Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
What makes a hero
When I was growing up with a sister two years older, there was a bit of sibling rivalry; especially since my sister got the looks, the figure and the sporting ability and, years later, I’m still trying to work out exactly what I got! The sibling rivalry has long since passed, but I still find it amazing how we could be brought up side-by-side, with the same genes and yet end up so completely different. Take our taste in men, for example… I’ve always been a beta girl myself, but my sister was attracted to a far edgier sort of man - the kind who you couldn’t be sure were going to turn up as arranged. There’s some excitement in that I guess, the thrill of the chase never quite going away.
With such differences between the opinion of two sisters, it’s impossible to write a hero who’s going to be every reader’s ideal man. I didn’t want Tom in ‘Among a Thousand Stars’ to be a chest-beating alpha male but, of course, in a romantic comedy, true love can never be allowed to run too smoothly! So Tom ended up as exactly the sort of beta hero I could fall in love with myself – he cares about the people closest to him and keeps the promises he makes – but he’s complicated, wounded by his past.
That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate an alpha hero. Back in those days of teenage sibling-rivalry, one of the heroes of commercial fiction who has always stuck with me is Rupert Campbell-Black, from Jilly Cooper’s “Riders”. Yet, if, like me, you read the whole series of novels, you soon discovered even Rupert had his beta-side and as a reader I completely fell for the romance which eventually saw him tamed by true love.
Some might argue that fiction is the only place where such perfect matches exist – the couples who come together and smooth out one another’s broken edges. It’s exactly the sort of partnership that Tom seems to need, but just can’t accept, in ‘Among a Thousand Stars’. Although I can’t tell you how that ends, of course.
I don’t buy into the theory that it only happens in novels, though. I think the best relationships are the ones where a couple balance each other out. As my sister will tell you, perfection is boring. Whether your hero is alpha or beta, real or imagined, it’s those broken edges and the conflict they create which keep us turning the pages.
Thanks so much, Jo!