Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guest Blogger - Elle Kennedy

I am so excited to welcome Elle Kennedy to the blog today! Not only is she a wonderful writer, but she's also a great friend and a fantastic critique partner. She's spent many hours helping me make my writing better. I'm thrilled to be able to share her success with everyone here. Please give Elle a warm Playground welcome!

First off, I wanted to thank the ladies of the Playground for letting me blog with them today! I’m proud to say I had the chance to read Kira’s debut Blaze and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final version! Kira in turn read a romantic suspense of mine, and actually, she was the one who suggested I submit it to Silhouette Intimate Moments, now SRS—and what do ya know? I sold it and now have my own debut coming out in April! Needless to say, I owe you, Ms. Instigator!

So today I’m going to admit to something: I sometimes forget fictional characters are, well, fictional. Yes, it’s a problem.

For example, the other day I was thinking about something someone had said, a flirty little comment, and I’m searching my brain trying to remember who said it. And I’m thinking, who was it?! I remember he was really hot and cute and funny…and wait, I’m thinking of Ben Barrett, the hero of my latest Samhain release, Midnight Encounters.

I’d like to say that I love my characters so much that they become real to me (which I do, and they do) and that’s why I develop crushes on them, but alas, I often crush on the heroes of some of my favourite authors. I blame my current fictional crushes on two authors.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This author has a problem—her characters are so darn real I can’t help but fall for them! At the moment, I have a thing for Dean Robillard from Natural Born Charmer. If you’ve read this story, you know why. Dean is a sexy, charming football quarterback. Rich, sexy, funny, smart, sexy, generous, kind, cocky…did I mention sexy?

It’s sad, how badly I wish this guy was real. I’ve read this story about eight times and I’m still not sick of it, all because of SEP’s ability to make her hero come alive and make me want, well, him.

My other current crush is on Mark Trevor, who’s appeared in two of Iris Johansen’s books, Blind Alley and Countdown. Now, a lot of people I know who have read this book did not like Trevor. I think they’re insane. So what if he’s kind of a jerk? So what if he’s arrogant and macho, a bit of an ass at times and somewhat of a criminal? Bad boys are my guilty pleasure, and although I know he’s not real, I wish he was, only so I could tame his bad boy heart….

Now, I know these characters are not real. I’m not delusional or anything. But I can’t help crushing on them, either. Like I said, it’s a problem.

So my question to everyone is: have you ever found yourself falling for a fictional hero? Crushing? Fantasizing? Are there any authors you love who provide unbelievably real heroes? And for the writers out there, have you ever fallen for your own heroes?

Oh, and I’ll be giving away a free download of Midnight Encounters to one commentator. The story features Ben Barrett, a sexy, charming movie star who I need to remind myself is not real!

Elle Kennedy

Thanks for visiting with us today, Elle! And don't forget to visit Elle at her blog That's where I am today talking about my very first book signing coming up in San Francisco next week.


Jane said...

Hi Elle,
I'm a big Iris Johansen fan, so I know all about the appeal of Mark Trevor but my favorite is Tanek from "The Ugly Duckling." He was the perfect alpha hero. I've also fallen in love with practically all of Lisa Kleypas' heroes.

Smarty Pants said...

Welcome Elle! I have to say that as an author, this topic completely stresses me out. Its hard enough to create characters that are interesting and funny (I'm better at this than most other things) but to make your reader fall in love with them? Pressure!! I'm constantly worried about making my hero "larger than life" because I prefer my heroes to be more obtainable IRL. ALas, my struggle...

Congrats on the SRM coming out!

Liza said...

Welcome Elle!

I have to go with Roarke from the In Death books by JD Robb. He is described as being the best looking man on or off planet. He is always there for Eve, even when she thinks she doesn't need him, and he is so romantic.

Anonymous said...

