Running With Quills, Blogsite for Jayne Ann Krentz, Elizabeth Lowell, Stella Cameron, and Suzanne Simmons
Susan Andersen
Suzanne Simmons

Stella Cameron
Stella Cameron

Kate Douglas
Kate Douglas

Lori Foster
Lori Foster

Jayne Ann Krentz, Photo credit Marc von Borstel
Jayne Ann Krentz

Elizabeth Lowell
Elizabeth Lowell

Carla Neggers
Carla Neggers

  • Tuesday, June 01, 2010

    Please welcome Deanna Raybourn to Running with Quills!

    Please welcome Deanna Raybourn to Running with Quills! I'm off hiking, kayaking and pub-hopping in Ireland ahead of THE WHISPER hitting stores in late June. Of course, I have books with me. Tucked into my suitcase are Deanna's SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY and SILENT ON THE MOOR. I'd heard so much great "buzz" about Deanna and had SILENT IN THE GRAVE on my ever-expanding TBR pile. I finally came up for air and dove in! I love this series! It's clever, witty, rich in detail and totally engrossing. I'm looking forward to more of Julia Grey and anything else Deanna decides to write.

    Welcome, Deanna, and thanks!

    Bad Boys: How Bad is Too Bad?

    Thanks so much for the lovely invitation to post on Running with Quills! When I was pondering today’s post, it occurred to me that this was the perfect forum for a question I’ve been noodling over: when it comes to bad boy heroes, how bad is too bad?

    Most of us are smitten with heroes who are-- as Lady Caroline Lamb once famously said of Lord Byron--“mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” but is there a point at which the bad becomes unbearable? Judging from some of our favorite heroes, you wouldn’t think so. Brontë men in particular have a nasty streak we manage to overlook. Heathcliff, for all his delicious moodiness, descends to real cruelty when he hangs his wife’s dog on their wedding day. And the broodingly attractive Rochester is hardly better when he locks his insane wife in the attic and happily contemplates bigamy with the loyal Jane Eyre. Yet these two heroes are the first ones we seem to conjure when we’re looking for an example of the tall, dark, and handsome hero with a bit of an edge.

    Even amongst the tidy pages of Jane Austen, most of us would rather be scorned by a masterful Darcy than have to converse with the kindly Edmund Bertram. (Who among us wouldn’t swoon to overhear Darcy say that we have a pair of fine eyes?)

    Not surprisingly, the trend for bad boys didn’t stop with the turn of the twentieth century. I don’t know a woman alive who wouldn’t have preferred Rhett Butler, the brutal war profiteer, to the overly-refined Ashley Wilkes. Even Max de Winter’s confession that he killed the title heroine of Rebecca doesn’t seem to dissuade his nameless second wife—if anything it makes her keener! And the pages of Gothic and historical romances abound with dangerous men doing unspeakable things. Piracy, blackmail, extortion, violence, bigamy, the occasional murder—we excuse them all, so long as the hero is compelling enough. Even the whisper of a lovechild gotten on his half-sister was not enough to discourage women from flinging themselves at Lord Byron. (He was a historical figure, but I include him here because he has been the subject of so many Romantic fantasies, the list would be incomplete without him.)

    My own series hero, Victorian private inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane, has engaged in several nefarious activities, a few of which I’ve detailed in the books. He’s an accomplished liar, a crack lock picker, a bare-knuckled boxer, and a duelist of some repute. I suspect a spot of extortion in the right circumstances wouldn’t bother him in the least, and he’s no stranger to using violence to further his aims. None of these qualities has given his aristocratic partner, Lady Julia Grey, pause for thought. In fact, it suddenly occurs to me that her own behavior has gotten decidedly worse since she has taken up with Brisbane! So, if illicit love affairs and dark deeds are not enough to put us—or the heroines!--off of bad boys, I wonder just how far a bad boy could go before we turn away?

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    Blogger susan andersen said...

    Deana, welcome to Quills.

    I think bad boys can be pretty bad long as they're well motivated. Take that away and they have more of an ewwwwish thug factor for me.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Your books look yummy by the way! Running off to add them to my list.

    10:59 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree with Susan. Some types of badness are acceptable in context. I am not a fan of cheating, but I do believe that there are people who are in open or polyamorous relationships for whom it's not cheating.

    I love to see someone redeemed, though. You give me a bad boy who settles down with someone he loves and stays true, and I will absolutely adore your book.

    I think I need to add you to my list of TBR authors, too. Thanks for stopping by.

    Lynne Thomas

    11:19 PM  
    Blogger still karibear said...

    IIMO, they can be very bad indeed, as long as they have their own moral/ethical code they stick to. Over the line - waaay over the line - would be deliberate abuse of children or animals. Anything else goes.

    5:38 AM  
    Blogger deanna said...

    I completely agree that context and motivation are the keys to keeping him attractive even when he's misbehaving. I think empathy is important too--if we see that he's suffering, it's easier to excuse him. Thanks so much for the warm welcome!

    7:04 AM  
    Blogger Lori said...

    I'm not of fan of "bad" in the truest sense. I like the romanticized version of "bad," as in confident enough to leap into danger for a good cause, capable enough to handle that danger with ease, edgy enough to maim or even kill when the one they're killing is evil enough and their motive is to protect others.
    But hanging a dog? Nope, never, ever would qualify as anything other than a scumbag. Bigomy? Same thing. I don't care where it's at in history. Some moral codes can't be broken, imo.

