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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why Be A Hero?

....why Indeed?

Yah, if we cannot laugh at THAT then we need a sense of humor transplant.

When I came up with the concept for The Realtors series, nearly 4 years ago now, I was a Realtor, sitting at a boring open house, on a screened in porch overlooking the Huron River in Ann Arbor. The house was great, but a bit of a white elephant, overpriced, dated, but with easily the best view in town.  Frustrating to market, pleasant to sit at during a sunny Sunday, ultimately unsatisfying.

Kind of like the trend I was finding in erotic romance.  Sort of the same old same old, sexy headless man on the cover, set up of conflict between the Hero who is over the top physical perfection, but troubled, and at times hard to like as He makes his journey through life. Until he meets Her. She is also (usually) tormented in some way, damaged, or whatever, but easier to “like,” or at least easier for the (usually) female readers to identify with.

She "fixes" him by her very presence in his life by persistence, patience that Job would envy, her smoking hot bod and talented, erm, mouth. But he becomes The Perfect Mate, no longer the Bad Boy, whatever, because of her.


So, when the characters of Jack and Sara sprung from my cranium and out onto the computer screen I decided to twist that a little.

Sure, Jack is a quintessential “bad boy” required by many readers in order to engage with the story. He’s rich, hot, a pussy magnet, successful, but basically unhappy.  Missing something. 

Sara is also a fairly typical heroine at first blush. Good looking, driven, man-less for the moment (even having been bitten in the tail by a relationship gone bad early in the first book). Ready for her life to really begin. BUT NOT it would seem, as defined by her relationships. She wants to be a successful Realtor. To make her own way, her own money, her own life.

But fate has another plan for her. It drops Jack in her path, and she has to either let him remain in the way, or detour around him somehow. And he is not a guy easy to ignore.

I am getting a ton of great reviews and buzz on this series, including a JERR Gold Star award for Sweat Equity (book 2) even though the reviewer was utterly aggravated by my character's behavior at times. But there is a theme about Sara. One that I am happy to address right here for you.  She is NOT your typical romance heroine. She is NOT the one who will do the redeeming for her Hero.


Actually, she is more “hero-like."  More than a little on the selfish side, self centered even, and she knows it. Her journey towards love is bumpy, mainly because of her own barriers. Granted Jack is not perfect. But he makes it clear early on how he feels about her. She is the one who resists, over and over, making some of my loyal readers, well, pissed off at her, big time.

Jack on the other hand is so popular right now he has his own Facebook page. He is the guy people are identifying with as he overcomes his terror about relationships and tries to convince Sara he is serious. Of course, his own smart mouth (and history) get in his way at times. But mostly, it is Sara, putting up her own walls of resistance to him.

By flipping their roles, ever so subtly, I think I gave Jack and Sara a depth that is what is resonating so deeply with so many readers right now. Frankly, the amazing visceral responses people are having are pretty darn satisfying. I felt strongly about creating these people. I like readers reacting and talking amongst themselves about why they can't "let go" of the story.

And I have an announcement:  My publisher and I will be releasing a short side story to The Realtors series very soon. Before the fourth book (The Essence of Time) is released in June, you can get a glimpse in to the lives of one of Sara’s fellow agents via "Conditional Offer" which will be a free read on ARe.  Details to emerge... 

And I am gonna reveal an early series banner I'll be using to promote on some bigger sites and what not, and at RomFest in Tennessee in June where I'll be signing copies of Floor Time (book one) and The Essence of Time (book 4). Yes, it has a headless man torso...but whatever. It works. And IS wearing a tie....

Liz Crowe
Romance for Real Life


Amber Skyze said...

I did this in one of my books too, Liz and find it's one of my all time favorites. Maybe it's the way I'm hard-wired because it's what I'd do in real life.
Congrats on all the success of this series.

Tina Donahue said...

This sounds like a great series, Liz - major congrats!!

Molly Daniels said...

T minus five days and counting....looking forward to buying books again next week, and I'm putting the first of yours in the first batch to be bought:)

Harlie Reader said...

Scarlett is the perfect "hero like" heroine.

Review for Sweat goes up on Saturday. :) I mention this particular part of Sara in my review.


Paris said...

I think my favorite review for the series (so far:) is the one where Jack drove them crazy but they just had to keep reading! Congratulations on your wonderful reviews and I wish you continued success with your series:)

Debbie Gould said...

Great post, and loved the Family Guy piece. I do have Floor Time, now I just need to sit down and read it. Pronto!

Nina Pierce said...

Liz - I'm so glad this series found a home. (Even if NY missed out!) Obviously the characters you've created touch the readers. Best of luck with the next book in the series.

And ummm...I'm in love with that series banner!

Adele Dubois said...

Liz--Sounds like you've hit the ground running with your series. I wish you all the best!


Katalina said...

I think readers love a "heroic" heroine as long as she's compassionate and doesn't steamroller over the hero-but that rule applies to Heroes too.
In a great story the heroine and hero share the stage as equals.
Congratulations on the Realtors' series success and great reviews!
Liz, thank you for posting a photo of Clive Owen, it did my eyes some good this morning : )

jean hart stewart said...

Continued success with this wonderful series...Nice pictures, I'd forgotten how gorgeous Clark Gable was.....

Liz said...

thanks all. Floor Time is still ONLY 99 cents at Amazon and ARe...if you need a great deal on a good book!

Liz said...

Thanks Molly and to anyone and everyone who are gonna jump on the Realtors bandwagon with me!

Anonymous said...

Wow...awesome site! Thank you! I am getting it now!! :) LeslieS.

Cara Marsi said...

Liz, I'm so happy for your success. And I love that you have him hot after her and she'd reluctant. Your banner is great.

Liz said...

Thanks Cara ;-)

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