Welcome Elle! Yes, SEP owns me with her characters. Annabelle & Heath from Match Me if You Can. Also Kate Angell. My most recent read was by Heather Rae Scott - The last thing I wanted - loved it. I will have to check out Mark Trevor to see what you are talking about. Thanks for the heads up on these books.

Playground Monitor said...

Do movie heroes count? I loved Jack T. Colton in "Romancing the Stone." He was a bad boy at first and stole the treasure for himself. But in the end he couldn't stay away from the girl.

And crazy as it sounds, I love Jules Cassidy from Suzanne Brockmann's books. The man is an openly gay FBI agent, but you can't help but love him. He's tough as nails in the field, but he puts his heart on the line and I was so thrilled when he got his happily ever after.

Great to have you on the Playground, Elle. And congrats on the upcoming SRS!

Angel said...

Ah, heroes! A subject near and dear to us here on the Playground. Welcome, Elle!

As everyone here knows, I have a definite thing for Linda Howard heroes, especially Gray Rouillard from After the Night and Webb Tallant from Shades of Twilight. My newest crush is Wrath, leader of JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood.

For my own heroes, it takes me a bit to fall in love with them. It is kind of like a developing relationship. Once I see them clearly, I can find that special thing about them that makes me sigh. But I can't get as attached to them as I do other author's heroes. Maybe because I'm trying to construct their story and it lends me a bit of detachment with them?


Instigator said...

Thanks for visiting with us, Elle! I absolutely LOVE your cover. Very sexy :-)

And the SRS isn't the only new release you have next year, right? I can't wait to read it to see how it's changed. I loved that story!


KansasSue said...

Two come to mind right off the bat. Mr. Rochester in "Jane Eyre." (sighs) Don't we all want to comfort such a tortured soul? Then there's Noah Calhoun from "The Notebook." He is so romantic, so perfect; I refuse to see the movie because no matter who portrayed him, he couldn't live up to what I see in my head.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Hi, Elle! I like this topic, and a few heroes leap instantly to mind.

Bobby Tom Denton. *sigh* He's not even an ultra alpha male, more of a tortured minor alpha, but I love him. My favorite SEP hero ever.

Zsadist, JR Ward. Now THAT is tortured. Literally. But the way he falls for Bella and struggles to be normal for her. GOD.

Sheridan Drake, Laura Kinsale. Another tortured hero. Why do I love them tortured? I'm sensing a theme with me -- perhaps because the transforming power of love is that much more intense. Probably explains why I love to torture my heroes so much.

I don't think heroes are my problem at all when writing. Heroines, OTOH...

SP, a romance hero should NEVER be obtainable IRL. He should be over the top, the most magnificent male ever created. The one you'd leave your DB for. As Maven Linda said here recently, you must be in love with him yourself. :) I never have a problem with this. Shh, don't tell my hubby... :)

Speaking of tortured over the top alpha males, I have one waiting for me in the pages of the WIP.... (Y'all are the only ones I visit when on deadline.) :)

Smarty Pants said...

Maybe that's my problem. I keep trying to create a real man. Hmmmm.....

Elle Kennedy said...

Hey everybody and thanks for the warm welcome!

Jane--I absolutely LOVE Tanek. Ugly Duckling was the first Iris book I read and that's what got me hooked.

smarty pants--No pressure!! You don't have to make the readers fall in love with the hero (that's just my craziness LOL!) I think if they at least like 'em, that's enough!

Liza--I have to admit I never read the In Death series. Everyone always talks about it, so I'm starting to think maybe I should...

Monitor--yep, movie heroes count, and yep, I fantasize about those too. I swear, real life is just not good enough for me LOL!

Elle Kennedy said...

Angel, I actually just ordered JR Ward's entire Brotherhood series because everyone keeps talking about it. It better be good, darn it, considering all the $ I dropped on those books LOL!!

Kira, yep, I do have another release, in April 09. My debut Blaze, which is now called Body Check. It features a hockey player hero...

Elle Kennedy said...