    Your books DO look yummy, as Susan said. :-) Best of luck with everything, and thanks for visiting us at Quills.


    7:25 AM  
    Blogger Kate Douglas said...

    Deanna, welcome to the Quills, and I loved your post--it's a reminder why I never could stomach those "classic" romances! No, I'm not a fan of any of those bad boys--they're nastiness was too deeply ingrained for my modern sensibilities, though I do agree with the other comments, that as long as the hero adheres to his own moral code, no matter how "bad" it is, he can generally be salvaged. But like Lori said, hanging a dog? Ain't gonna work in my world! Your books, on the other hand, sound haven't hung any dogs, have you? :-)

    7:52 AM  
    Blogger deanna said...

    Absolutely not! In fact, my characters seem to acquire new pets with every adventure. ;-)

    8:24 AM  
    Blogger Jayne said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    9:19 AM  
    Blogger Jayne Ann Krentz said...

    Welcome to RWQ, Deanna, and thanks for a great blog. As Kate noted, your comments on the "classic" 19th century romance heroes explains why I never liked any of those books.

    I'm definitely intrigued now and I intend to pick up a Lady Julia Grey novel asap!

    9:26 AM  
    Anonymous Kim said...

    While I enjoy reading about bad boy heroes, I never liked Mr. Rochester and never considered him hero material. His actions always seemed a bit self-serving to me. There is a best selling historical romance author who I usually like. However, one of her books had the hero acting cruelly for almost the entire book. The HEA epilogue couldn't make up for 300 pages of bad behavior.

    I think that if the hero does some bad things, it must be to right a wrong or he must feel remorseful. Brisbane might thread the ethical needle on occasion, but it's for the greater good. He brings justice to the powerless or voiceless, never for himself. After all, if he didn't have an inner moral compass, he wouldn't have fought his feelings for Julia for so long.

    Anyway, I really am enjoying your Silent series and am looking forward to the forth book.

    9:43 AM  
    Anonymous Kim said...

    I dislike poor grammer, so I should have edited am to I am. I should always proof before hitting send. LOL

    9:46 AM  
    Blogger Jayne Ann Krentz said...

    Test post from Jayne. Please ignore (having Blogger issues here).

    10:50 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Welcome to RWQ Deanna!

    This is an interesting topic. Many people have asked me why I don't like to read "classic" 19th century romances since I read other classics from that time period. Up until now, I never had a good answer. It's nice to know other people dislike them for similar reasons.

    Your books sound interesting and is part of my TBR pile too.

    As for the question, I agree with most of the others in that as long as the hero has his own moral code, etc. the "bad" acts are redeemable.

    Jennifer S.

    10:59 AM  
    Anonymous Lou said...

    Let's see... abuse of women, abuse of animals, and completely self-centered narcissistic cruel behavior would be a definite turn-off! And yes, the gentleman would need to have some sort of code he lived by - a code not including the aforementioned icky stuff.

    2:22 PM  
    Blogger Carroll said...

    I am not a cruel hero fan, but I did love WUTHERING HEIGHTS and JANE EYRE---I think in both of those books there is something that speaks more of a hero and heroine who--I hate to use the word "soulmate" but almost in a Jungian sense--Cathy says at one point in WUTHERING HEIGHTS that Heathcliff is part of her own being--that she is Heathcliff or something to that effect--but life has shaped them far too differently already to stop them from their own selfish and destructive ways---But I think Cathy does come back to haunt Heathcliff, and so I believe the redemption does take place if one believes our souls go on. And the same with Jane Eyre--I think it's the same idea of the soul crying out to the other, which I think happens--I think Jane hears him call out--etc--Maybe I'm being too pretentiously deep, but I always felt that about the Bronte characters.
    With Darcy, though, and i was thinking of MISTRESS OF MELLYN (Victoria Holt) it's also that the heroine is so wonderful or whatever that the hero, who is socially above her and very eligible, cannot help himself but fall in love with her, and what woman doesn't want a man find her so irresistible that he will love he in spite of himself--which is part of the magnetism of Lady Julia and Brisbane--you mention he does something cruel in the upcoming book, I hope he can be redeemed.

    8:31 PM  
    Blogger Carla said...

    Chiming in from Ireland here. Great blog, Deanna. I think there's much to be said for the 'bad boy' who resists doing unspeakable things. That often takes more strength, courage, daring, cleverness and 'bad boy' independence of a more compelling nature. But so much boils down to motivation and how an author pulls off something...

    Thanks again. Now I'm off for another hike in the Irish hills!

    6:53 AM  
    Blogger Stella Cameron said...

    Welcome to Quills, Deanna. Super blog and Lady Julia is obviously a must for me--together with the resident reprobate:)

    Like so many others I can't tolderate cruelty to animals or children--or the helpless in general. But as long as I don't have to deal with those elements I'm a pretty broad-minded reader and I love to be intrigued and sucked in.

    I'm very glad you came by and I'm off to order from Kindle now.

    Cheers, Stella

    8:22 PM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Amber said...

    Hi Deanna,
    Just wanted to say I loved Silent in the Grave and have Silent in the Sanctuary all ready to read as soon as I finish my WIP. The covers of the copies I have are a previous version. These new covers are gorgeous!

    6:28 AM  
    Blogger deanna said...

    So glad you like them, Elizabeth--and glad you're enjoying the series!

    Thanks again for the very warm welcome. It was such a pleasure to spend time here!

    10:36 AM  

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