There’s just something we ladies can’t resist about bad boys. Think of Han Solo and his irresistible smirk when he tells Princess Lea, “I’m just in it for the money, Lady.” [quoted as well as I remember] You want to be angry with him for being so self-serving, but it’s hard to be when he’s so charming and when you know he’ll end up doing what’s right, despite himself.
Han is the perfect symbol of an anti-hero, a term I hadn’t heard until recently on a writing list. What’s the difference between a bad boy and an anti-hero? Easy enough: an anti-hero is the star of the show. Minor characters can be bad boys, but when the main male character is more cowardly than strong, more greedy than giving, and selfish or self-centered instead of … well, instead of being heroic and gentlemanly, he’s an anti-hero. Heroes can also be bad boys in some ways but still follow most of the heroic characteristics of strength, compassion, kindness, self-sacrifice, and being in control of themselves and their surroundings.
I have an anti-hero. In all fairness, I have more than one. Alan in “Finishing Touches” has some anti-hero qualities since he hits on Jenna while he’s married. Evan in “Rehearsal” stands back and refuses to tell Susie how he feels instead of fighting for her. Even Duncan from “Rehearsal”, who my female readers tend to spar over, has self-esteem issues, which is said to be an anti-hero quality. I’m not so sure about that one, as most heroes I read have at least a touch of that and it makes them more human and lovable.
My next main male character, coming in November, is a true anti-hero, though. Here’s the blurb (in progress, changes may occur):
"Riveting" Ryan Reynauld has immersed himself in a world of
music, parties, and acquaintances who ask nothing of him.
Having risen to the top of the pop charts, his biggest concern
is objecting to the way his music is produced, until he finds a young woman standing on a window ledge. Against the advice of everyone
he trusts, and through media attacks and fan threats, Ryan
determines to care for her himself, making a promise that
threatens to destroy his career.
Convincing the skittish girl she can learn to trust again comes
with a steep price. Sometimes the path to recovery comes
from first allowing your world to implode.
Ryan likes to joke with those around him about his self-importance and arrogance. He knows he is and shows no remorse for being so. He calls his attitude “what got him this far” in the face of loss and bullying during his childhood. He’s also not your typical hunk; he scorns himself for being rather short and not well-built. He depends on his security team and especially his security chief/friend to pull him out of the scrapes he likes to get himself into. And he has a well-known reputation with female fans.
Still, he has redeeming qualities. He’s good at his job. He’s hard-working, writes beautiful lyrics, and he’s loyal to his musicians. His niece and nephew adore him. And when Kaitlyn comes to the end of what she can handle, he steps in to be her hero, at his own cost.
Comparisons have been made between anti-heroes and villains as possibly the same thing except villains are subordinate characters. In romances, with the necessary HEA, an anti-hero must also be redeemable, while villains often aren’t.
What do you think? Do you have any favorite anti-heroes from literature or film? Is there much difference between a hero with bad boy qualities and anti-heroes? I have to say I’m intrigued as to what readers will think of Ryan, my first full-out anti-hero, also the only POV character of the novel.
As I haven’t officially started promo on this book yet, this is a first showing of the cover. Yes, you’re seeing it here first!