I just subbed a manuscript to an editor and I’m nervous. No surprise there, authors are always nervous when they submit work to a publishing house, or a critique partner or reviewer or whomever. But this time there’s another element to my anxiety, all because I’ve written the type of hero we don’t often see in romance novels, especially erotic ones.
He’s a nice guy.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. All romance heroes are nice guys aren’t they? That’s why we fall in love with them. But no, it’s not so. Romance novel heroes are sexy, they’re strong and at their core usually honorable and they certainly have appealing qualities. But they are rarely in my experience just plain nice blokes. They are alpha males, bossy doms, bad boys, cops on the edge, cutthroat businessmen with a grudge, arrogant cowboys, space warriors who hold the heroine hostage, old world pirates who hold the heroine hostage. I’ve written a bad boy myself, as well as an ex crim and a guy who’s kind of a loudmouth bastard. We love characters with flaws and we love to see really arrogant men get taken down a peg or two by love.
This time my guy wouldn’t be arrogant. He wouldn’t do anything truly jerky although I tried to make him several times. I kept worrying he wasn’t hitting the right notes, that he wasn’t larger than life. I was right, he’s not larger than life, he’s an average guy with an average life who wants to make the heroine happy. After a while I stopped trying to get him to be more of an alpha male because I finally realised he was exactly the kind of man my heroine needed, someone who grounded her and would support her no matter what.
So my nice guy is cute, humble, reasonable, patient, affectionate, charming, occasionally shy, as well as very giving and inventive in bed. Oh he also has great shoulders and can fuck like a jackhammer. I haven’t completely lost my mind.
So what are the nice guy qualities you like in your man—whether he be real or in a romance novel? Do you want to see more regular blokes in your books or are we better leaving the seduction of our heroines to the billionaires and playboys?