Kansas--you should watch the Notebook! I loved the book, cried through the whole thing, and then when I watched the movie I was doubtful that Ryan Gosling could make Noah come alive. But I think he did an amazing job. I cried through the whole movie too. sigh.

"a romance hero should NEVER be obtainable IRL. He should be over the top, the most magnificent male ever created. The one you'd leave your DB for. "

Words to write by, Lynn. I'm definitely going to remember that!

Cathy said...

Gott agree about Roarke, he always makes my favorite hero list. Also like the heroes in Kathleen Dante's stories. They all have magical abilities, are as sexy as all get out, and a total treat to read aboutl

Anonymous said...

First of all, what a FANTASTIC cover!!! I love it very much.

Yeah, SEP seems to do it every time! How does she do that anyway??

And speaking of the Notebook, I actually haven't read it and I don't know if I want to because I'm sure I'd cry through the whole thing (and I do not cry easily!) I loved the movie though!


Angel said...

Yes, SP, if we wanted real men, well, maybe I shouldn't go there...


I do think heroes have to be bigger than life, just as heroines are women we can relate and aspire to, in situations we'd never find ourselves in.

Elle, can you tell us a little about your writing journey so far?


Jolie said...

This is embarrassing, but I'm completely in love with the hero in my "baby". Or, in other words, my first story, which will probably never be "right" no matter how much I tweak it, because I'm too attached, if that makes any sense. I more or less created my dream man in him and, well, it just doesn't get any better than him. ;) *sigh*

I've gotten so into my characters that I've done the whole "OMG, that looks like so and so's truck over there." To which my husband asks, "Who?". "Oh, just the hero in my story."

Yeah. I can get a little too caught up in FantasyLand.

(looks around for the white coats)

Elle Kennedy said...

Angel, well, my writing journey has been really exciting so far, as well as frustrating. I've been submitting since I was 14 (no surprise I was rejected--when I look back on those early teenager novels i wrote I want to cringe!)

I started subbing to Harlequin about 4 years ago, got a request for a full for all 5 ms's I queried, and 5 rejections lol Of course I was targeting Desire at the time, and I've found I never really "got" that line. So I started focusing on what I like best--suspense and sex!

In January, I got THE CALL from SRS. The ms, Sweet Survival, features a heroine who survived the wrath of a serial killer and must come out of hiding to help the FBI stop him. It was Kira's suggestion to sub it to SIM (Thanks, Kira!!!)

Two weeks after that, I got THE CALL again LOL! This time from Harlequin Blaze. Brenda Chin had requested a full from a contest win, and then wanted to see something else, and the next thing I know, I've sold two ms's in two weeks. Pretty exciting!

And of course, I'm still happy writing sexy contemporarys for Samhain, who has been an amazing publisher so far.

And that's about it!! I'm just getting started and I'm hoping this writing career of mine continues to grow!


Elle Kennedy said...

jolie, don't be embarrassed. we're allowed to be in love with our heroes--hey, if it weren't for us, they wouldn't exist!!

I often find myself chuckling over things my heroes have said. It's so much easier for me to write a sexy charming hero than it is to get into my heroine's head. I don't know why that is. Heroines take me so long to figure out---women are so complicated!

Amy S. said...

Midnight Encounters sounds great!

Caffey said...

Hi Elle! Congrats on the too on your SRS in April! I shall be looking forward to hearing more about it! And too congrats on yours Kira. It will be a joy to read you both, I love reading new authors! Its exciting, and was just checking out MIDNIGHT ENCOUNTERS and definitely goes on the wishlist!

You know, when I'm reading a book, its that hero thats always with me until I pick up my next book and have to let him go a bit on the outside and I get to read a new hero. So its like each one I am reading is special to me at that time. Thinking about this, the one that pops up in my head often after I read, was Colin from HOTTER AFTER MIDNIGHT by Cynthia Eden. I can still feel his mood, his protectiveness, and many scenes. The whole story just grabbed me. They do become real to me. Thats why I'm always asking for more related stories so I can visit them again!