In my contemporary series, Games of Love, my heroes have the unusual profession of being Highland Games athletes. It’s their job to throw cabers and toss sheafs (sheaves?) and stomp around being barbaric and awesome. (In the real world, most of these athletes are a lot like romance writers, in that they also have day jobs to help pay the bills. But we’ll ignore that for right now.)
I love that these guys have such a unique profession, because it’s an instant platform for their personalities. Big and strong? Check. A little full of themselves?Got it. Sharing a fierce sense of male camaraderie? Absolutely.
And while it’s true that every man’s motivations and background are different (in real life and in fiction), it takes a certain kind of personality to train long enough and hard enough to compete in the Highland Games—a fact I’m not ashamed to capitalize on.
I think we find these shortcuts quite a bit in romance novels. A doctor hero can be a lot of things, but a few things he absolutely has to be are smart and dedicated (8+ years of school aren’t for the faint of heart). A cowboy hero can also be alpha, beta, or any of those other Greek letters, but he’s almost always hardworking and exhibitsa love of the land.
These days, it seems like we’re seeing a lot of the same types of hero professions. In contemporary, I’ve come across quite a few chefs, athletes of all varieties, and military men. In history, we’ve seen an abundance of spies as of late. I think it’s because the general stereotypes for these types of guys lend themselves to hot, sexy times. And we all love hot, sexy times!
I’m one of the many romance readers/writers who would put athletes at the top of my favorite hero professions list, and the chef boom is starting to grow on me.
I also love:
· A brilliant scientist (a la Tony Stark)
· An IT professional (the nerdier, the better)
· Rogue superheroes (I’m looking at you, Packard)
· Veterinarians (puppies!)
· Military assassins (as long as they don’t have baby epilogues)
I could probably keep going forever…really, in the right hands, ALL professions can lend themselves to great characterization.
I would like to see a few more scientist and IT nerds, though. And I’m always on the hunt for romance novels that include unusual professions for both the heroes and their heroines. Even a plumber, done right, could make for some great reading. Anyone need to snake their drain?
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About Tamara Morgan
Tamara Morgan is a romance writer and unabashed lover of historical reenactments—the more elaborate and geeky the costume requirements, the better. In her quest for modern-day history and intrigue, she has taken fencing classes, forced her child into Highland dancing, and, of course, journeyed annually to the local Renaissance Fair. These feats are matched by a universal love of men in tights, of both the superhero and codpiece variety.
Synopsis: Danger comes packaged in bulging muscles...and a codpiece.
Highland Games athlete Michael O'Leary is famous for his ability to charm a woman right out of her pants. Maybe a little too famous. When he’s sidelined with a knee injury, his wingman pounces on the chance to take full advantage of Michael’s idle time.
Trying out for the local adult-themed Shakespearean production seems simple, but there’s a catch. Michael must woo the notoriously demanding lead actress, Rachel Hewitt, thereby freeing his friend to pursue a courtship of Rachel's sister.
Rachel hates the thought of handing over the lead role in her admittedly scandalous troupe to someone so wholly uneducated in the ways of the Great Bard. But she’s in a bind, and the only one who can step up is a man who looks way too good in a codpiece—and knows it.
To add insult to injury, he refuses to take the role until she agrees to take his place in some barbaric warrior race. She’ll do it, but not with a smile. Unfortunately, the hardest part isn’t antagonizing her Scottish foes. It’s resisting the one man who seems determined to line and cue her heart—forever.
Warning: This book’s half-naked Shakespearean actors are not approved or acknowledged by people with actual literary merit. Neither are the dirty limericks.