Jilly: Slacker Heroes

Slacker heroesWhere do you stand on slacker heroes? I know they’re not everyone’s idea of a good time, but I really enjoy them. They’re a ton of fun to read, because they make a great natural foil for a brilliant, uptight, driven heroine, and they usually turn out to be a kind of latent alpha – they have alpha qualities but require the right conditions (read: the right woman) to light their fire.

I’m starting the New Year with a new story (at last!). I’ve finished Dealing with McKenzie to the best of my ability, so I’m turning my attention to Ian’s younger brother, Cameron. I love Cam. He runs the Kinross Foundation and spends most of his time in Madagascar building schools and clinics, so he’s not exactly lazy, but he lives life on his own terms. He’s bored by money, hates paperwork, never turns his phone on, doesn’t run to a schedule, and yet people make allowances and fix things for him simply because he’s likeable. He needs a wake-up call, and he’s about to get one.

I’ve had Cam in mind for a long time. I wrote the blurb for his book a few days ago, and I’m really excited about it, but I’m not planning to knuckle down and write until the end of January. I’m taking this week to read, dream, think and make notes, and then next weekend I’m flying out to Phoenix to meet up with Kat and Kay. We’re taking a little side trip before our writers’ retreat with the other 8L at Justine’s place (and Michaeline via Skype), where I’m hoping to brainstorm my story a little.

I’m getting myself in the mood by re-reading my favorite slacker hero romances.

I’m half-way through Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, from her Carsington series. It’s set in Egypt, with a brilliant, bluestocking heroine and a gorgeous, cheerful blockhead of a hero. Daphne, the brainy heroine, lays down the ground rules: she’ll do the problem-solving, and Rupert will obey orders and provide the muscle. Of course things don’t go to plan, and watching Daphne and Rupert become an unstoppable team is pure joy.

When I’m done with Daphne and Rupert, I’m going to read probably my favorite Jenny Crusie book – Anyone But You. I love this book. The hero, Alex, is a slacker by the standards of his ridiculously over-achieving family of surgeons and consultants. He’s a doctor who works in the E.R. because he has a low boredom threshold and he enjoys the unpredictability. He’s unambitious, commitment-phobic, and ludicrously laid-back, to the despair of his pushy family and materialistic girlfriends. He’s not weak. He knows what he wants, and he’s not giving an inch. He’s also smart, funny, kind and ridiculously sexy. Very fun hero.

Jenny also has Jake, the hero of Manhunting, who won the rat-race and has now sworn off ambition, and Phin, the reluctant mayor in Welcome To Temptation. Very likely I’ll revisit those, too.

I can’t think of any others, and I really need some new reading material. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

24 thoughts on “Jilly: Slacker Heroes

  1. Congratulations on finishing the book and starting the new one! So much fun to begin a new idea. I have one book I can recommend with a beta hero—“Once a Dreamer” by Candice Hern, a historical writer. This book, part of a trilogy about the publication of a magazine, pits the romantic male advice columnist, who writes purple prose and romantic poetry, against the female pragmatist. There’s a road trip!

    • Thanks, Kay – very exciting to begin a new idea. I wish I could bottle the feeling of excitement and optimism to revisit later, when the shiny has worn off 🙂

      ‘Once a Dreamer’ – oho, catnip alert; this sounds fabulous, and Candice Hern is a new author to me as well. Thank you! I know what I’ll be doing this afternoon!

  2. Oh my gosh, I just realized I’ve never read Anyone But You. I thought I’d read everything of Jenny’s. True confession: till I signed up at McDaniel, I’d only ever read Faking It. That was enough to tell me she was the professor/mentor I’d been looking for.After that, I read everything she wrote, or thought I did.

    You’ve just given me the antidote to the mid-January blahs. Off to make Jeff Bezos even richer….

    • Oh, good! It’s short and wonderful, a very atypical category romance from back in the day, when Jenny wrote for Harlequin. And if you’ve overlooked her category novels, there’s Charlie All Night, too. With another gorgeous slacker hero. Charlie. Love him.

      • I bought Once A Dreamer and I’m loving the writing. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be buying more Candice Hern, too – more $$ for Jeff!!

