A Man with a Past, by Anne McAllister
Many thanks to Amy for inviting me to come play …er, blog … at I HEART PRESENTS today. It”s always fun to visit with you guys and talk about writing and, particularly, about Presents books.
My own which is out this month, THE VIRGIN”S PROPOSITION, is my first venture into writing about “royalty” and I had such fun with Anny — or Princess Adriana — who was trying to be herself while she dealt with the demands of her royal position.
And I discovered that when you write about someone with as many demands on her life as a princess, you need a particularly strong hero to hold his own. Demetrios Savas was just such a man. On the surface he appeared to be one of Hollywood”s “golden” boys — the ones who have all the looks, charm, talent, drive and success, the ones for whom nothing ever goes wrong.
Only for Demetrios it has. Everyone thinks that what went wrong is the tragic death of his gorgeous talented actress wife three years ago. Only Demetrios knows that the real wrong began when he married her in the first place. That marriage colored his world, his outlook on life, his hopes and dreams for the future.
He was definitely “a man with a past” when Anny met him.
And Anny, like everyone else, thought she knew what drove him only to discover she had a lot to learn.
That”s the thing about men with a past. They keep it hidden. They are often the “wounded heroes” Annie West wrote about so eloquently in her blog piece in July. These men don”t wear their hearts on their sleeves. Kate Walker has said that very often these men don”t have the emotional vocabulary to give voice to what they feel. I agree. But I also think that sometimes they simply don”t want to. They are self-contained, silent men because talking has never solved anything.
They are motivated to do what they do, but they don”t bother to tell anyone else why they”re doing it. It”s no one else”s business, they reason. They need no one else”s approbation. It”s enough that they know that they are doing the right thing.
However driven they are, and however incommunicado about their feelings, Presents heroes Do The Right Thing. They do the honorable thing. It might not always be in their own best interests, but they do it anyway, because someone else”s good (usually the heroine”s) is more important to them than anything else.
All well and good, unless you happen to be the heroine dealing with a hero like this. Then you want to strangle him — or at the very least knock some sense into his head. Mostly, though, you want to reach him on a level no else else can. You want him to open up so you can understand what on earth is making him behave this way.
Certainly Anny wanted to know why Demetrios was determined to walk out of her life, when any fool — even she — could see that he loved her.
A man with a past! Sheesh. What can you do with him?
Well, if you”re a Presents heroine like Anny, you can love him unconditionally. When he behaves honorably, you can trust him. And you can be there for him — so that he dares to trust you. You can be honest with your feelings so eventually he might learn how to be honest with his — and share them with you. Then, with luck, he will have learned to hope and dream and believe in a future with a happily ever after — with you.
Men with pasts make great heroes because they have internal conflicts, issues to overcome. Their battles are not only with outside circumstances or even with the heroine, but also with themselves. They grow as a result of this battle. They change. They find new depths, they develop new inner resources. They learn that the past is past — that it”s a part of who they are, but not the whole. They learn that they are so much more than that, that they have so much more to give — and receive.
And when they — and their heroines — finally get to the happily ever after stage, they have earned it.
Who are some of the most memorable “men with pasts” you”ve encountered?