Day 10 Connie Brockway – In Praise of the Gentleman Hero

 If I Have to Hear Voices

The problem with coming in at the middle of this wonderful month of celebrating romance is that everything worth saying has already been said; Romance novels are uplifting, transportive, and inspiring. They celebrate and titillate, invoking Songbirdlaughter and tears and everything in between.  They educate, illuminate, inspire and provoke.  Yup. I agree.

So, instead of repeating what others have so eloquently done, I’ve decided to share my particular passion: The Gentleman Hero.

This year, at the Romance Writers of America’s 2014 convention in San Antonio, I met a pair of authors who write edgy, dark urban romances with a paranormal vibe. We got into a debate about what the essential characteristics a hero needed to make our collective livers quiver.

Me: “He needs to be able to discreetly shoot his cuffs.”

Them: “He needs to know how to shoot.”

Me: “He has a rapier wit.”

Them: “He has a broad sword.”

Me: “He only wears bespoke from  a Seville Row tailor,” I receive blank stares and scurry to add, “but no one needs to enhance his shoulders.”

Them: “Ohhhh. You’re talking about jackets! And as for shoulders, if they’re so great, why cover them up? A bunch of serious ink and nuthin’ else.”

At which point, I stare blankly.

Now, while I can appreciate a Harley riding hunk and a set of pectorals that you could serve drinks off, to me a hero is only as good as his word(s). A hero can look delicious, move like warm wax sliding down the edge of a blade, have a violent, uber-sexy back story and be willing to walk through hell to be by my heroine side but if he isn’t articulate, masterful and gallant, I’m not interested. Give me a man who, as one character remarks about the protagonist in my manuscript-in-progress, “is that perfect combination of complete self-confidence without a single shred of self-conceit.”

I love a hero who risk his own happiness for a good cause, values another’s heart over his own, and is bound to a code of honor as well as civility.

Like every good author I know, I write what I want to read, and try to bring to life the characters who haunt my imagination, pestering me to give them a story late at night. Which is another reason I suppose that I love gentlemen heroes, because if I have to hear voices, it’s pretty swell that they sound like Alan Rickman.

What’s your favorite hero archetype?


JT Geissinger — Night Prowler series

Julia London — Homecoming Ranch (Read Julia’s RARM ’13 content here.)

Connie Brockway photoQuestions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

Answer to all three is the same: Became a mother.

BUT in the spirit of empty-nesting I’ll also add tiger fish fishing on the Zambeze River.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I wrote a romance when I was in first grade. It was way ahead of it’s time, being a cross-species love story between a squirrel and a chipmunk. The die was cast.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life.

Easy, peasy! ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHIN. Not only did it introduce me to a whole new world and new culture, but the adventure held me riveted while inspiring me with the ideas about independence, co-existing with nature, self-reliance and pride.

Connie is generously giving away three sets of her Montlake regency trilogy that starts with PROMISE ME HEAVEN, then ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT and ends in NO PLACE FOR A DAME  — 3 full paper sets + 1 audiobook per set. Two lucky U.S. readers (entry below) and one international winner (enter here).

BrockwayConnie’s early years are shrouded in mystery. What we do know is sketchy and incomplete but will be presented here in lieu of another way to fill space. Brockway claims to be a native of either Minnesota or New York. Neither has been confirmed. She also claims to be thirty-two. No one has even bothered looking into this.

We do know she was attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota when she became involved with medical student, David Brockway. At some point they apparently legalized the relationship because when next she surfaces, she is sporting a new surname and a daughter.

A decade of relative anonymity ensues– except for the infamous alien encounter photographs which have, of course, now been debunked. No substantiated records occur until 1994 when Brockway published her first book, PROMISE ME HEAVEN. Since then she has written over twenty full-length novels and anthology stories, bringing the current number of her books in print to over 1,500,000 published in thirteen countries.

Brockway has twice received coveted Publishers Weekly starred reviews and unqualified recommendations from Library Journal, as well as two starred reviews from the Library Journals organ, BOOKLIST. Her 2004 title, My Seduction was named one of 2004s top ten romance by that same industry magazine.

