa is wealthy too, so in this story you also write about a wealthy heroine. The responsibilities of her birthright also help shape her complex character. Great post!

    1. Kandy, I'm so glad this post struck a chord with you. I've found there are so many permutations on this theme and all of them so interesting. I enjoyed the aspect of your 'Tycoon and the Wedding Planner' that you mentioned - that sense of responsibility and obligation that comes along with the hero's wealth. It made him more real to me than someone who's rich but apparently has not a care in the world. Isn't it interesting too, the way strength of character can come into play here>

      I'm chuffed to hear you're enjoying Damaso so much! I'm wearing a big grin. Yes, they're both looking at their responsibilities rather than their wealth, aren't they?

  3. Annie, I enjoy books about rich heroes and those about everyday heroes too - I'm an equal opportunity reader! ;)

    Your Damaso is a FABULOUS wealthy hero. His humble beginnings really tugged my heart strings and made for a terrific tension between him and Marisa. Their backgrounds are so vastly different with Marisa coming from wealth and aristocracy. She made me wonder about the fish-bowl that the young high-profile people live in now-a-days with paparazzi and reporters following their every move, waiting for them to stumble or do something scandalous.

    DAMASO CLAIMS HIS HEIR was a rich, rewarding read!

    1. Sharon, I love that - an equal opportunity reader. I am too. I've read some wonderful romances where the characters don't have much in the way of material wealth. There's nothing like a bit of variety, is there?

      Oh, yes, that fishbowl of living in the public eye must be so stressful! I think I'd rather live anonymously than have to cope with that. It would be so daunting.

      Thanks for the kind words about Damaso!

  4. Congratulations on the release of Damaso Claims His Heir, Annie! What a thought-provoking post.

    I don't mind a wealthy hero. ;) However, what's important to me is how he handles that wealth, because that would tell me so much about his character. Is he a thoughtful spender? A genuine philanthropist? Does he pay his employees well? Make generous donations not just so he can get a tax deduction but because he truly cares for a cause? I bet Damaso would quietly say to all those questions!

    Love the new-look blog, Pink Heart Society!

  5. Vanessa, I'm so pleased you like the new look of the blog. I think it's fabulous. Sometimes a change just gives you a lift, doesn't it?

    I couldn't agree more about telling a character from how he handles what he's got. I can't imagine myself falling for a miserly hero, or one that spends merely to big note himself. On the other hand you've made me think. The hero in my current story has worked hard for what he's got and he loves showing off with status symbols that show how far he's come. He's currently in the process of learning there are more important things than money.

    Thanks for dropping by and talking heroes.

  6. Congratulations on the new release, Annie! I picked up my copy and can't wait to read it.

    I particularly love a rich hero who's succeeded in spite of having a tough start in life, I guess there's a part of me who connects with hardworking characters who know what it means to strive for something. That goes for heroines as well!

    1. Stefanie, I hope you enjoy Marisa and Damaso's story. Nice to think of it being available at the same time across the globe!

      I'm like you, I do enjoy reading about someone who's achieved through hard work. I can relate to that, I suppose since most of us weren't born with silver spoons in our mouths.