Manspiration!

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Ah, the men of historical romance. I believe this is one of the reasons we enjoy reading this genre so much. We love the gentlemen of the Regency era, the strong Highlanders of Scotland in days gone by, and the rakes, rogues and charmers of every other historical romance genre in between.

The first thing I do when I sit down to write a new story is get to know my characters. Sometimes they are secondary characters from a previous book who I have come to love enough for them to deserve their own story. Other times, the characters have been walking around in my mind for some time, and now are developed enough to emerge onto the page.

Historical romance is an interesting genre. We love certain aspects of times gone by, but there are also modern expectations we as readers bring to the story.  For example, we love the chivalry of an English gentleman in the 1800s, but we would be turned off if he was high-handed to a woman, or by the way he might have treated a person from a lower class. As authors, we typically get around this by providing reasons why our hero may not act like the norm of the time.

With that being said, readers are perfectly fine with their characters acting outside of their social constraints, as long as there is a valid reason they are doing so. Within the upper classes in the Regency and Victorian eras, many marriages were arranged and stayed a loveless marriage -- not at all like those portrayed in our romance novels, in which all, no matter where a story begins, it turns into a marriage of love and fidelity. What is important is that the historical facts are correct.

If you’ve read my books, you’ll know that I love a powerful female lead -- an intelligent woman who knows her mind. Because of that, her hero needs to be able to handle her and love her for who she is. He needs to be strong, yet sensitive. He needs to have a charged physical presence, and yet also be able to reach deep into himself to find emotion for his heroine.

The wonderful thing is that there are many modern-day heroes to inspire us who exemplify what we love about our historical men. Whether we find these traits within our own husbands and friends, other books, or in the characters of public figures and those they may portray on the big and small screens, inspiration is all around us.

In my most recent book, Someday Her Duke Will Come, Alexander is a character with a strong presence. We met him in The Duke She Wished For, and we knew he was a light-hearted, fun-loving rake -- or so we thought. Physically he was blond, with handsome features -- the type of man we would see today modeling Abercrombie and Fitch.

Immediately my mind jumped to Chris Hemsworth because…. Well, when I think of a good-looking sexy man, my mind usually jumps to Chris Hemsworth. Or Henry Cavill. Superman anyone? However Alexander’s personality was more Chris Pratt, with flirtatious remarks and witty one-liners. I’m not talking the alien-fighting Guardian of the Galaxy Chris Pratt, but as a clean-cut Chris Pratt from the pages of GQ. And thus Alexander's inspiration came to be.

I love the idea of a "manspiration" pinterest board, as favored by other authors on this blog hop. It is something that I am now beginning as I look to my next hero, who will be featured in the second book of the Searching Hearts series. (This research is sooo hard...) To give you an exclusive peek into the story, he’s an earl, but of course an earl outside the norm, who would like more out of life than catering to what society wants from him. Unlike the blond Alexander, our earl is dark and handsome -- not pretty handsome, but in a quirky, sensual way. Orlando Bloom anyone?

I hope you enjoyed wandering through my mind’s inspirations. Now time for our giveaway! It is open until October 24th. You can win a free copy of my latest book, Someday Her Duke Will Come, and meet Alexander yourself! If you win and have already read it, I would be happy to provide you with my next upcoming book instead. All you have to do is:

1 - Comment below about thoughts on this blog post or about your perfect man -- is there an actor you love? Qualities you look for?

2 - Check out the blogs of three other authors and follow their ways to enter. The next stop on the blog tour is Kate Bateman: http://www.kcbateman.com/manspiration-blog-hop-2/

3 - The winner will receive four e-books! Check them all out here: