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Monday, October 8, 2012

Are there any non-paranormal physically flawed heroes in our romance novels? October 8, 2012

Am I alone in my thinking? Oct. 8, 2012

Why is it some of the best love stories and/or romances other than romance novels involve a great beauty and a male who is physically handicapped in some way? We are taught to make sure the hero is flawed in other ways.

Consider:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Esmeralda.
The Beauty and the Beast.
The Phantom of the Opera.
The mystery writer, Jeffery Deaver, writes of a quadriplegic NYPD consultant, Lincoln Rhyme and the woman who loves him, detective  Amelia Sachs.

I asked my wife who is an avid reader of romances if she could remember any hero who had a physical handicap. She not only said no, she said women who read romance want escape. The guy’s rich, handsome etc.

My gut tells me, if it is well written; a physical flaw would elevate the drama and make the romance sweeter (to say nothing of making it harder to write).

Help me here. Are there heroes with physical flaws in romance novels? Does RWA have an opinion?

On the flip side, my heart went out to the blind heroine in THE IVORY CANE by Janet Dailey. It inspired me to write a not yet published novel about a blind heroine. I enjoyed the challenge of describing her world and developing her character and the man who loved her. Let’s not forget many fine movies, i.e. An Affair to Remember, A Patch of Blue. . . .

Is it just me and my male POV or do you yearn for a breakout novel with a hero who is physically flawed? Would you dare write one?

A funny thought, I suppose all these vampires, werewolves etc. are very much physically flawed. My wife doesn’t read them. Are there any, non-paranormal physically flawed heroes in our romance novels? If not, why not?
 
A patch of Blue, 1965, Sydney Portier with Elizabeth Hartman playing a blind white teenager.
 
 
Please girls, tell me why we can't write with a physically handicapped hero. In so many romance novels, the secondary characters are handicapped. My wife is wrong, but I'm not going to tell her.

10 comments:

  1. I can't remember reading anything in the romance genre with physically impaired heroes either. I've read a lot it seems with mentally impaired main characters, but then so are some of the authors, like me. I admit it is a subject that has not been explored and perhaps should be. I think with returning heroes from our recent wars and seeing real life coverage of their sacrafices, we might begin to see more books in the romance genre that addresses this subject. There are so many stories coming out now about returning vets coming home without their limbs and how the entire family has adjustments to make. There must be some HEA in some of those, at least I hope so. Interesting idea.

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    1. Hi,

      Some have emailed me that we can find some handicapped heroes at Harlequin Love Inspired Historical and in the religious or inspirational romance market in general.

      Thanks for blogging with me,
      Bob

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  2. I think the time is ripe for physically challenged heroes. We've got so many young men and women coming back from serving overseas with missing limbs. I'm surprised we haven't seen it yet. It will also provide an interesting and ready back-story. Perhaps he's scarred on the inside and outside but reconnects with an old flame and she helps him feel whole and vital again. Hmm.

    It wouldn't have to be related to the military either. A friend of mine reconnected with her major boyfriend after her divorce and he'd been in a motorcycle accident and lost part of one leg at the knee. Not only was it not apparent, but he was on his feet at his job without any apparent difficulty. Lots of potential here.

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    1. Hi Tara,

      See my previous remark. I reallly like your story ideas. I can see how rich the back story could be. Imagine a man with no arms who felt like a man with his highschool sweetheart in his arms. I don't know how i'd take it not being able to feel and caress.

      Bob

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  3. I'm no help, as I'm not a category romance reader (or writer).

    However, I co-host a romantic (see not Romance) writing site (romanticfridaywriters.blogspot.com) and we have two authors who do write romance, and are members of RWA, and because they have not posted excerpts for us in a couple weeks I can't remember their names. You might want to check out RFW and see who's writing what in romance.

    Ah, not that my sole purpose was to promote the blog, lol. But I think this is a good idea and I know there are like minded authors there.

    ......dhole

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    1. Hi Donna,

      I'm going to check out your blog next. I think it's important to support each other. So i'm happy to hear from you.

      Bob

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  4. Hi Bob,

    I've read historicals about heroes with handicaps. Lisa Kleypas wrote an amputee in Midnight Angel, Eloisa James wrote a man with a limp (inspired by Dr. Gregory House, of course) in When Beauty Tamed the Beast, and Julia Quinn wrote a duke with a stutter in The Duke and I (not sure that this last is such a terrible handicap, but I loved the depth it gave the character). As for heroines, Catherine Anderson wrote several with handicaps in her contemporary westerns. One was blind (Blue Skies), one was a paraplegic (Phantom Waltz), and one was deaf (Annie's Song). I enjoyed these books and found the characters' struggles to be very compelling.

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    1. Hi Ellie,

      I agree. I love a story that pulls at my heart. I want the hero/heroine to succeed even more.

      I've read a couple historicals and was unaware. thanks for the tip. But, no reason this theme couldn't permeate the entire market.

      Bob

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  5. Brenda Novak is a historical writer and has a freebie on Kindel right now, it's a two book deal. I haven't gotten to the second book, but in the first book the hero was born with a deformed arm. I know I have encountered other modern day hero's with handicaps,but can't begin to remember all of the authors. They have been presented with both physical and emotional issues due often by trauma. They manage to all come off sexy,strong, and willing to overcome. These hero's came from all walks of life. They were special forces,firemen, ranchers, rodeo cowboys or officers of the law.

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  6. Thanks for the leads. Who knew? well I didn't.

    I may rewrite my story about a blind Army Colonel (heroine) and just needed a little encouragement and the time. Someday, perhaps, I'll write about a hero with a physical handicap, all our heroes are flawed in some way, because it's compelling writing and human.

    Bob
    p.s. I'm going to check out Brenda Novak's book now

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