I adore romance. I always have. I started out on Pride and Prejudice but then, lucky me I found Johanna Lindsey! Woo! The door didn’t shut. I got to read about quivering loins and lots of pleasuring. Plus, the characters often felt larger than life. In the romance from the 80s the heroes were lords, dukes, highwaymen! The heroines were almost always bold and willing to give the arrogant heroes a huge set down. So, when I started writing Less Than A Lady it was absolutely due to those larger than life characters. And I wanted epic adventure, so I looked to the past. I looked to a time when women were experiencing more freedom and scandalous clothing than they ever had before!
Under the reign of Charles II, aka The Merry Monarch, women saw a rise in freedom, political influence, and general expectation. Women weren’t just supposed to be breeders. They were supposed to be clever, fun, sexy, and bold. In fact, just about anything went for a few decades. How marvelous it must have been after years of repression. For the first time ever women were allowed to play women’s roles on the stage. Before, only boys played women. It was the law. But the Merry Monarch quite liked the idea of seeing ladies on stage in breeches and flowing gowns. So, my heroine was born. I couldn’t wait to write about Amelia Fox. She could be saucy, independent, and a superstar. During that period, the most famous actresses of the day were Elizabeth Barry and Nell Gwynn. Both were superstars. Nell Gwynn actually became the mistress of the king, bore his children, and was mentioned on the King’s death bed. She’d risen from the tough streets of London to be the jewel of the English Court.
I’m also a lover of swash and buckle and a hero who knows how to handle a sword. And of course, dueling was practiced widely in this period and the lords of the time had just spent years fighting in a major civil war. They were marshal men, and sexy men. But they also knew how to dance and sing and read poetry.
There’s something about epic romance that just sweeps one away from the turmoils of everyday life. Personally, I love to imagine myself in fabulous gowns, dripping in jewels, dancing in a candlelit ballroom with gold and mirrors everywhere. I don’t mind the idea of a gorgeous man making me laugh and sweeping me off my feet either, sword and pistol near by.
What about you? What’s your favorite hero that’s larger than life?