Tuesday, May 14, 2013


What Makes A Hero? by Aimée Thurlo

I've been giving this a lot of thought lately. You see a lot of covers lately with shirtless men wearing a cowboy hat - that's supposed to say "hero". To me, that says eye-candy. Hero? Not the same thing.

I think we overuse the word, for one. My definition? Think of the men and women who heard the explosion at the Boston Marathon and ran TOWARD the chaos, not away.   

A hero - well, that's the "right stuff". It's a blend of confidence, courage, and charisma. The guy doesn't even have to be good looking. Look at AJ Martinez. He's a soldier who was very badly burned, but his machismo - his beauty - out shines anything the eye can see. In fact, after a while, you don't even notice the burns. He inspired my upcoming Harlequin Intrigue titled Legacy of a Marked Man.

That's a hero. Looks? Well, that's not a lasting quality you can rely on. What's inside - that mark of individuality and courage that speaks louder than any photo - that's the real person. To me, that's what makes a hero. The rest - as they say is Lagniappe.

How do you define 'hero'?


 

Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry of Santa Fe, NM receiving the Medal of Honor for valor. Petry lost his right hand hand tossing aside a live grenade to spare the lives of fellow Army Rangers.

 

8 comments:

  1. Tough question, Aimee. In respect to our line of work, I think love presents the same danger to our emotional lives, as guns or bombs or weapon-wielding lunatics present to our physical lives. A romance novel hero should have not only that courage you describe - to run toward danger when everyone else is running the other way - but the courage to sacrifice a part of himself he'll never get back when he loves a woman, and lets her love him back. Of course, love will give him more than it takes from him, but it'll claim a measure of his independence, his decision-making without thought to what anyone else thinks, and his freedom to go his own way. The man who can do that is a hero.

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    1. Muriel, I like your answer. Only I don't think a guy sacrifices a part of himself to love - love is incoded in the species. We need it. But I think it's the definition... I didn't realize it till just now. There's more than one definition. Hero = courage and that comes in many facets.

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  2. Aimee, I believe heroes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. But as Muriel says, for romance novel heroes readers also want to see their vulnerabilities. Yes, physical courage can be really important, but so can the courage it takes for a man to lose his wife and go on and raise their children alone (hey until we find another woman to help him out) Men willing to work two jobs to provide for his family are heroic, too. I agree that AJ and so many of our injured military men are natural heroes, as are fire fighters and police officers. But sometimes those jobs can leave a man with hard edges that in real life are difficult to live with. Again I say there can be heroes in all walks of life.

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    1. Roz, I have to tell you this - when I first read your post I thought it read, "courage it takes for a man to lose his life and go on and raise his kids." A double take clarified it, but wow what a cool book that would be! Hmm. Harlequin do you have any niche where I could write that? :-)

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  3. Hi Aimee,

    I think 'hero' for our purposes is a man who can be depended on and who is loyal and trustworthy. A man who puts family first and who will take out the trash without being asked a dozen times lol:)

    xo
    Jen

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    1. Yes, Jen, we agree. One of the qualities I think is just plain sexy is steadfastness!

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  4. A hero is someone who isn't afraid to stand up and fight for what is right- not necessarily with his fists. My all time favorite hero is Atticus Finch. Even with most of his friends and neighbors against him he did his duty and asked the jury to do the same. He is tough, smart, compassionate, passionate and a great single father to his two children - if only Harper Lee had given him a romance *sigh

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  5. I love AJ Martinez. What a hero and inspiration!

    A hero to me is someone who does the hard thing because it's the right thing to do. Karen's example of Atticus Finch is the perfect example.

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