By Victoria Curran, senior editor
I took a moment this morning to look over the four brand-spanking new September 2014 Heartwarming books and realized that, of the three covers with heroes on them, all three are brunettes. (Do you call a man with brown hair a brunette? That word looks entirely too feminine now that I’ve typed it out….)
That takes me back to my days as an editor at Harlequin Superromance, when I worked with three New Zealand authors and had relationships with a handful of unpublished Kiwi and Aussie writers I was helping move toward getting published. At the time I became aware that different continents must have different trends in male beauty. Keep in mind that this wasn’t too long ago—I’ve only been with Harlequin for 11 years!--but it wasn’t uncommon for authors in the southern hemisphere to prefer their heroes to be blond…and for their heroes to wear their hair in ponytails. And when I briefed those covers with the art and marketing teams, I could’ve won bets on the reactions: guaranteed groaning. A sure way to complicate an art director’s life is to ask for a hero with a blond ponytail. (Turns out asking for a redhead heroine can also trip them up—who knew?)
I once heard it said that actors with deep brown eyes and dark hair stand out more in filmmaking. (Possibly that’s because us blue-eyed people tend to get Devil Glare under the intensity of the lighting.) Maybe it’s the same with book covers? Or is it true that the trend in male beauty in North America is tall, dark and handsome?
Whatever the case, I’m glad to see these September books finally make it to readers' hands! Thank you to Karen Rock and Jennifer Snow for delivering consistently emotional Heartwarming stories, and to Amy Vastine for picking up momentum and proving she’s got plenty more where The Weather Girl came from! I’d also like to welcome Patricia Bradley as the latest author to join our lineup. Her story about a man torn between his ambition and his past is smart and exciting, a lovely roller-coaster of an emotional read!
But I have to ask: Would a guy with a blond ponytail make you think the book came out in the 1980s or would you see it as cutting-edge and want to pick that bad boy up?