An eight time finalist for Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award, Brockway has twice been its recipient, first in 1998 for My Dearest Enemy and in 2002 for The Bridal Season. Her books regularly appear on national and regional bestseller lists and are frequent Doubleday/Literary Guild selections.

Today Connie lives in Minnesota with her husband David, a family physician, and two spoiled mutts.

Buy Connie’s Books:

 availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

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  • Kathy Nye

    My favorite are gentlemen heros also. You described them perfectly.

  • angryreader

    I have always known that I loved Brockway’s books. Now I know why…we share a penchant for the sophisticated, erudite hero…and for the sound of Alan Rickman’s voice. No wonder such fantasy men make US melt like hot wax!

  • Judy Goodnight

    Yes, yes, yes! I’ll take one of those gentlemen heroes any day. Please & thank you. 🙂

  • cheryl c.

    I like them all…beta, alpha, etc. I guess I am easy. 😉

  • Anna

    Gentlemen heroes all the way! 🙂

  • May

    Oooh.. I love all through the night.

  • Dana Shoulders

    I always *love* the heroes in your books but never quite realized it was because they were gentlemen. There is just something about the way they put the heroine above their own needs that makes you think if they were transported to the future they wouldn’t complain about having to wash the dishes :).

  • Deb Hinshaw

    I agree that a hero can look just as sexy in a suit as in a pair of Levis and polo shirt. I think that if you think a man is sexy, he will be sexy in whatever he is wearing. Sexiest of all, though, is a man who is a gentleman. I love that my husband still holds my hand and opens doors for me. That’s my kind of hero!
    Thanks for posting today, Connie.

  • Glenda

    It doesn’t matter how sexy a hero is physically if he doesn’t have the personality and style to go with the looks!

    Love your bio. 🙂

  • Katrina Wreggelsworth

    Could yoiu send me a gentleman please!! I desperately need one!!

  • Fern Martin

    I really enjoy your books. The characters bring out the most interesting things in each other.

  • ki pha

    Hi Connie, I definitely agree. If the hero doesn’t have a voice and personality then he’s just like everyone else who’s passing by in a story. He can wear anything and still be sexy even with a patch over one eye, a scar on his cheek, burn marks on his hand, or a hobble to his walk. If he has a story to go with his life and a personality to challenge all the obstacles to get to the heroine then he’ll be dangerously sexy to me.

  • Erica H

    I like both types of heroes. It depends on my mood.

  • Sara Underhill

    A nicely dressed gentleman is my favorite type of hero to read about. 🙂

  • rebecca moe

    Definitely a gentleman hero!

    Great post–thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Emmel

    Yes, finding someone who is a gentleman in spirit is what makes him a possible group, in real life as well as in books!

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Can we use the best friend as an archetype? I am a sucker for friends to lovers romances.

  • Janie

    I’m currently reading “A Dangerous Man.” It’s my first book by Connie.

  • Mary Jo Putney

    Connie—ROFL about your conversation with the dark urban fantasy authors in San Antonio. You know which side I come down on. *G*

  • Kim

    I like a hero that’s a bit arrogant at first, but the heroine soon deflates his ego.

  • Tammy H

    I love gentlemen heroes.

  • alisha woods

    Don’t remember many books from school, but Island of the Blue Dolphins is one we read

  • Debbie Oxier


  • Quinn Fforde

    I completely agree! Not into tattoos and crime. I need a hero I can respect. Great post! (And the bio is worth reading, too!)

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I’m not a fan of those inked guys. I’ll take a gentleman hero over a tattoed hero anyday. Loved your essay. Thank you for sharing.

  • Patty Vasquez

    Your heroes combine the best of rapier wit, physical presence, and unquestioning love for their heroines. I especially like Harry Braxton, although he doesn’t get his clothes from a Seville Row tailor. He does, however, have one of THE BEST lines ever when describing Desdemona: “You are my country, Desdemona… My Egypt. My hot, harrowing desert and my cool, verdant Nile, infinitely lovely and unfathomable and sustaining.” All of the sentences leading up to this are pretty terrific, too!

