Hi everyone, it’s great to be back here visiting Smexy Books, and I appreciate Mandi giving me a soapbox to stand on. However, I promise this post isn’t about politics or any other controversial topic. It’s simply a get-down-to-basics chat about virgin heroes.
Virgin heroes are a rare breed in romances out on the market today. In fact, they’re a relatively new concept for me, and I’m not sure exactly how many virgin heroes there were in romance prior to the last ten years. I know they’re out there, but I also know they’re pretty few and far between. It’s with good reason. Virgin heroes are damn hard to write and there’s the perception of readers. Readers want strong heroes, and while the heroes readers crave don’t have to be alphas, there’s a really high demand for that kind of a hero.
I think that’s one of the reasons virgin heroes are hard to write. How in the world do you write a virgin male who doesn’t come across as some namby pamby, but as a strong, yet inexperienced in the bedroom, hero. The answer to that is simple. There has to be a justifiable reason for why the hero is a virgin. A hero doesn’t have to be defined by his s*xual experience. Even an alpha can be inexperienced in the bedroom. It’s all a matter of convincing the reader that the hero has a compelling reason for his lack of experience with women.
When I was preparing to write Pleasure Me, my upcoming March release, I knew the only way I could write a virgin hero was if I had a strong motive for his being inexperience. As a result, I did a little research and found a physical defect I could use as a motive. That defect is a distended testicle (where the sac doesn’t drop down).This defect occurs in about one percent of the population, and in the late 1800s, when men were supposed to be virile and strong, having this type of defect would have had an emotionally devastating impact. At a time when men were often judged by the number of women they’d slept with or the number of children they sired, it’s not surprising a man would want to hide his deformity. So it wasn’t much of a leap for me to create a hero who’s been led to believe that if a common whore rejects him, its highly doubtful that a decent woman will let him touch her.
While Garrick is somewhat of a wounded soul, he’s not as dark as some of my other heroes. He has a wonderful sense of humor, which made it difficult to make him dark. He’s also a romantic at heart. He might believe he’ll never have a home, family and the love of a woman, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want it. These qualities lend themselves to the believability of Garrick’s virgin status as well as his efforts to present to society that he’s a rake. Something he does by becoming quite proficient at kissing. The result is that the women he kisses tell others what a great lover he is simply because they don’t want anyone to know that Garrick never came to their bed. It’s that ego thing you know.
Writing a virgin hero turned out to be easier than I expected because suspension of disbelief played a huge component in the character’s makeup. If I’d not had a compelling reason for Garrick’s inexperience, I don’t think I would have had the pleasure of see Ruth initiate him into the pleasures of the flesh. There’s something to be said for tying a gal up and blindfolding her!
Do you like virgin heroes? Is there a virgin hero that’s memorable for you? What do you like/dislike about virgin heroes?
Monica is offering a copy of her first historical, Kismet to one lucky commenter. To enter, just answer her above questions. Contest open to everyone (as long as Book Depository ships to you) through Thursday January 13th.
A Note from Monica Burns: I’m hosting the Pleasure Me With Romance blog event. I’ve invited more than 35 historical romance authors to come blog about historical romance on my blog starting January 17th through March 1st. Jayne Ann Krentz, writing as Amanda Quick, was gracious enough to be interviewed, and there will be guest posts from NYT bestselling authors like Sabrina Jeffries, Madeline Hunter, Sarah MacLean, Lisa Valdez. There will also be posts from USA Today bestselling authors like Julianne MacLean, Lorraine Heath, Lucy Monroe and many more wonderful historical romance authors. There will be plenty of opportunities for readers to enter daily giveaways. You can learn more about the event HERE.