Writing the Tormented Hero by Shana Galen
We all love a tortured hero. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights comes to mind as does the Duke of Jervaulx from Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm. There’s something about these tormented men that makes us, as readers, want to save them. We root for the heroine, hoping her unique qualities will melt the ice around the hero’s heart.
I’ve written many damaged heroes. They’ve felt guilt or remorse, wanted revenge or justice, and felt as though they didn’t deserve to be loved. But I have never written what I would call a tormented hero…until now.
When I first had the idea for the Sons of the Revolution series, it was Armand’s book, The Making of a Gentleman, that initially came to me. I wanted to write a book about a man who’d been lost—imprisoned for twelve years and forgotten after the French Revolution. As the series unfolded, I realized I needed to write Armand’s older brother’s story first. In The Making of a Duchess, Julien discovers Armand tucked away in the garret of a French prison. When he’s rescued, Armand is barely human, unable or unwilling to speak or interact.
That’s where The Making of a Gentleman begins and where my trouble began as well. In theory I loved the idea of the tormented hero, so scarred by his abuse and loneliness in prison that he can no longer speak. He’s little more than a monster and knows it. But as I began to write Armand’s story, I faced a bit of torment myself. How does one write a chapter in the mind of such a tortured soul? How does one make a novel where the hero doesn’t speak for the first few chapters interesting? How does one repair such a man?
In the end, I had to descend into Armand’s suffering in order to better understand him. Could he not speak, or did he refuse? Why did he refuse? What did he fear? And what or who would tempt him to speak again?
Therein lays the mystery in The Making of a Gentleman. As I came to know Armand, and as our heroine Felicity comes to know him, I discovered he has many secrets. Dangerous secrets. Secrets men would and have killed for. It’s no wonder he’s reluctant to speak, especially when his past surfaces again. But as we all know, love is more powerful than fear. Armand cannot resist the charms of Felicity. He wants her more than he wants to save himself. And in the end, he wants to protect her more than anything else.
I love a challenge and writing The Making of a Gentleman definitely took me out of my comfort zone. And perhaps that’s why we love the tortured hero. He forces us to step out of our safe, happy, comfortable world for just a little while. What about you? Are there any tortured heroes you particularly love?
I hope you’ll pick up The Making of a Gentleman. Visit my website at www.shanagalen.com for excerpts and contests.
THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN BY SHANA GALEN—IN STORES OCTOBER 2010
“Galen’s signature sense of humor, expertly blended with deep emotions, will hold readers captive right to the end.”
—RT Book Reviews
“Lively dialogue, breakneck pace and a great sense of fun.”
Twelve years in prison has stripped him of his humanity…
Armand, Comte de Valère has lost the ability to interact with polite society, until his family hires him a beautiful tutor, and he starts to come alive again… Saving him is her only chance to escape a terrible fate…
Felicity Bennett vows she’ll do whatever it takes to help Armand fight back the demons that have held him captive for so long…
With Felicity’s help, Armand begins to heal, until a buried secret threatens to destroy their growing passion…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shana Galen is the author of five Regency historicals, including the Rita-nominated Blackthorne’s Bride. Her books have been sold in Brazil, Russia, and the Netherlands and featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time. Shana is a happily married wife and mother of a daughter and a spoiled cat and lives in Houston, Texas where she is working on the final book in the Brothers of the Revolution series, The Making of a Rogue, which will be in stores in 2011. She loves to hear from readers: visit her website at www.shanagalen.com.