Posted by Denise
But, truly, I’ve got to move on…
C’mon, my friends, let’s talk about some serious sexy: the dark hero. (See? I got your attention. Devious writer, I am one.)
A great example, for me, is Wrath from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Wrath is a vampire torn between leading his people or rejecting the role of king. He has no interest in ruling and zero respect for humans, and this includes children sired by vampires on human women. He’s crass, unsophisticated and ginormously sexy. When he’s called on to step up and see a half-vampire child through her transition, he balks. Okay. That’s not true. His answer is basically, “Hell. No.” But circumstances intervene, Fate plays her cards and the dark hero is born.
What is it that’s so appealing about a dark hero? Is it his unwillingness to be a hero that makes him so desirable? Is it his ability to make me love him and loathe him in one paragraph–one sentence even? Or is it deeper than that? Maybe it’s the fact he seems irredeemable, and we worry he’s crossed the line too far into the dark to be pulled back to the light. Regardless of the “why” of it, the point is this: the dark hero appeals to us on a variety of levels, many of them deeply personal.
There’s something about a dark hero that absolutely flips my switch. I want to know he’s walking that fine line of good and evil, and that both sides speak to him. He’s a richer character for his dark flaws, and there are a thousand reasons this could be true for each of us as both writers and readers. But what it comes down to, for me as an author is this: it’s the reader’s interpretation of what the hero is after the author sets out his proverbial “pros and cons” list that makes that character work/not work. When an author is able to create a hero you love to hate, to put on the page a fictional character you fantasize about or who makes you wish you were starring opposite him–the author’s done the job of pulling the reader in and done it well. I’m in the process of creating my own dark hero and let me tell you, it’s not easy. He’s the hardest character I’ve ever written, and dark heroes are sort of my specialty. Yeah, I’ve got a hang-up. I love them passionately, grandly and without apology.
Now I want to turn the tables and ask you who your Wrath is? Who’s (in case you missed my last post) your Cain? Don’t be shy. Jump in and let other readers know if there’s a character/series that does it for you. You never know when you might get them started on a new series they love. It’s how I found Wrath and all the luscious brothers. 😉 Thank you, J.R. Ward. Thank you.