Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Care and Nurturing of a Hopeless Romantic with Special Guest Laurie Tomlinson

There are two types of romance fans in this world: the realists and the hopeless romantics.
I’ll give you one guess which category I fall under. (Though I’ve always preferred the term hopeful romantic.)

Okay. If we’re being real, my adolescence can best be described as “boy-crazy” :) But as I look back on my earliest movie star crushes, lovingly nurtured by the very woman I inherited the gene from, maybe this silliness wasn’t so pointless after all.

Whether you’re a reader, writer, or movie aficionado, have you ever thought about what influences your affinity for a hero? I asked myself that very question, and suddenly my world came full circle. Maybe I was just refining my tastes to pick an amazing husband. To help me write a variety of multilayered heroes.

So here's why young Laurie’s favorite heroes were swoonworthy and how they groomed me to write romance:

Tony Micelli / Who’s the Boss

A good hero isn’t afraid to stand up to the heroine when she’s about to make a bad decision or being otherwise unreasonable. Hey, it can happen! Tony and Angela had an unconventional relationship in Who’s the Boss since Angela was technically his employer. But when it came down to it, he wasn’t afraid to give her tough love when she needed it the most. Along the same vein, their chemistry was built on the banter between them. An unusual relationship dynamic can lend itself to some great dialogue. So in my book (pun totally intended), a hero ultimately needs to be

able to give it right back to the heroine.

Prince Philip / Sleeping Beauty

Ohhhh, Prince Philip. Where do I even begin? Let’s see. He basically falls in love with Aurora the first moment he sees her, even though he believes she’s a peasant girl. Then he bravely conquers the most heinous villain ever written + all the tricks up her sleeve to get his girl back. While a good rescue scene does me in every. single. time, I don’t discriminate. Sometimes a hero can save his heroine in more figurative ways. Even if he’s saving her from herself!

Sully / Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

Other than the whole strong-and-silent thing Sully had going on for him, he was incredibly supportive of Dr. Mike. Okay, so it was also a plus that he had mad survival skills and could build a house out of pretty much nothing, but he was there for her when she needed him, when she faced naysayers, and when she needed to know she could accomplish her dreams. Sully taught me heroes should be partners along the heroine's journey, helping her achieve her goals. And most importantly, he should also encourage her when she is clinging to the last thread of belief in herself.

Han Solo / Star Wars trilogy

One of my favorite hero tropes is the hero who is ruined by the heroine. In a good way, of course. Perhaps he's wounded and swore off women forever. Maybe, like Han Solo, he is engaged
in roguish ways. Whatever the case, when the hero meets the heroine, it's all over. And she inspires him to be a better man. I mean, look what Han Solo turned into when he met Princess Leia. From regular scoundrel to integral role in saving an entire galaxy. If that doesn't entice a reader to root for a couple, nothing will. And that reader possibly doesn't have a soul.

Thomas Magnum / Magnum P.I.

In his day, Tom Selleck was "King of the Babes," in my mother’s words :) Though this is just a piece of the puzzle, it’s important for heroes to be easy on the eyes, written in such a way that makes the attraction between the hero and the heroine believable. Disclaimer: I'm all for a hero whose humor, bravery, or other internal characterizations lend to a heroine's attraction to him. But, just saying, a pair of smoldering eyes helps -- Tom Selleck mustache optional :)

Thanks to my AlleyCat favs for inviting me to post! This has truly been a writing bucket list moment! Now I want to know:

Romance fans, who were the heroes that started it all for you? What is your number one condition that makes a hero swoonworthy?
Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom who writes stories of grace in the beautiful mess. Her first book won the 2013 ACFW Genesis Award (Contemporary), and her second is a current semifinalist in the 2014 Genesis Contest (Romance). She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary. 


Catherine West said...

The spaghetti sharing scene in Lady and The Tramp.
Okay, kidding. But I do like dogs.
Anyhoo…shoot. I'm way older than you, so let's see…I'd have to say the epitome of a movie hero for me was Robert Redford. Out of Africa, Up Close and Personal…pretty much everything he's every starred in…yeah. In my high school days of course I thought Tom Cruise was the bomb. Meh. Must have been partying too much. :) I cut my teeth on romance novels and Jane Austen, and Gone With the Wind. Plays like My Fair Lady, The Kind and I, The Sound of Music all taught me a thing or two about refined romance. I'm glad for those memories because once the 80's came along, things started going down hill pretty quick. With the exception of a handul of movies, I have to say they just don't make 'em like they used to.
Interesting what shapes us, isn't it?

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Love this post, Laurie!!

Let's see, swoon worthy heroes.....you've already named a few of them. Loved Magnum PI. ;) That red convertible only helped him in my opinion. ;)

Looking more recent, I really like Declan's character in Leap Year. He protects Anna in a quiet way, even as he baits her. :) (Do you remember the stolen luggage scene?).

Another one is Mr. Knightley in Emma, for a reason you described in your post: He speaks the hard truths because he loves Emma. It helps that Jeremy North was handsome, even in those hair do's. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

OH, I LOVE this post!!!! So so good!

Hmm, lets see... you certainly touched on the good ones. Love the transformation of Han Solo! And I adore the Love-Hate relationship dynamic! But there's also something about the strong, silent, steady type like Sully. And PS.. he was so stinkin' hot!

