Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chatting with Four Bad Boys of Romance

 Hi everyone,

Today we’re chatting with four bad boys from my romances: Ashton Bailey (Dangerous Indenture), Deke (Killer in Wolf’s Clothing), Rothgar (TheViking’s Witch), and Matt (The Sexy Stranger).

Welcome! Let’s start with a simple question: What makes you a “bad boy” hero?

Ashton: Am I bad? Well…I suppose so. Compared to other young men in Pennsylvania Colony, I am rather naughty. I do all the things “respectable” heroes of my time period shouldn’t: get drunk, gamble, fight, curse, and go to bed with “loose” women.

Deke: I’m right there with ya, except for that “woman” part. I’m an Alpha male, the alternate personality of Greg, who’s a lameass loser. I drink, curse like a sailor, eat whatever I want, and have one goal in life—to get laid. I don’t care where I find a guy, as long as he’s ready and willing to be dominated.

Rothgar: Like Deke and Ashton, I’m also a fighter. I have a solid reputation as a fierce Viking leader and have been in many battles. I don’t suffer fools lightly and I’m not afraid to take charge of a situation. I expect to be obeyed, not challenged.

Matt: I’m not much of a fighter. I’m not violent, but I am an ex-con and a kidnapper. I just happened to be hitchhiking when I got out of prison and jumped into Lauren’s car. I ended up kidnapping her and getting her into some crazy situations. I guess that makes me a pretty bad boy.

When Kelli wrote your stories she made sure you weren’t “too” bad, otherwise you wouldn’t be heroes. We know how tough you are, so tell us about your weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Ashton: I have the need to defend anyone who is having a rough time. Shauna left Ireland with nothing and came here to start over. I helped her adjust and protected her at Stewart House. I try to do the right thing where people are concerned and help out if I can. Once, I had to choose between paying a girl for her services and getting a meal. I felt sorry for her and gave her the money she deserved.

Deke: My soft spot is buried pretty deep. Years ago, I lost most of my friends in a fire. My need for revenge is fuelled by the fact that they deserve justice, and I also feel responsible because I wasn’t there to help them. That makes me protective of Larry (Greg’s boyfriend), too.

Rothgar: I can relate to that. My wife and son died in a fire while I was out raiding. I never really forgave myself until I talked it through with Odaria. After the fire, I stopped raiding because I didn’t want to cause other people heartache and grief. Seeing Odaria in danger brought out my protective nature. I wouldn’t know how to go on without her, and I would fight to the death to keep her safe.

Matt: My vulnerability? I’m running around with some pretty bad guys who wouldn’t think twice about seriously hurting someone. I have a secret I must keep from them—or else. I also have a responsibility to Lauren. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I’d feel bad if she got traumatized or hurt.

How does your partner handle your “bad boy” attitude? Some people might consider it a turn-off.

Ashton: Shauna understood my drinking and womanizing…but she didn’t approve. With her help and support, I turned myself around. However, I’m not entirely reformed. I’m still notoriously improper when it comes to certain activities in the bedchamber. Shauna has confessed that she likes it when I take charge and get a little forceful between the sheets.

Deke: Welcome to my world! Larry is the same way—now. At first, my gruff attitude and demands turned him off. Or maybe he was just surprised because I’m so different from Greg. After a few hours with me, he learned how much fun it was to be dominated. He doesn’t complain.

Rothgar: Odaria never tolerated my attitude for a second. When we met, we fought like cats and dogs. She was my “prisoner” for a while (I kept her with me to keep her safe) and argued with me every minute of the day. She’s a strong-willed, confounding woman who insisted I was a brute and said she hated me. But I knew from the way she kissed me, that deep down she was glad I was there.

Matt: Lauren obviously didn’t appreciate being kidnapped and held prisoner, but when she realized I wasn’t going to hurt her, she relaxed—a lot! I discovered she had a secret fantasy about being seduced by a sexy stranger, and well, who could refuse that?

Why do you think “bad boy” heroes are appealing to readers?

Ashton: I think readers are attracted to heroes who have faults, bad habits, and don’t always make the right choices. And despite all this, their women love them anyway. Outside of romance novels, real men aren’t perfect. Everyone has flaws or something in their past to overcome. Perhaps readers find these heroes appealing because there’s always a happy-ever-after ending, no matter what.

Deke: People want to read about “bad boys” who do, say, and think what’s not considered “polite” or “right” and still come out of the book a hero. Readers can lose themselves in a down-and-dirty fantasy about a bad boy who just might come home horny and bend their lover over the dining room table. Think about it. On “Happy Days” who was considered cool? Drippy Richie Cunningham or the Fonz? “Bad boy” heroes have an extra sharp edge to them, and they don’t care what other people think. They stand outside what’s considered “acceptable”—maybe that’s why they’re appealing.

Rothgar: A “bad boy” or not, who wouldn’t like to read about a hero who is brave, loyal, and can take charge of any situation? When readers lose themselves in a book, all their real life problems fade away. They become involved in the story, and even though things might seem bleak for the characters, they know that by the end of the book, the hero will rise to the occasion and everything will be fine. Heroes have to jump off the page, carry the book, and face down their nemesis; otherwise they’re not doing their jobs.

Matt: I agree with Deke. “Bad boys” are often fantasies for readers, and I’m fine with that. The reader can pretend she is a character and is “forced” to do whatever the hero wants, and since it’s fiction, there are no real-world consequences. Readers can get swept up in a different world and live vicariously through the heroine. They don’t have to worry about their jobs, paying the bills, or anything else. The key to any good romance is creating interesting characters who draw readers into the world the author has created and keep them there.

Thanks for sharing your insights. We appreciate first-hand opinions from our heroes!

Readers, what are your thoughts on the subject? Why do bad boys appeal to you? Which ones are your favorites? Contact Kelli and let her know! Wanna read about these hunky heroes? Catch up with them here:

Happy Reading!
 Next week, I'll be posting my May/June newsletter here. Stay tuned!

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 90 short stories, seventeen romance novels (for Medallion Press and Amber Quill Press), and four non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. Kelli had two historical romances published in 2014: Wilderness Bride from Amber Quill Press: and Dangerous Indenture from Medallion Press:

writes a monthly newsletter, Kelli's Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter. Kelli invites readers to visit her website, to learn more about all of her writings, sign up for her newsletter, and share questions and comments.

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