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Helen Lacey | Holding Out for a Hero – Cowboy or CEO?

April 3, 2018

I’ve been writing for a long time now and have been published with Harlequin/Mills & Boon since 2012. I write contemporary romance – and even with deadlines and late nights and the occasional staring at a blank page – I truly love every word I get to write. What I adore about the romance genre is the diversity in the storytelling. The cultural diversity, historical diversity, books with elements of faith, the suspense, medical romance, the paranormal, fantasy…there is so much to choose from as a reader, and so many ways to be a storyteller as an author.

I write for Harlequin Special Edition – a home and heart series that has a strong focus on the central couple, but also on the sense of community within the pages. There can be minor characters – like the meddling mother, the cute kids who want their parent to find a happy-ever-after, the nosey neighbor who wickedly stirs up trouble, and even a four-legged character who adds another dimension to the story. But at the core, is a love story about two people who simply have to be together.

Whenever I start with an idea for a new story, I usually start with the hero. Because I write about characters living and loving small town America or Australia, one of the first things I ask myself is – Cowboy or CEO? And sometimes, I’ve discovered, he can be a little of both (This might be some lingering memory of a crush I had way back when I was twelve, for Bobby Ewing in the old TV show, Dallas. Every time I saw Patrick Duffy riding his horse my tweeny heart skipped a beat) The physical appeal and strength of a cowboy, combined with the street-smarts of a CEO…very appealing, don’t you think? Perhaps because a cowboy represents honor and integrity, and the corporate man represents power and wealth.

And I’m always interested to know what appeals to readers. In my current series for Harlequin Special Edition, The Cedar River Cowboys, my heroes have had various occupations – from rancher, to army veteran, to lawyer, hotel manager, NASCAR driver, and in my April release, A Kiss, a Dance & a Diamond, he is a doctor. None of them real cowboys (with the exception of the rancher) but I like to think they all possess the traits we’ve come to admire in the outdoorsy, man-on-the-land, horse-riding, cattle-branding, bandana-wearing hero’s that often exist between the pages of a contemporary romance novel. Because the romance genre is so diverse, readers can find the characters they connect and the stories that make them happy.

So, as a reader, what kind of hero do you like the most? The corporate guy? The hot nerd? The cowboy? The artist? Or do you like your heroes to be a mix of two, or several?

Leave a comment to go into the draw to win a signed copy of my April release from Harlequin Special Edition, A Kiss, a Dance & A Diamond.

And thank you for having me as a guest at Fresh Fiction!

A KISS, A DANCE & A DIAMOND by Helen Lacey

The Cedar River Cowboys #6

A Kiss, a Dance & a Diamond

Kieran O’Sullivan never let anything—or anyone—stand in his way.

Even the girl he claimed to love.

But fifteen years later, the successful doctor’s back in Cedar River. So is Nicola Radici, still as beautiful as the day he left her behind. The last thing Nicola wants is to forgive and forget. But when Kieran connects with her nephews, their guardian has to let him into their life. And maybe even her heart.

Romance Western [Harlequin Special Edition, On Sale: April 1, 2018, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781335465696 / eISBN: 9781488093548]

About Helen Lacey

Helen Lacey

Helen Lacey grew up reading Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on The Prairie. These childhood classics inspired her to write her first book when she was seven years old, a story about a girl and her horse. Although, it wasn’t until the age of eleven when she read her first Mills & Boon, that she knew writing romances was what she wanted to do with her life. Her parents’ love of travel meant she saw much of the world in those early years and she feels fortunate to have had a diverse and interesting education over several continents.

She continued to write into her teens and twenties with the dream of one day being a published author. A few years and careers later, including motel operator, florist, strapper, dog washer, and retail manager, she got the call from Harlequin Special Edition. She loves writing about tortured heroes, both cowboys and CEO’s, and heroines who finally get the love of the man of their dreams. She now works part time in her sister’s bridal shop, where she gets to meet fascinating people, some of whom might one day end up being in one of her books.

From Welsh parents and a large family, she lives on the east coast of Australia in a small seaside town at the southern most point of The Great Barrier Reef, with her wonderfully supportive husband, many horses and three spoiled dogs.

The Men of Mulhany Crossing | Cedar River Cowboys


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