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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Friday, May 27, 2011

I-Team Heroes Poll

Marc Hunter when Sophie meets him in prison (subtract leather jacket and shades)

We’re down to the last 24 hours of my latest poll, and I have no trouble predicting that Marc Hunter will be the big winner.

I am really surprised. I’ve been saying that all week. No matter how many votes came in, the spread remained basically the same. I really expected Julian or Zach to lead, followed by Marc, then Gabe, then Reece.

Reece Sheridan

I knew that Reece, lacking the über-alpha law enforcement personality, would come in behind the others. That's okay. He’s very secure in his manhood and understands. But I truly thought that Darcangelo — aka Dark Angel, aka Dorkangelo, aka Dickangelo — would come in first. He seems to get so much attention.

Zach McBride

I talked with some of you about this on Marie Force’s blog — the inner war of an author over which of her characters she hopes is most popular. Here’s how it goes.

A Writer’s Internal Monologue

“I hope they vote for Zach! If they do, it means they loved his story and that I wrote him well. Yes, I hope they vote for Zach! The book has been really popular, so they must all love him. Maybe my agent is right that my writing is getting better.

“Except that... if they vote for Zach, does that mean all the other heroes are crap and that those books stunk? Maybe the book were awful and no one could really bring herself to tell me that. Oh, God, they can’t all vote for Zach!
Did they love none of the others? Did Marc’s sacrifice and Gabe’s great loss mean nothing to them? What about the sucky-swirly thing?

“But what if they don’t vote for Zach? OMG! That will mean Breaking Point was meh and he was the Navy SEAL girly-man of romance novels. It means I’ll have written the only un-sexy Navy SEAL in U.S. history!”


And so it goes.

I’ve actually talked about this with people at work. Yes, they know the poll is going on. Most of them haven’t read the books — no reason they should — and don’t know Dickangelo from a hole in the ground. But they sure know what I think...

So here’s one theory for Marc’s success:

The poignancy of Unlawful Contact was built strongly upon the very real concept that Sophie and Marc had no future. Their time together was limited. The story could only end in one of two ways — either Marc dies in a hail of bullets or he’s locked away in prison. That heightened both the suspense and the sexual tension and gave each and every scene a sense of desperation. The fact that Marc is willing to hold a gun to Sophie’s head and the swagger with which he goes on the run makes him a bad boy — not a pretend bad boy who seems menacing but is just a fuzzy kitty cat. He actually does some bad stuff. But he does it for reasons we understand.

That’s my theory.


Julian Darcangelo

Julian is... well, he’s Julian, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that he comes in No. 2. Perhaps the gap between him and Marc is wider than I imagined, but he is indisputably No. 2.

And Zach... Well, he’s No. 3 with Gabe not far behind him at No. 4.

Gabe Rossiter

And Reece is exactly where I knew he’d be.

So the silly part of this poll is that very few of you wanted to vote for one hero. I got lots of messages about the unfairness of having to choose one. Sorry, but that’s how this one went. And it was revealing.

Someone asked me if this will influence my future I-Team stories. Knowing what I know, will this impact the kind of heroes I write?

Yes, and then again no.

I can’t write a series of novels about guys who break out of prison or who are convicts on the run. That would get old fast, and I don’t like repeating myself. Plus, after five or so escapes, our entire prison system would be overhauled.

BUT I do know you love the I-Team heroes. Even if Marc is in the lead, every one of them got some love and some campaign support. No one took off his pants to find himself alone.

I wrote Marc when I was pining for Julian. I had such a hard time putting Julian behind me. All I could think was, “I'll never be able to top Julian. Ever.” So I decided I would have to forget the idea of writing a hero who was somehow BETTER than Julian and instead focus on telling a story that was special in its own way. Its hero and heroine would be unique, too. And that way, maybe, I could write a hero equal to Julian.

So that’s what I try to do, and that’s what I’ll keep doing — trying to write characters, both heroes and heroines, you can love for who they are. And I’ll try to stop the monologue in my head.

In the meantime, please enjoy your long weekend. Memorial Day is about real heroes, men and women who gave their lives in service to their country. I hope we all take time amid bike rides and barbecues to remember them — and the loved ones they left behind.


12 comments:

This is the hardest poll EVER, Pamela! Well, I just finished Gabe's book and about 30 pages into Zach's and I can't choose! This is going to give me a headache!

And btw, delicious pictures! I love the one of Marc especially!

Enjoy your weekend!

Ann

Hi, Ann — I'm so glad you're enjoying the stories. And I'm glad it's a tough choice. I don't want to give you a headache, but, as you can tell from my "inner monologue," I DO like knowing that the heroes all feel worthy.

Thanks so much! You enjoy yours as well. I'm going to spend mine writing.

I really take my hats off to you and other authors who come up with unique characters for each of their stories and not have storyboards that are too similar. With Holly in the pipeline and she's a fashion journalist ... I'd like to see how her story pans out. In the mean time, I'm looking forward to Connor's story :)Have a great weekend Pamela!

Mary G said...

OMG - love the internal monologue LOL. What you said was perfect. They are different - none of them better, even if you have a fave.

