Monday, October 27, 2014

Male on Monday - Roasted Rat Anyone? The Appeal of the Survival Expert Hero

Today's Male on Monday post on the Pink Heart Society, sees guest author Charlotte Phillips talking alpha male survival expert heroes, and offering a FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY!

There’s just something about a man who can survive in the most punishing outdoor conditions with nothing but a Swiss Army knife, isn’t there?

My new Harlequin KISS/ModernTempted is called Man Vs Socialite. The title is a nod to the massively popular survival TV show Man Vs Wild – known as Born Survivor in the UK – starring Bear Grylls, arguably the best known TV survival expert.

I’d had an idea for a story involving the heroine and hero starring in rival reality TV shows, and my first thought was an outdoor survival-type show for my hero. But can a man who is prepared to drink his own urine or eat goat’s testicles to survive still be attractive? I asked myself as I researched survival experts. Bear Grylls has done both of these things, along with numerous other hideous, revolting tasks, all in the name of self sufficiency-and initiative. And still I have to say that in the case of Bear Grylls, the answer is hell, yeah.

Ex SAS (and who doesn’t love a soldier?), he is also an adventurer. He scaled Everest. He crossed the North Atlantic in a rigid inflatable boat. He paramotored over the Himalayas. It seems like no challenge is too great. And his TV career has been built on that. Man Vs Wild showed him dropping into inhospitable places around the globe and showing viewers how to survive. Further TV shows have followed.

I have a bit of extra insight on this because my brother-in-law is currently going through the application process for the second series of The Island with Bear Grylls. Forty thousand people applied for the show, so there are literally tons of men out there who aspire to this stuff. That show really isn’t a set-up. Thirteen men really are dropped in the middle of nowhere on an uninhabited Pacific island for a month with nothing but a bottle of water and a knife. They film themselves, there is no back up TV crew with a thermos of coffee and a blanket if things get tricky. You have to be super-fit to even be in with a chance. You have to be resilient, determined and able to act on instinct.

Interestingly, it isn’t just women, but also men who aspire to this type of heroism. Women want Bear Grylls and men want to be him. You only have to look at the rise in popularity of bushcraft courses and outward bound weekends. With our lives so stuffed full of consumer luxuries and social media, there’s clearly something appealing about stripping back these trappings and surviving on our wits and our fitness.

And that’s the crux of the attraction, I think. We’re so used to having an app for every little thing these days that there’s something very primal and blokey about a man who can survive entirely on his own initiative. No matter what the situation, you know you’d be safe with him. The survival thing sets them above your average bloke, and that for me means good hero material.

So have you got a favourite survival expert hero? Do you like survival TV shows? Who would you choose to accompany you on a trek through the Scottish Highlands with nothing but a Swiss Army knife and a packet of water purification tablets?

GIVEAWAY:  I have a copy of Man Vs Socialite to give away. To be in with a chance, just leave me a comment. The winner will be picked at random from a hat by a small child.

One man. One socialite. Let the battle begin!


Jack Trent. Star of Survival Camp Extreme. Ex-soldier, national treasure and all-round delectable bad-boy.

Evie Staverton-Lynch. Star of Miss Knightsbridge. It-girl, fashionista, and with a smile that can charm anyone.

When an ill-advised comment from Evie about Jack’s reality TV show goes viral the producers are fuming! And when they propose a joint show to harness the publicity it’s hard to tell who’s more horrified – Jack or Evie! But they can’t say no…and one unexpectedly sizzling night under the stars later it’s clear that the biggest battle will be keeping their hands off each other!


Charlotte can be found on Twitter and Facebook, or you can find out more about her and her writing on her website.

10 comments:

  1. Oooohh - difficult question but I have to be boring and say my husband. He is the white-water-rafting/cross-country-skiing guy who can build you a snow cave (he has done this, I swear) and will make a corkscrew out of a twisted bit of tree root! And THEN he will produce tickets to the opera and say 'we'd better get back'- not joking!

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    1. He sounds amazing!! My DH is the opposite. He'd be lost without satnav and loathes the great outdoors. Sigh.

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  2. Great post, Charlotte! I've never watched any of the survival shows, but I'm definitely going to check them out now (I like an adventurous man :) The thought of going on a trek without any gear fills me with dread. I'm a glamper and no mistake.

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    1. Hi Christy! I'm not even sure I'm a glamper. I love my home comforts too much. The kids are all for camping though, so maybe I will give in at some point!

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  3. Comment take 2 (bah to modern technology!)

    I love Bear Grylls. Did you see the Piers Morgan interview? I don't particularly like PM but I had to watch for Bear and now everything I hear his name I can't help but picture him naked (anyone who didn't watch now thinks I am a perv :) )

    Fab cover as well :)

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    1. I didn't see the Piers interview!! I will have to go and find it now. Thanks so much, I was really pleased with the title and cover too x

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  4. My son loves Man Vs. Wild and would love to be Bear Grylls, think! And you're right, there's something about a guy who can survive in tough circumstances. He has a unique ability to be your hero. Gotta love him!

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    1. Hi Robyn! I think Bear is fab. And great for kids to aspire to something that doesn't contain a micro chip! Thanks so much for dropping by x

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  5. My small daughter will draw the winner for the paperback this Friday. Don't forget to check back to see if you've won! Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting x

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  6. And the winner is...Gemma! Thanks so much for commenting, everyone, and thanks to all at Pink Heart for having me. Gemma I've contacted you via Twitter x

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