What Makes a Hero?

dancingcoupleThere’s a theory that when a little girl grows up she seeks out a mate with similar traits to her father. In my case, I think it’s somewhat accurate. Similarly, the heroes in my novels have elements of my very first hero, my dad.

One or two readers have pointed out that my heroes are not “alpha males”. I might sell a few more books if I wrote about cowboys, billionaires, firemen or detectives, but I don’t know any of those types of men. I have no idea how they think, and they don’t particularly appeal to me.

My dad’s a physicist and an avid outdoorsman. He’s quiet and cerebral with a clever sense of humour. When I was growing up, you wouldn’t find him watching sports on TV, but in the dining room jotting complex algebraic equations on a notepad. He introduced us to classical music and made a point to take us places (into the wilderness or to museums) where we could explore and learn. If he couldn’t get out canoeing, hiking or skiing on weekends, he’d be grumpy. Now that he’s retired, he’s still just as active. He’s a devoted grandfather too.

But being gentle and soft-spoken doesn’t mean he’s not strong, loyal or firm in his principles. Most of all, he’d do anything for his family. It was always important to me to make my dad proud. In many ways he’s still that little voice in my head that steers me in the right direction.

When I met my husband, his warmth, smarts and an easygoing nature drew me to him. His passion for history, music and travel gave us a lot to talk about. He’s far from a duplicate of my dad, but they do share many qualities.

When I dream up a hero for my books, he invariably shapes himself in my mind as kindhearted, polite and family focused, and he’s unlikely to enter the scene on a horse on in a limousine. Indeed, my ideal guy has to have some of the same traits as the man I grew up admiring and still do today—my dad.

Happy Father’s Day to all the quietly heroic dads out there.

Visit my website – www.susanrhughes.weebly.com

About susanrhughes

Susan R. Hughes is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and historical romance. She lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and three children.
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6 Responses to What Makes a Hero?

  1. E. Ayers says:

    I think I married the opposite of my dad. 🙂
    But those who knew my husband say he’s in every hero I write. Maybe he is. Quiet and solid, he was my rock. But he was also fun, and had an awesome sense of humor.

    Hubby had grown up with a Navy father who was always at sea. He lacked that male role model, but he was determined he’d be a good dad and be there for our girls. It wasn’t easy, but he made time for them even when he didn’t have time. They loved their daddy!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Kristy says:

    I also married my dad’s opposite. My dad is great, and I adore him, but when I was young I was super attracted to the guys in suits carrying brief cases. And that’s who I married. My spouse criteria list wasn’t very long, but I refused to date anyone who liked to hunt or fish. My husband likes the outdoors as much as my dad, but thankfully, not all of our vacations have to be spent on a rowboat or in tent, and the outdoorsy things my husband likes I also enjoy. I’m lucky, although I didn’t think so when I was a kid riding in the back of a pickup truck and heading for a lake in the Washington wilderness.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. leighmorgan1 says:

    I like my real life heroes the same way I like my fiction heroes: kind–even when they pretend not to be, funny, articulate and engaging. “Alpha” without kindness and the ability to laugh at himself isn’t interesting at all. I married a kind, generous, funny man who doesn’t need to be full-on alpha all the time, thank goodness :). He even looks good in a skirt (that’s a kilt for anyone who doesn’t know I’m teasing him). I love to read about this kind of hero too, Susan.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Carol says:

    I didn’t know my dad very well, but I do know he was a hard working family man. He knew all about cattle, horses and anything you wanted to know about farming or logging. The man I married is strong, compassionate, and loving. His family comes first above everything. A man who puts his family first is tops with me

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mona Risk says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your father Susan.


  6. Joan Reeves says:

    I’m catching up on my blog reading. Great post, Susan. My heroes always have the best qualities of my husband and sons–father too.


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