      • Oooo! I’m listening to Heyer through Audible (on account of my long kiddie commute). I’m listening to Venetia right now, and have plowed through Lady of Quality, Frederica, A Civil Contract, The quiet Gentleman, The Corinthian, Black Sheep, and The Unknown Ajax. There are several more Heyer I’ve already read.

        My favorite of the Audible bunch is The Unknown Ajax. It helped that Daniel Philpot, the narrator, did an AMAZING job at the voices. Each is unique. After awhile, I never even heard the dialogue attributions.

        Venetia is turning out to be quite fun. Dammeril (I’m probably spelling his name wrong) is a great character. He’s completely bowling her over. I can’t wait to finish it!

  3. (-: Excellent work, Jilly.

    Let’s see — this isn’t a book, but a women’s journey movie, and (spoiler) the guy isn’t really the slacker he seems. But, How to Marry a Millionaire might be a fun way to spend a couple of hours. (IIRC, Lauren Bacall’s darling is the guy I’m talkiing about. Also stars Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.)

    Georgette Heyer has a few slacker heroes, if you needed reminding. Cotillion’s Freddy is totally devoted to being cool and easygoing.

    From what you’ve told us, Cam isn’t really a slacker. He’s just got a passion for something other than money. His match is going to have to want (or come to want) an alternative lifestyle, herself.

    You may want to look into successful missionary love stories. What kind of woman marries an altruist? It’s a very interesting question (-:.

    • How To Marry A Millionaire – thank you! I’ll treat myself to that.

      I don’t think I’d call Freddy a slacker. I’d label him a beta – kind, polite and easygoing. I tend to think of slackers as latent alphas, and they’re usually jolted out of slackerness and at least part-way into alpha-ness by the end of the story.

      Cam’s not exactly a slacker, but he’s definitely not fulfilling his potential. It’s not even so much that he has a passion for the Foundation. He drifted into it, he enjoys it, and it suits him – he’s solving problems, making people feel good, meeting his family’s expectations, but picking and choosing all the bits that he enjoys and leaving other people to deal with the bits he doesn’t like. Mary couldn’t look less like the candidate for an alternative lifestyle – I’m going to have a lot of fun with that. I’m smiling just thinking about it 🙂 .

      • Oh, that puts a whole new perspective on things. My daughter is just coming into her adulthood, and one big problem is that there’s a lot she’s good at, but nothing she has a strong passion for (or maybe she’s afraid the passion won’t make any money, or that she’ll be good enough). It would be so easy for her to drift into something she enjoys and makes people happy, but that doesn’t consume her.

        And is being consumed by a passion such a great thing? Hemingway may have fulfilled his potential, but he was a miserable alcoholic. (Unless, of course, he was meant to be happy doing something else . . . IDK.)

        Anyway, just idle chatter here. Sounds like your Girls have a plan (-:.

  4. I am so happy for you Jilly – you so deserve the excitement of starting a new story.

    I love slacker heroes and Mr Impossible is one of my favourite ever romances but right now I am coming up blank on any new ones to recommend- there must be some so I’m looking forward to seeing recommendations from others.

    • Hi, Rachel, and Happy New Year! Hope you managed to have a good, hassle-free Christmas and that you’re all settled into your new house.

      I just bought Kay’s recommendation Once A Dreamer – that’s my treat for today, and I’m looking forward to discovering a new-to-me author.

      • Happy New Year back to you (or should that be Happy I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Almost-mid-January!). Interested to see how you get on with Candice Hern – I started reading one of hers and didn’t like it much (but can’t remember why!).

        Have a great trip out to to the States for your Winter Retreat – let’s definitely meet for that coffee when you get back so I can hear all about it 🙂

    • You know, I immediately thought he is not a slacker. He’s not an alpha but I don’t think he’s a beta either. He’s something else entirely. Hmmm. He’s not lazy and he never puts himself first. He’s a smart guy and he’s mentally strong, but his entire focus is to empower Aislinn. Maybe it helps that I have read the rest of the series, and he turns out to be a very interesting and powerful character. What do you think?

    • I don’t know if we see enough of Seth to tell if he’s a slacker or not. He’s laid-back. He may be a lone-wolf type, but it seems that the kids do have a community of geeks. And he does seem to be the alpha since they gather at his place, and he has the power to kick them out.

      But is he fulfilling his potential? Hard to say. He’s young. Isn’t he a T-shirt silk screener?

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