It’s Tuesday, so it must be TBR Day! Leave a comment to today’s soul-searing question and you’ll be in the running for a Priority Mail box stuffed with books (or, if outside the U.S., an order from Book Depo of your choice of book(s) totaling around USD$15, which is the equivalent to the flat-rate priority box postage.
So, okay, let’s talk heroes in paranormal romance and heroines in urban fantasy. I realized as I was thinking about this, in PNR it’s often the men who have the biggest emotional journeys, while in UF it’s often the female heroine. This isn’t hard and fast, of course. I’m a firm believer, as are most authors, that both the female and male protagonists—and the side characters as well—need to have emotional journeys.
And it stands to reason that if one has an emotional journey on which one needs to go, one has probably been through some stuff.
I was working on my lead male character for the second Wilds of the Bayou novel, a guy named Cole Ryan, and wondering if he was my most damaged hero yet (villains not included). I mean, in the Penton series, I think Will and Mirren are both very damaged by their pasts. Mirren has, with Aidan’s help, come to terms with his. Will, I think, has not yet dealt with his, not really. It was a big step in his healing process to come clean with Randa at what all his father had done to him, but we don’t yet know how he’s going to handle his father’s final fate. (Okay, I’m trying to write this without too much spoilery but am not doing so well, eh?) And Nik has some serious stuff going on, which we don’t know a lot about yet. (Let’s hear it for Penton 5!)
Among the Penton women, Krys, Glory, Melissa, Randa, and Robin all have troubled pasts, but I’m not sure they surpass the stuff the guys have gone through, which is why they were able to help their eventual mates.
In the Sentinels books, I think, Jake is probably the most damaged character. I mean, DJ has lost a LOT of both people and things important to her, and she’s carrying around a lot of guilt. But Jake had some serious issues that preceded the beginning of the series. He’s tough, but he’s had to go through a lot to finally find a little happiness in his life. Jean didn’t have an easy human life, but I mean, the guy’s rich and immortal, so except that he must be lonely, I can’t feel too sorry for him.
From the collectors, I think Gillian from LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP probably has the deepest scars, although her “co-star” Shane and both Brody and Sam from DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD had their own issues.
In WILD MAN’S CURSE, both Gentry and Celestine have issues. Ceelie is the most threatened, but I think Gentry has the more difficult emotional journey.
I think Cole has them all beat, though. It could just be because he’s been inhabiting my brain for the last few months as I’ve developed his character, so it feels more raw. Then again, he is very, very damaged. Which begs the question, how much damage can love heal, realistically, in the course of a novel that spans a period of less than a month? I do NOT believe in instalove, and usually find the best I can do is insta-gonna-try. But get ready—Cole is a man with some issues.
So, who’s the most damaged character in your reading? Doesn’t have to be one of mine. I’d probably say just about any of JR Ward’s original Black Dagger Brotherhood guys—especially Zsadist and my own favorite, Vishous. How about you?