We are pleased to welcome author Susan Sey to Fiction Vixen today.
Susan Sey lives and writes in St. Paul, MN, where she has two charming children, a lovely husband and an accidental prairie in her front yard. She’s dreamed of seeing her name on the cover of a book even longer than her neighbors have dreamed of seeing her mow the lawn.
Her Golden Heart winner MONEY, HONEY was published by Berkley Sensation July 2010. Her follow up novel, MONEY SHOT, will be released June 2011, thus proving that when it comes to dreams, unlikely isn’t the same as impossible. Though you may not want to share that with her neighbors, who still cherish hopes regarding her lawn.
A three-time Golden Heart finalist, Susan loves her family, ice cream and happy endings, in that order. She also loves to hear from readers, who can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take it away Susan!
Real Heroes Are Not All Pretty Boys
Let me start by saying that I have absolutely nothing against pretty boys. For a few hours of happy, romance-novel escapism, there is absolutely nothing wrong with aridiculously good-looking hero. But me? I’ll take Mr. Average any day. He may not dazzle the eye but given half a chance he’ll dazzle the rest of you but good.
Here, I’ll give you a scene from MONEY SHOT that illustrates my point of view: Maria “Goose” di Guzman–our secret service agent heroine–arrives on Mishkwa Island looking for our hero, park ranger and retired Navy SEAL Rush Guthrie. Given his highly-decorated resume, she’s looking for the Captain America type and at first glance Rush’s good-looking cousin fits the bill. Then she spots Rush. Here’s the scene:
“She glanced between the men. Ranger Guthrie was maybe two or three inches taller than Captain America, but maybe twenty pounds lighter. Not that he was skinny. Hardly. He had the lean, wiry build of a distance runner rather than his cousin’s gym-toned muscle mass. He lacked his cousin’s classic looks, too, with hair clipped so brutally short she could only speculate about its color. It was a fashion choice that did nothing to soften the bones pressing harsh and sharp against wind-touched skin.
“But where his cousin had sailed forward with supreme confidence toward the stranger at the door, this guy had put his body in front of the only other occupants of the shop–women, Goose suspected. And unless she was dreadfully mistaken–which she almost never was–his fingers were hooked casually into a pocket that held a weapon.
“Sound and fury, she thought, looking back at Captain America. No mistaking which cousin was which.”
Okay, so I love this scene.
That sounds bad, doesn’t it? I mean, I wrote it. It’s immodest for me to say I love it. But I don’t love it for the writing. I love it for what it conveys. We live in a culture that reveres two things: Beauty and Charm. Rush has neither and he’s my hero.
This idea that beauty equals worth is not specific to romance novels. It’s not even new. I mean, let’s look at Cinderella. The stepsisters are evil so they’re ugly. And Cinderella is good so she’s beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that the prince (who’s no slouch himself in the looks department) falls in love with her at a single glance.
Then you’ve got your charm. We love smooth talkers, don’t we? Extroverts. Guys who paint us word pictures and make us believe them. I’m talking politicians down to entertainers, JFK to Will Smith. Men who can talk us into anything and out of our panties.
But what about those of us who aren’t beautiful? Or charming? What about the plain introverts among us? What about the flat-chested, bookish girls? Don’t we deserve love, too?
Ladies, I wrote this book for us.
My heroine, Goose, isn’t beautiful. Not really. But between an exquisite wardrobe, expensive cosmetics and a whole lot of time and effort, she’s created a darn good impression of beauty. It’s just a shell, though, a place for her to hide from the world, and from herself. She’s sexy and slick instead of approachable, and that’s the way she likes it. She has colleagues instead of friends and that’s all she thinks she deserves.
Enter Rush Guthrie, park ranger, former Navy SEAL, and taker of no crap. He’s not good looking. He’s not charming. He’s more likely to draw a gun than deliver a line. And because he’s not spending all his time talking, he’s doing a lot of listening. And looking. Which is why he sees straight through Goose’s pretty face and slick line to
the funny,sharp, curly-headed, snort-laugher inside. That’s the woman he falls in love with, that’s the woman he wants, and that’s the woman he won’t give up on.
And that’s the other thing about the not-so-beautiful. We don’t expect anything to fall into our laps, least of all love. Nobody gives you stuff for free when you’re not pretty. We work for it and Rush knows how to work. This is an effective man, and when a guy like that sets his sights on you?
Well. That’s how I spell hero.
How about you? What kind of hero makes your bookish little heart go pitty-pat? Pony up something good and there could be an autographed copy of MONEY SHOT in it for you! (Continental US only, though. Sorry.) Open until June 10, winner announced soon after.