Thinking Like a Man! I have too…
By Bronwen Evans
Often, both male and female writers find it difficult to write characters of the opposite sex. Can I get inside a man’s head and understand how he views a certain situation? Do I know what he’d think, feel and say? You try it – it’s hard. Well, hard if you want to sound authentic. You might understand your partner because you’ve known them for a long time, but what about when you were first dating?
Romance writing, because it’s often about deep emotions means you really do have to get inside a man’s head. Add in the fact I’m a historical author, so I have to get into the head of a man in the Regency era, and you’ll begin to understand my problem.
I have to keep reminding myself that men talk differently, they are usually more precise. They tend to use short and sharp sentences and they definitely don’t go on about the weather, or what clothes they’re wearing. They also tend to hide their emotions. No crying on the best friends shoulder.
My hero, Henry St. Giles, Earl of Cravenswood, proved especially difficult. He’s a combination of notorious rake but also a softer alpha male. For a change he’s a man who actually wants to fall in love. He wants his soul mate but he’s getting frustrated at how difficult it is to find her.
So why not use a Cinderella story but give it a bit of a twist. Henry has a scandalous, anonymous interlude and the mystery woman drops a very expensive earring. Henry’s clever. Too clever not to follow the clues that lead to her being revealed. So where is the conflict? Well, my heroine thinks Henry’s in love with another woman so she doesn’t wish to be identified. Amy Shipton does everything she can to ensure Henry can’t find her. She’s been compromised, and Henry being the saintly rake that he is, would make her marry him. That’s why the book is called, To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood.
What would he have done to find her? I have him asks his friends, and they’re no help. In fact, one of them, Marcus Danvers from book 2 in the Wicked Wagers Trilogy, decides to play a trick on him. It back fires terribly and leads to all sorts of complications. I have him ask the jewelers – once again he’s given misleading information. Finally when he does learn the truth, I have to make him understand how to woo a woman. He has to convince her that his heart doesn’t belong to another. Being a typical man, seduction is the first thing that springs to mind. And it usually is with men. I’ve asked!
In the book I’m currently writing, Invitation to Passion (March 2013), I’ve got a hero, Richard Craven, who’s been forced to marry his best-friend’s younger sister. He’s always thought of her as a friend. Now he has to take her to bed? I thought about what it would be like to jump into bed with one of my best male friends, and it was off putting to say the least. But I asked my males friends how they’d feel. The first question of course was, “is she hot?” when I said ‘yes, she’s quite beautiful’ they all said they would jump at the chance. Men!!!!! That’s because men tend to react more physically to women. Women do too – we certainly appreciate a hot body, but I like to think we prefer to learn more about what’s underneath before committing.
Anyway here’s a snippet of Henry and Amy’s story to their Happy Ever After…
He’d start the search in his garden. He couldn’t get the feel or response of the woman from last night out of his mind. She’d felt perfect in his arms. Perhaps she’d thought so too. Maybe she’d return to the garden...
He strode from the room, determined to find the answer he sought. As he descended his front steps, his hopes rose when he spied a splash of lavender and white through the foliage. Someone was there. The dress indicated it was a woman. He entered quietly. She could be searching for her earring.
He crept closer, sticking to the grass rather than walking on the gravel path.
As he rounded the bushes, and the fountain came into view, the sight that greeted him saw his senses sharply focus.
Two round globes greeted him. A woman was on her knees, under the bench. The fabric of her white linen dress pulled taut across her plump behind. His arms moved as if to mold his hands to the beckoning sight, and he had to check himself. Hadn’t he molested enough women recently?
She was moving right and left, searching for something. This was his mystery woman. He was sure of it.
He caught a flash of pale skin, raven-black hair, and the scent of citrus. He closed his eyes and breathed deep. Blast. He couldn’t swear it was the same scent as last night. He wished his head didn’t hurt so much, and that he’d not been so drunk. He opened his eyes and cleared his throat.
At the sound, her head rose sharply and smacked the underside of the bench. “Owe!”
The deliciously plump bottom began wiggling as she backed out from under the seat, and Henry’s body reacted immediately. Heat licked at his groin and blood raced south.
She muttered under her breath, twisting to look over her shoulder. Her appalled gaze reached Henry and she froze, eyes widening with shock.
Henry’s shock matched hers, but he hid it under what he hoped was a friendly yet non-threatening manner, in the sense of I’m not about to attack you again kind of way. It was Amy. His neighbor. Please, dear God, don’t let me have molested Amy.
