Germs of ideas for romance novels can start in the oddest places. Sometimes, all it takes is the sound of a man’s voice.
Last year, I attended school as well as writing romance. One day, I sat in a bookkeeping class in which all of the students worked independently and quietly. In the hallway outside of my classroom, a bunch of students got excited because one of their teachers, who’d been off on sick leave for surgery, returned to school and joined them in the hall. I couldn’t see them from where I sat and didn’t pay much attention until I heard the teacher speak.
I fell in love with his voice and his gorgeous Aussie accent. There’s something about Aussie men and the way they talk. For the next ten minutes, he delivered a truly hilarious monologue about hospital food and I thought, who is this guy? I want to be in his class.
I didn’t get much bookkeeping done that day because I did little more than listen to what was going on in the hallway.
When I stepped out of class, I got my first glimpse of him and he looked...nice, mild-mannered, unassuming. Bland. Not at all this hunky Aussie wildman I’d pictured. Had I met him in the hallway before I heard him speak, I might have smiled politely and walked on, but after hearing that voice, that sense of humor? I was hooked.
Too bad he was wa-a-ay younger than me, but I know I’ll use him in a future novel. The heroine will fall for the hero before she ever sees him–just by the sound of his voice.
I’m fascinated by the ways in which people fall in love. Sometimes, it’s the sound of a voice…sometimes, the touch of a hand…sometimes a unique scent floating on the wind. You spin quickly to see who it is, and what it is about this person that makes you feel he is already a part of yourself, that you have known him all of your life.
In my first Harlequin Superromance, NO ORDINARY COWBOY, June 2009, my hero Hank, had a rough, sexy voice. He sounded like he drank battery acid for breakfast, but the first time the heroine heard him, shivers ran down her spine.
I loved creating Hank. He isn’t the best-looking man around, but he has a great head of hair, awesome biceps, an amazing voice and a heart as big as his Montana ranch. He’s also a truly decent guy who is courageous enough to bring poor inner-city children who are recovering from cancer to his ranch for a little fun and TLC. They deserve it after all they’ve lived through.
I’ll let you read the book to discover why this took so much courage on his part. I’ll also leave it to you to discover his flaws. Like how stubborn he is…
Hank teaches my heroine, Amy, how to live a courageous life.
As hard as Amy fights her attraction to Hank, at the end of the story she realizes that she had never, ever stood a chance. Within the first few seconds of meeting him, of seeing adoring children climbing all over him, when he opened his mouth and said, in his rough dry sexy voice, “I’m Hank Shelter,” she fell in love.