  • Julie

    I love your books. Thank you for sharing your talent.

  • Cindy A

    A “real” man or gentleman does not NEED to show off his body (until the bedroom scene, when the heroine is duly appreciative). He can take all comers with his wit first, or rapier if need.

  • Marcy Shuler

    I’m a big fan of gentlemen heroes, whether they’re alpha, beta or tattooed. He has to be smart enough to drop his guard and be the man he is inside with his heroine.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I love a gentleman hero, too. Georgette Heyer wrote my first book heroes, and most of them epitomized the gentleman hero. I want my heroes to be kind, honorable, confident, protective, smart, and have a
    sense of humor.

  • Connie Brockway

    HI all! I’m in Ireland where data roming charges apply and being the frugal lass I am only post where free wifi is available. It’s available this morning! So glad you agree about my love of a gent hero! I’m a sucker for a man who doesn’t think of himself first!

  • Cay Scheumack

    Gentleman hero please maybe thats why I don’t enjoy paranormal

  • Sue G.

    I agree! I love my smart, quirky sense of humor hubby. I love talking with him. I don’t think I could be married to someone who wasn’t a good speaker.

  • Kathleen O

    I will take a gentleman hero everytime…

  • Martha B

    Oh, dear. I’ve been thinking about this for at least a day (what do I look for in a hero) but I am stumped….

    It isn’t about his body (only). That gets my interest. What sustains it and keeps me reading is his heart for _________________ (fill in the blank). A cause greater than his own desires, needs and wants. It can’t be just about him. His woman (or what SHE wants) gets me every time. A sensitive soul but one who isn’t a sap. Do you know what I mean? He is heroic because he meets out justice. I know it isn’t real that Jack Bauer saves the world in 24 hours but I want them to be like that. Larger than life, competent and humble. They just are (without a fan club) capable and do the right thing (in words and action).

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I like a gentleman hero, but I have to say that I have a special spot for the dark, brooding heroes as well. I’m a “fixer” by nature so I seem to be drawn toward the heroes with a little bit of extra baggage that need a strong heroine to help them heal. And of course rapier wit is a must…you have to be able to have a scintillating conversational partner 🙂 Great essay for mid month on RARM and I’m a huge fan of your books!

  • Pam

    “. . .because if I have to hear voices, it’s pretty swell that they sound like Alan Rickman.”

    YES! I often read the hero’s lines with Alan Rickman’s voice in my head. Or that of Benedict Cumberbatch. 🙂

  • Stephanie M.

    Absolutely agree! Love all those heroes. 🙂

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for recommending Island of the Blue Dolphin. I read it as an adult when my son read it in 4th grade and was enthralled by the story.

  • mariannewestrich

    You are so right … intelligence is sooooo sexy!

  • Donna

    Definitely love a gentleman hero, but more specifically, I love the beta hero. Great post! Thanks for the give away, and for taking time out from your writing to post.

  • Diane Sallans

    those are all excellent points about characteristics of a hero

  • Ann Mettert

    I love your bio!! 😉
    Gentlemen heroes are great.

  • Pamby50

    Yes I have found my hero. He makes me laugh & smile. We have the best conversations. I know he would go to the wall for me. When I was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease. He went to the physical therapist to see how to do the exercises so that I could come home sooner.

  • Erin F

    I would have loved to have easedropped on that hero discussion 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • Michelle Harlan

    From my perspective, you’ve succeeded in writing characters that haunt the imagination! I read The Other Guy’s Bride last year, and I still dream about the book. It was the first of your books that I ever read & it’s now one of my favorite books!

    As for my favorite hero archetype…I love heroes that are confident, without being boastful, protective without being controlling to the point of suffocation, and they must have a sense of humor (but please don’t use it to be cruel).

  • Adaffern

    I’m drawn to the strong & broody gentlemen.

  • Gretchen

    Ooohh I haven’t read those yet. I loved the series that included The Passionate One, which was my favorite of the three.

  • Emily Seelye

    I prefer your hero to the nameless “them”