“Have you lost something, Lady Shipton?”
Warm honey colored eyes quickly masked her shock and she seemed fixated on his bandage. “Oh, you’ve hurt yourself.” She gave a little giggle. “Who on earth dressed your wound? It looks as if a child has played doctor with your head.”
“Quite. Thank you for your concern. I had a small accident.”
He watched to see if guilty recognition entered her face, but it remained blank, except for amusement. Irritation stirred. He became more direct.
“In this very garden. Last night, actually.”
Amy looked around anxiously. “You were attacked in your own garden?” She took a step back.
He blanched. Perhaps it wasn’t Amy. He hadn’t meant to frighten her. “Good lord, no. I tripped and fell.”
Of course it couldn’t have been Amy. Surely Amy would have stopped him immediately. A young woman of quality, an innocent young woman would never have allowed such behavior. Her screams would have brought her servants running. Besides, he’d never been attracted to Amy Shipton.
Idiot. How had he not noticed that she was, in fact, very attractive? Perhaps because, as a second son of an Earl, he allowed himself to harbor hopes for a wife who would love him, but he never looked above his station. Never would he have expected to be able to marry the daughter of a Duke. But now.... There was nothing to stop him. Why had he never noticed how appealing his young neighbor was?
He ran a critical eye over the young woman before him. Christ. His mouth watered. She’d grown up.
Her face was pretty enough. Wide forehead, high cheek bones, and warm, honey-brown eyes. But it was the cupid bow lips that drew a man’s gaze. The lips pouted and made a man think wicked thoughts. What he’d love to teach her to do with those lips...
He swept his eyes down and then back up her dainty frame. Her breasts were the right size, enough to fill his hands. She curved in all the right places, in exactly the right proportions. Plenty of flesh to cushion his body. Enough for a man to hold on to. She looked like a woman built for pleasure. His pleasure. Get a grip, man.
She was however, respectably dressed. In fact, the dress more than adequately covered every inch of her, buttoned up to the neck. Yet, every inch of his body reacted to the sight of her. Unusual.
His suspicions were back in play. The last few months his body had been reluctant to feel desire, yet here he was reacting like a stallion scenting a mare, to a properly clothed, respectable, young woman. Why? Did it recognize what he could not?
He repeated his question. “You were looking for something. What have you lost?”
She gathered herself reasonably quickly, yet she wrung her hands. “I apologize for being in your garden, my lord. I don’t want to get into trouble.”
Oh, my God. It was Amy. He fought down his horror at the thought he’d basically molested a virgin. No wonder she didn’t want to discuss what occurred last night. Yet, his mind screamed he’d found her.
“You’re not in trouble, Amy.” First names were appropriate given she would soon be his wife. “Please let me take care of everything.”
She looked at him wide eyed. “You can find Tinkles then?”
His mouth opened and nothing came out. At his look of confusion Amy promptly burst into tears. “I’ve lost Tinkles.”
“My guinea pig.” She dropped to her knees again under the nearest bush. “I let him out in our garden next door and he fled through the gate into your property before I could stop him. I thought I saw him in the daffodils behind the bench. Could you help me look for him?”
The Wicked Wagers Blog Tour runs Monday to Friday for the whole month, and you can WIN copies of all my books and $30 Amazon or B&N gift card (International)... Simply visit each blog post and follow the instructions...
New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?
She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin WON the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a TOP 5 FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012. Look out for her first Entangled Publishing Indulgence release in December 2012, The Reluctant Wife.
Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website www.bronwenevans.com
You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website www.bronwenevans.com
To Challenge The Earl of Cravenswood blurb:
To live happily ever after...
Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soul mate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. When they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way. But a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he's searched for all his life. He just has to find her.
Lady Amy Shipton is determined to marry for love instead of sharing her husband like her mother did. So why did she let her handsome neighbor and romantic fantasy, the Sinful Saint as he's called for his bedroom prowess, seduce her in his garden? And what can she do when in the middle of their passionate encounter; he whispers another woman's name. Now Henry is hunting the owner of the earring Amy left behind, and she's determined to retrieve it before her identity is revealed. She's not about to give her father the ammunition he desperately wants to force her down the aisle.
Read an excerpt: http://www.bronwenevans.com/bronwen-evans-books/cravenswood.html
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