What happens when the romance novel hero is legless or blind? Amy Andrews and Jane Tara both think that’s just fine… in fact, their latest heroes are more than “fine”… They are hawt and handsome and everything else a hero should be.
Amy Andrews and her legless leading man
I’ve always wanted to write a bodyguard book. I love that delicious tension where he wants her bad but can’t do anything about it because he’s supposed to be protecting her. Honestly, I freaking love that hands off shit! It just calls to my ever-lovin’ romance soul.
So imagine my delight when my muse threw me one, finally! She’s really been very recalcitrant in that quarter. But, of course, she never just gives generously – she makes me work for it. She’s kinda bitchy like that because suddenly my “bodyguard” was an above knee amputee.
I can’t have a hero who has to protect my super-model heroine from the bad guy be hampered by a prosthetic leg. I mean who ever heard of a one-legged bodyguard? I could, of course, have made him an ex kick-arse para-Olympic running champion but Oscar kinda put the kybosh on that!
So there I was, with my muse insisting and me wondering how the hell I was going to pull it off. But then things started to take shape in my head and before long I knew Blake was ex-military, I knew he’d had his leg blown off in Iraq and I knew after a harrowing couple of years he was in a reasonably good place.
And I think that was the most important thing to me. I didn’t want the book to be about an amputee hero. The book is about an average Joe who falls for a woman waaaay out of his league. It’s a romance through and through. He just happens to have one leg.
It was also important that I made him physically strong and able. He may have a slight limp, he may not be able to run like the wind but he’s fit and work-honed. He crafts wood and his pride and joy is the canal boat he spent a year of his life stripping down to the hull and renovating. Nothing like noisy power tools to help get your head back on straight.
And of course, all this is just code for good with his hands. Because Blake may only have one leg but he is very, very good with his hands!
Amy Andrews is an award-winning, best-selling Aussie author who has written thirty + contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She writes for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Entangled, Harper Collins and Momentum.
To date she’s sold over a million books and been translated into thirteen different languages including manga.
She loves her kids, her husband, her dogs, cowboys, men in tool belts, cowboys in tool belts and happily ever afters. Please, DO NOT mess with the HEA! Also good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel – preferably all four together.
She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.
Jane Tara’s blind hero
When starting a new novel I usually have a clear idea of what I’m going to write. I’m not one of those let’s just wing it and see where we end up type authors. My characters are too pushy. If I let them have their own way one of them could go off the rails, party too hard and wake up married in a Vegas jail. My characters are like teenagers… Yes, they have certain freedoms, but they also need a lot of structure…
But the occasional character will stroll in, pretend to be all nice and easy-going… but then actually take the book in a direction that even I didn’t anticipate. I don’t get much of a say.
My latest book, The Happy Ending Book Club, contains one such character. The book has seven intertwined stories. In one of them (my favourite… there I’ve said it!) we meet Patrick. He’s tall, sexy… He’s a musician, he’s funny and smart… he has muscles… Sigh. Oh, and he’s blind.
No, not blind as in Friday nights at the pub blind… he’s really blind. Visually impaired.
He has a disability.
Romance heroes are notoriously “perfect.” Oh yes, they can have emotional wounds, but being anything less than physically flawless is unusual. I spent a lot of time trying to rewrite Patrick… but he was immovable… He made it clear: “Like it or not, this is who I am. I’m blind. Now do your job and write me!”
And so I did. More than that, I developed a massive crush on him. I saw him more clearly than any of my other leading men. His blindness didn’t make him less attractive. It didn’t make him needy. It also didn’t make him “extra special.” His blindness didn’t define him at all. Tilda the heroine recognised that being with him would present certain challenges, but her own issues far outweighed his.
In my mind, Patrick is everything a romance hero should be. For those of you who read my book, let me know how you see him.
Jane Tara has SchizoPENia. She finds it impossible to stick to one genre when writing. While most writers have a ‘voice’ … she has a few … her pen name should be Sybil.
She’s the author of over twenty children’s picture books, a number of plays, and three novels. By day, she runs Itchee Feet, a children’s travel publishing company with her partner Dominique. At night another voice is unleashed and she writes magical romantic comedies. Forecast, Trouble Brewing, and her latest novel, The Happy Endings Book Club are published by Momentum.
After years living in Tokyo, Vienna, London and New York, Jane is happy to call Bondi Beach home. She lives with her partner Dom and their four sons. Wine helps with that.