I was a big fan of the whole Angel/Buffy romance. I mean, talk about forbidden love between a vampire with a soul and a vamp slayer. That's some brilliant conflict right there. The whole dark, broody, sensitive protector thing worked for me in a big way. And of course I had pics of David Boreanez on the back of my door. Would have pasted them to the back of my eyelids if I could have. He was definitely my biggest celebrity crush. And I didn't have many.

Flynn Rider really worked for me too. Can you tell I like the bad boy/rogue types with a heart of gold? Sigh. Yep, definitely a hopeless (and hopeful) romantic here. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Tom Cruise, huh Cathy?? Man, I just don't get the appeal there. He so doesn't do it for me. ;)

Jessica R. Patch said...

I'm with Amy, Loved me some Buffy and Angel. A hero willing to sacrifice his happiness for the one he loves always makes me swoon.

I also loved Pierce Brosnan in Remington Steele and Bruce Willis in Moonlighting. And Uncle Jesse from Full House, ;)!

Loved this post, Laurie!

Jennifer Major said...

I love me some Declan!!!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Haha! My mom loved Tom Selleck, too. But I have to be honest. My young crushes tended more along the lines of Kirk Cameron and Michael J Fox. Neither of which were exactly mature romantic heroes.

Flynn Ryder worked for me, too, Amy. I think he was a good mix.

Great post for Laurie!!!

Ashley Clark said...

Laurie, it's so nice to have you on the Alley today! I loved this post! I used to love Who's the Boss! I always had a lot of celebrity crushes too, I liked strong but sensitive types and the "best friend" heroes like we see in movies like While You Were Sleeping. I know that's done a lot, but I never get tired of it!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Great post, Laurie. It's been so much fun having you on the Alley today.
I fit in the category of liking the rascal types who, although tempered in romance, remain the rugged guy. I cut my teeth on Romancing the Stone. Jesse, the man whose face we never see but are immediately drawn to in Joan Wilder's novels. sigh. The dashing knight on his stead is a rockin' winner in my book. Then again, today, I might let him sit in a Red convertible Ferrari--sigh

~sharyn said...

I'm trying to remember the heroes of my adolescence ... & which of them impacted my idea of romantic notions. And the first two that come to mind are so random I'm not sure anyone else will have heard of them. One of them was a movie called The Fifth Musketeer starring Beau Bridges. His character doesn't look like a hero or, for most of the movie, even really act like one but, in the end, he wins the day & defeats the evil king, who is also his twin brother. At least that's how I remember this movie I haven't seen in a few decades.

The second was a made-for-TV Christmas movie called The Gift of Love (based on O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi), with Timothy Bottoms & Marie Osmond. (I watched it recently & could see why she pursued a singing career over an acting one. :-) ) What I remember of that movie was that he just loved her -- simply and honestly. And he would let her go if that would lead to her best life.

I guess I like the unexpected hero types.

Casey said...

Laurie do you know how HARD it is to answer that question???

It's a modern one, but I think it was Colin in Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure. I mean, who couldn't help but fall in love with that bad boy? You have to love a naughty hero that is transformed by the heroine. ;)

GREAT post! Loved it.

Pepper said...

I admit to having a Kirk Cameron poster on the back of my door - as we as a John Stamos one! That little bit of naughty within the nice sure is fun.

And Sulley...heavens to Betsy! (very Aragorn-ish)

My mom says my Dad looks like Tom Selleck - especially when he smiles :-)

Preslaysa Williams said...

Great post! My first swoonworthy heroes were MacGyver because he could get himself out of anything. And the guys on Miami Vice because they looked cool with their slick hair and fancy suits.

Number one condition to make a hero swoonworthy? Selfless actions and good looks (of course!)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Agreed on Robert Redford. Early-career Liam Neeson and DeNiro were also pretty handsome!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Yes to Declan! I love the character of Mr. Knightley, too. The one with Romola Garai had a dreamy Knightley, too!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

I need to check out Buffy, apparently. I missed out during my high school and college years always in sports and plays hehe!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

And yes, I know exactly how you feel about those bad boys :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Pierce Brosnan is definitely dreamy. Even in his roles today. Have you seen I Don't Know How She Does It? One of my newer favorites!

Uncle Jesse was probably sixth on this list. The song "Forever" still does things to my heart :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Don't you mean Mike Seaver and Alex Keaton!? :) Loved those shows! I've seen every episode.

Pepper said...

Adding an accent and an attitude seems to work well for most people :-) LOL

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Thank you for hosting me! While You Were Sleeping is in my top 10 :) Jack!!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Ruggedly handsome always makes me swoon, Mary! Thanks for hosting me :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Sharyn, I love the unconditional love between a hero and heroine. As long as they end up together in the end :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Casey, exactly! When someone asks me my favorite, I'm inclined to ask which category :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

Now I see what groomed you to write your own swoonworthy heroes! Thanks again so much for hosting me <3

Laurie Tomlinson said...

I think you summed it up perfectly. Yes and yes! Good answer, Preslaysa :)

Kathleen Y'Barbo said...

Okay so this is a movie and not a book (although it SHOULD be a book), but my all-time favorite hero is Justin Matisse (aka Harry Connick, Jr.) in HOPE FLOATS. Love that slow Southern drawl, that he's so good with Bernice and her cousin, and that lopsided grin. Oh...and the house he's building... well, watch the movie and see!

Kathleen Y'Barbo said...
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