Why are characters in romance novels beautiful? Because we want to read about good-looking people. For a few hours we escape and become the characters. We want to be a pale blonde with big blue eyes, or maybe a dark-haired beauty with sun-kissed skin and eyes that that are the color of obsidian. We want the hero to be handsome and sexy. We want to fall in love!
Why? Probably the guy in real life is sound asleep and snoring. Maybe he was sexy at twenty-five, but thirty years later, he’s got a beer gut and life isn’t as exciting. That doesn’t mean you don’t love him, but a book boyfriend is a rather safe fantasy. And when you look in the mirror, your hips aren’t exactly what they were when you were teen. Time to escape into a book where everyone is perfect and you can be, too!
I write historical novels and I laugh about the mail-order brides. Those gals couldn’t get a guy back home. Chances are they were cross-eyed, bucked toothed, or even had extra fingers. Certainly not romance material, but people write the mail-order bride stories. and readers love them. Each heroine is beautiful and running from something silly. It’s today’s equivalent is online dating except without any safety net.
We all know a few of those internet dating horror stories. Yet I know several people who met online during the early days of the Internet when it was government or universities online and not the general public. A friend met the love of her life via the Internet. They conversed for months. Then she quit her job, packed everything she could fit in her car, and sold the rest. She drove 2000 miles to marry him. Last I heard, they were still married and pushing about forty years of happily-ever-after. That was before every kook had access to the Internet.
What makes someone beautiful? Actually there have been studies done that say beauty is anything better looking than the way we perceive ourselves. And we choose mates accordingly.
I wrote a story about two people who are not beautiful. She’s a plain Jane. The kind of girl that might be your best friend and you know your boyfriend isn’t going to dump you for her. The hero was once very handsome, but when an IED went off, he was the only survivor, and he’s been badly burned. It’s probably the “hottest” story I’ve ever written because it openly deals with erectile dysfunction. It’s really not hot, but not something for the average reader. Yet erectile dysfunction affects a lot of men for various reasons and can unnecessarily kill a sexual relationship. Coming Out of Hiding is a must read for anyone who loves a man that has ED.
I wrote another book, A Son. The heroine is not the typical beauty queen. She’s short and chubby with red hair and freckles. He’s not exactly the body builder either. He meets her and he likes her. He’s looking for someone who will be a gym partner. He’s also one of those guys who doesn’t want a skinny female. He wants something he can hold onto. He’s a big guy! He’s never going to be slim – he’s got big bones and a large frame. Oh heck, he’s a big blond teddy bear, with the sweetest heart, and he’s wealthy! But the heroine has issues, serious issues, very misguided ones.
I guess I’ve always preferred to write about people who are seemingly real. We all want to escape, but we also want to be accepted for who we are. We want someone to appreciate us, no matter who is in that mirror! And we want a guy who loves us –flaws and all. A book boyfriend is the perfect way to escape.
Max sat in his office for a few minutes taking care of some things that needed his attention before he retired for the evening. When he finished, he went to his own room and took a shower. He looked at his scarred body. A bittersweet feeling passed through him and stabbed at his heart. She thinks I’m handsome, if she saw me like this she wouldn’t say that.
He liked Tae. She was smart and funny, with a nice figure. Her mass of ringlets that she pulled into a ponytail caused him to smile. She needs a good hair stylist to tame those wild locks. She wasn’t a raving beauty, but that didn’t matter to him. Her upbeat personality and genuine friendship meant the world to him.
Ten years ago, he would have never given her a second glance. But life’s path had changed for him. Now, he could look at the photos of most beautiful naked women, and it did nothing to him. A form of self-preservation? He wasn’t certain.
He thought about Tae’s smile, her initial shock at seeing his hand, and how she had touched it. He rubbed his clawed hand with his good one as if it were possible to erase the caress of her touch, but the warmth spread up his arm and settled in his groin. He blew out a deep breath, but it didn’t stop the stirrings within him. He wanted to touch her, kiss her, and undress her. He imagined parting her lips with his tongue, her breasts pressed to his chest…The thought dissolved. There is no way I should even think about being involved with a woman. I’m hideous.
Randolph came into her room with tea. “I’m going to assume you haven’t taken any of your medicine today,” he said, while pouring her a cup from the small pot.
She looked at her watch. “No, I haven’t. I think I’m looking forward to it tonight. I’m not complaining, but I do hurt.”
Randolph handed her the medication bottle. She took one pill. “Randolph, will you sit with me for a few minutes? I have some questions.”
“I shall sit, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer your questions. I can tell by the look on your face that your questions have nothing to do with housekeeping.” Randolph sat in a chair next to the small table where he had placed her tea tray.
She took a deep breath knowing she was about to ask about things she shouldn’t. “I know about the explosion. Max said he had been burned on forty percent of his body. Does his body look like his hand?”
“He’s badly scarred. I’m very surprised he even showed you his hand.”
“He didn’t mean to show me, and then he tried to hide it again.” She looked down at her own hands and then back at Randolph. “I guess I forced him. It doesn’t bother me. At first it looked horrible, but after a few minutes it seemed a part of him.”
“I think, other than doctors and hospital personnel, you’re the only other living person, besides me, who has seen it.”
“Oh,” she said and sipped her tea. She pondered what Randolph told her.