Laura Haley-McNeil

10/1/17, In Need of a Hero

Hello, Everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful weekend! October seems like the official autumnal month to me. It brings to mind the orange and red and gold of the turning leaves. When I see the word “October,” I see all those colors and golden rows of wheat wafting in a fall breeze, gathered stalks of corn and bright orange patches of pumpkins, and I can smell the spiced cider my mother would have simmering on the stove when we’d come in from playing outside on cool autumn weekends. Those colors and those scents made the shortening days and adjusting to homework less distasteful.

Now that the days are shorter, I’m not quite so anxious when I haven’t stepped outside and can actually spend an entire day indoors. I’m not gazing longingly out the family room window while I sit on the loveseat with my laptop on my lap, also known as my desk, and write. With a fire in the fireplace, I can enjoy more colors of red and orange and blue in our tiny family room.

Maybe school taught me to be more diligent in the fall, which is good because I’m working on the final edits for two books and thinking about the next novel I’ll write in the Crystal Creek series. I’ve known about the heroine for several years. I’ve named her, have given her a profession, know her birthday, her height, her weight, her triumphs, her heartbreak and her struggles. My heroine needs a hero and he’s slowly forming in my mind. In fiction, I like reading about the alpha male, the man who’s in charge, but has a soft side. In real life, I don’t get along with the take charge kind of man, but in fiction, it’s fun to fantasize about a man who’s in control, but isn’t afraid to deal with the woman who is his equal. I don’t believe women were ever soft. They may not have worked outside the home, but they had a house to manage and children to raise, the most difficult job on the planet. I’ve read books with heroes that I find admirable. They’re tough, they’re smart, they’re cultured, they have respect for women, but they don’t need a woman, until they meet that one woman. Even after that, they still don’t need a woman – they need that woman. That’s the fantasy I want to read about and make available to my readers. The hero I’ve enjoyed watching is Clark Gable’s interpretation of Rhett Butler. Because of his wealth, Scarlett would never want for anything, but being scarred by the poverty of war, she’s obsessed with providing for her family and those she loves. Rhett could have any woman, and does, but he’s obsessed with Scarlett even when he’s in the arms of another woman. He’s always had what he wanted, but he’s never had Scarlett. At the end, he can have her but then he sees her for who she really is and doesn’t want her anymore, but I’ll ignore that point of the story. If you’re a fan of Richard Gere, as I am, he often portrays these educated, cultured, self-sufficient males who meet a woman who’s nothing like the women who’ve attracted him in the past, but then he meets this special woman, the woman he’d never give a second look, and suddenly he’s left wanting. When she leaves, she leaves a hole in his life and this one particular woman is the only one who can make his life complete. Another example is Henry Higgins from Pygmalion. He doesn’t need anyone – except a street urchin named Eliza Doolittle.

So who is my hero? Where did he come from? What are his heartbreaks and struggles? What are his hopes and his dreams? Slowly, this information is coming together. I don’t know my hero’s name yet, though I can clearly see him. I know where he lives and I know his career. I don’t know his birthday, but I do know his age. And I know when he meets the heroine he wants nothing to do with her. His life is fine until she comes along and then a life that seemed perfect and fulfilling now seems empty and flawed. And he finds himself watching her. Seeing things about her that he never would have thought to look for in any woman, let alone this woman. And when it’s time for her to leave, he’s fine with that. He’s glad she’s leaving. Life was simpler before she arrived.

Or was it?

I still have a lot of work before this story is fully formed in my mind, but this is the fun part. It’s like shopping and selecting various items that will come together in a fully formed hero, smart, handsome, accomplished and flawed.

And when the story is complete, it will be my pleasure to introduce you to the hero and heroine who captured my heart for months and sometimes years until I could present them as characters who live in between the pages of my next book.

Here’s to the stories that captivate and the characters who live in our hearts. I hope you have a wonderful week and that you’re reading a book that will live in your heart for months, hopefully, years, to come.