By Pat Cromwell
I recently followed a discussion on Amazon by readers of romance. It was their wish list of what they wanted writers to refrain from when penning a story. It was titled Dear Author…Don’t.
The most popular request was for writers to stop using certain names for their hero. It appeared that most of the contributors to the discussion were unanimous with their displeasure of the use of those dashing and charming names that we like to use. I did not see the name Michael in any of the post. That’s a good thing because the hero in my book, “Behind Blue Eyes” name is Michael.
One poster wrote:
“I swear if I read another romance with a hero named Rafe I'm going to SCREAM!”
Although I don’t have a particular problem with the name Rafe as a hero, I do understand where she is coming from. I have a pretty good ideal of who this Rafe character is; he is of the same mode as the guy that has graced the pages of so many of the romance novels that I have read. His name is well known and is synonymous with sexy hero among the members of my reading group. This one guy shows up so much that I feel as if I know him personally.
Maybe you’ve come across him to.
His name is Jake and he makes me want to scream.
Probably not for the same reasons as the “Rafe” poster does, but he makes me want to scream none the less. He has found his way into so many romance books, that as a reader there are times I’d love to have Jake officially banned, but am so glad he isn’t because he’s a bright spot and the perfect hero. As a writer, I steer clear of him – I’m afraid I may not give Jake the justice he deserves and IMO Jake is a legend, perched on a pedestal. Why else is he used time and time again? I opt instead to use his distant relatives – Michael, Stephen, Vincent, Chase, and Kenneth. I’ll make them as legendary as Jake someday.
That does not mean that I will not have Jake staring in one of my books, but for now, I’ll let him be. For which I am sure he is pleased to hear. I bet Jake wish he could take it easy and indulge in an extended vacation from the written pages. Perhaps let his twin brother Seymour stand in for him every once and a while.
Did I mention Jake has a split personality?
Sometimes he wears his persona of dashing millionaire playboy, others times he is the most handsome and understanding cowboy the state of Montana has produced. Jake has been a Dom with a submissive waiting in the corner, and he has appeared as the misunderstood guy with tons of issues who arrives on the scene just in the nick of time to save the damsel in distress and unravel the hidden meaning of life. I have read about Jake the Private Eye, Jake the Doctor, Jake the Lawyer, and Jake the Professor. Sometimes he shows up with black hair, other times he is blonde. But no matter what color his hair, he is always handsome, sexy, and in touch with his feminine side, yet manages to retain that strong Alpha Personality that I love.
So why use Jake instead of Seymour? Honestly, can you imagine the heroine in the throes of passion moaning uncontrollably, “Oh Seymour!”
I don’t care if Seymour looks exactly like Jake and that Seymour has Jake’s personality, somehow the “Oh Jake” sounds so much better than “Oh Seymour.”
Beside the “passion” factor that is the very essence of Jake, there is that unconscious familiarly that is attached to him. When I read a book staring Jake, I know that he is going to be taking care of business. As a reader of romance, I am drawn time and again to books that have Jake staring in the pages and I look forward to the persona he takes on. I’d be skeptical of Seymour. As a writer of romance, I’d love to have Jake star in one of my books. After all, he is to die for. But my muse has never presented me with a story line for Jake. Michael, Stephen, Vincent, Chase, and Kenneth to date grace the pages of my stories. Modesty aside, they are just as dashing, handsome, and Alpha as Jake. Jake is their role model.
Following is a little excerpt from Behind Blues Eyes featuring two of Jakes distance relatives Michael O’Neal and Stephen Lay’s:
“There’s one other thing we have to work out,” Stephen said
“And that one other thing is?”
“Getting you out of the shit you’re in with that girl.”
“She’s staying with me. I’ll make it right with her. It will just take time.”
“You misunderstand what I mean. You need to forget about her. Get her out of your system. You should just walk away from her, man. I mean ASAP. What you are doing is crazy and bad for you. She has got you twisted. I mean honestly, if you counted the total number of hours that the two of you have spent together you wouldn’t get past a hundred. The entire time we have hung out together, you have not allowed yourself to get to know other women. Man, when you two are not together your brain is lethal. Five minutes with her and you are back in Idiotville. You need to walk away, just as you did years ago. That’s the only reason we got as far as we did and that is the only way you can stop being nuts.”
“What part of I love her do you not understand?”
“I guess God loves me because I’ve never been afflicted with that disease. With that said, partner, you need to get her out of here because in twenty-four hours her brother is going to be front-page news. She’s going to be pissed.”
“She’s already pissed.”
You can find more excerpts on my website. Also, I have tibbits from my books that feature some of Jakes other relatives!
Until next week…Happy reading!
Pat Cromwell http://www.freewebs.com/patcromwell/ http://moonlightromanceauthors.blogspot.com/
Behind Blue Eyes at www.amirapress.com