I have the heroine joking in ‘Friendly Seduction’ that the heroes in erotic romances are usually extremely good looking and hunky – or manly at the very least. He has to be a leader or some sort – whether this be the Prince of a country, or CEO, and he has to be dominant – but caring. Age-wise he is likely to be in his twenties or thirties, possibly older.
Have you ever read a story about a bald, fat, man in his sixties who works down the sewers getting the girl? Those sort of traits are usually reserved for the bad guys, which is very unfair to those of you out there who may be bald, fat, aging with unpopular jobs.
I am the first to put my hand up and say we authors give our readers a very false view of real life. However, this is what the readers want. Yes, there may be some of you who say you like reading stories of older men or ones who are outside the norm physically – but it doesn’t relate to book sales.
Readers want to envisage the fantasy – maybe the fantasy they never got in real life even though they love their spouse, but like to dream what life could have been like through reading our books.
Part of the fantasy is wanting the hero to be strong and dominant yet caring, and in touch with his emotions. We want him to remember every birthday, anniversary, special days and shower us with flowers and gifts (a diamond bracelet would be lovely, thank you!) Or to whisk us off to a very romantic holiday – somewhere like the Maldives sounds perfect. We want him to be kind and loving and enfold us in his arms when we are being moody or just to accept that we women can be perverse instead of getting irritated or angry. We want him to be available for sex whenever we are in the mood and not bother us when we have a headache.
And sex has to be the most fabulous experience, with the hero immediately knowing which parts of your body of your body are the most sensitive (even when you have sex for the first time) and how best to make you orgasm – and give you multiple orgasms, of course – he is absolutely not allowed to come until you do, unless you want him to.
It’s not surprising I am single! Such a man doesn’t exist. Does he? You will have to let me know if you have one (and if you do, can you share him with me?)
Having said all this, I do try to buck the norm from time to time, just because, as a writer, I like to experiment (although it isn't always obvious from the book covers!). In ‘The Sub Who Switched’ the hero was shorter than the heroine. In ‘Kink After Dinner’ the hero was in his fifties (as was the heroine). In ‘To Claim a Mate’ (which is an MM story) the Dom is lean and rangy. In ‘Alien Manhunt’ one of the three men is short. In ‘Submissive Training’ the hero works in a University. In ‘Marital Duties’ – my story in the Men for Hire anthology – the husband is so busy with work he doesn’t have time for sex and his wife is desperate.
Meanwhile, I shall continue to write the ‘fantasy’ heroes the readers want – but occasionally changing it up.