Today we’re chatting with three of my “bad boy” heroes and finding out what makes them tick. Say hello and give a warm welcome to: Ashton Bailey from Dangerous Indenture, Deke from Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Rothgar from The Viking’s Witch.
Hi guys! It’s good to meet you all. 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.
When Kelli wrote your stories she had to make 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 fueled 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.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome? What lessons did Kelli make you learn while telling your story?
Ashton: I learned many lessons… one of which was how to grow up and be responsible, and not to stay out all night drinking and gambling. I think my biggest obstacle was my lack of self-respect. I had to prove to myself and my father that I’m not the failure he always considered me to be. With Shauna’s (and Kelli’s) help, I changed dramatically over the course of the book and I’m much happier for it.
Deke: Learn my lessons? Obstacles? Please. (Rolls his eyes.) Kelli gave me nothing but hardship and obstacles from the minute I woke up on the page. I was kept prisoner in a basement and then when I was finally freed, I had to follow Larry around like a puppy while looking for a killer. I’ve never liked restrictions or being told what to do, and I resented the fact that Kelli made life very hard for me. But when Larry went missing I realized that I cared for him and it was my fault he got captured. I learned that life isn’t just about me. I had a duty to rescue him and make things right.
Rothgar: I had to overcome many obstacles in my life—a major one was learning to carry on after my first wife died. For a few years after that terrible tragedy, I gave up raiding and traveling and was considered “soft” by many warriors. (Laughs). I’ve certainly overcome any reluctance to show them my stronger side—and many of them still have the bruises and scars to prove it! Sailing to Scotland and meeting Odaria renewed my strength and self-confidence and gave me a second chance at a happy life. Kelli taught me many lessons, but the most important one was have to love and trust again.
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.
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.
If your mate could describe you in one word what would it be?
Ashton: Sensitive. Caring. And sometimes a bit naughty!
Deke: Strong. No doubt. And intense, very intense.
Rothgar: Sexy? Strong? Virile? Brave? Bold? (Laughs.) Although all of those are true, knowing Odaria the way I do, if you asked her the question, she’d tell you: “Mine.”
Thanks for sharing your insights. We appreciate first-hand opinions and insights from our heroes!
Readers, what are your thoughts on the subject? Do “bad boys” appeal to you more than other types of heroes? Or can they be a turnoff? Does it matter if they’re staring in historical romances or contemporaries? Please share your thoughts with Kelli.
Readers and other authors can get in touch with Kelli via these social media links:
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
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Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Her trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was released in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli’s third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/.