My internal monologue every time this comes up, if that's okay:

OMG, how can I pick one? Marc is special - he was my first. But the other guys were terrific too. Will Pamela think the other books aren't as good if I'm Team Marc? Is it fair that Reece's job isn't as sexy? Is it fair that Julian has the sexiest name? Gabe lost his leg. Does he get extra points?
Julian almost lost a thumb but no extra points there. Zach looks like Jed Hill and his is up to his belly button. Huge points there.
But Marc was in jail for 6 years.

And so it goes.

RitaSV said...

Well, it was definitely difficult to choose but the difficulty for me was between Marc and Zach. After some real waffling I decided on Marc. Zach is unbelievably appealing...his story is practically neck and neck with Unlawful Contact in my view. I kind of see the situation different as a reader. You write such darn delectable heroes that a girl can't reasonably be expected to choose between them. Mary G is absolutely right...

KayH. said...

Hi Pamela, I think you are way to hard on yourself. Even if we all have our "special" hero doesn't mean the other stories aren't just as great as the one our hero is in.
Of course I voted for Gabe but....who said it last Fri. "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."
All your stories are Fantastic ! That's why I keep saying "Keep them coming...PLEASE."

Aggie said...

Oh Pamela, Pamela !! Boy did I chuckle reading your internal monologue ... Do I soothe you by telling you not to be so hard on yourself? Do I soothe you by telling you that your readers loved all your books - even though they may have a fav hero/heroine ? HELL NO ! All i can say is SUFFER! Cos I suffered having to choose ONE Hero !! How could I choose? Reece is such a sexy alpha.. I still shudder thinking of the sexy snow scene & how he circled Kara before they had hot sex..lol ! His honesty & integrity blows me away. Julian is portrayed as such a bad boy hard ass but deep down.. a heart of gold! Oh how can I forget that he's half Italian.. Which half Tessa asks.. Lmao! But the thing that stays in my mind? Little boy lost with a cruel pimp for a dad & little Julian drawing pictures for his dads girls... And the beautiful scene where he finally feels 'clean' cos of Tessa - Wow! Now Marc? In my dreams, my first time was exactly how he took Sophie - how can you not fall in love with him? What he endured for his baby sister but my heart string moment was him falling to his knees in front of a very pregnant Sophie... Again, Wow! As for Gabe - yummy! Loved his & Kat's beautiful story. Zac & Nat's story nearly stopped my heart many a times! OMG! Hot Hot And so scary in so many scenes ... Loved Zac too !! So Pamela.. If you are now thinking WTF? this girl has given me her life story.. Blah blah - again suffer for making me suffer in only being able to choose ONE hero!!! As all our heroes and heroines were all as good as each other in their own unique quirky way ! So there ! Hugs & kisses Aggie

Doreen said...

Hi Pamela. The thing about making a choice with your books is that in many ways we don't do the choosing, the books and their heroes choose us! All the men are the stuff that our fantasies are made of...even Reece! When I read your books I lose myself in the story and become very much attached to them. Gabe and Kat's story did that the most for me. Zach's and Marc's did too.
But Gabe chose me! Don't you just love it!!
As a teacher of young children I try to honor the sacrifices of our service men and women with a small lesson about Memorial Day and what it means to us as Americans. Many of my students come from military families and have parents who are currently deployed overseas. My little ones really do have first hand knowledge about what it takes to keep us safe and free. Of course they're all excited because the pool is opening too! I just love em! Have a great weekend!

Hi, Mei Ling — Thanks so much. I really appreciate that.

Yes, Holly's story will be a bit different because she's not an investigative reporter. She certainly did not sign on for any kind of scary, near-death adventure.

You have a great weekend, too!

Hi, Mary G — It sounds like we have a similar internal dilemma. Well, that's comforting. I feel better. :-)

Hi, Rita — Thanks for explaining your vote. What amazes me is how you all remember the details of the stories and what the heroes did and said and so on. Maybe that's because of the I-Team Reading Challenge. Not sure. But it's very gratifying to know you don't read them, toss the book aside and then say, 'What was that about?'

Hi, Aggie — You made me laugh out loud. Haha! So I guess that thanks to my silly poll we just had to suffer — in different but related ways. I love your recount of the stories. Like I said, I'm so amazed people remember them in detail. Thanks for the hugs. Back at you. XO

Hi, Doreen — Gabe chose you. That's pretty cool. I'd never thought of it like that. :-)

I bet it's tough for little kids to have mommy or daddy far away and to be wondering what might be happening. That's a high price to pay.

Jess said...

Hi Pamela!
I love all your heroes, A LOT. I'll always put Marc just a teeny tiny bit ahead of the others simply because he was the first hero I met. Doesn't mean I don't the others big time, but he was my first...gotta go with him :)

Have a great Holiday weekend!
~Jess

(That picture of Marc, holy hell. That man is delicious.)

Hi, Jess — Isn't that photo scrumptious? I tore that out of a magazine at the hair salon. I had just started the book, and I saw it and thought, "OMG! That's Marc!" The hair, the beard, the bad-boy vibe.

My stylist said, "Are you tearing that out of my magazine?" And I said, "Yep." He laughed. (My stylist is a guy, and he rocks.)

You can see it was folded by the crease. I scanned it at home. Anyway, he's so damned hot.

I think a lot of readers stick with their first. There's just something special about our first time, isn't there? ;-)

You have a great weekend, too!

This is an extremely hard choice...but it's Marc for me too. I know you've said before that you thought that Zach was your most heroic hero that you've ever written, and he is heroic, but I think that Marc and Gabe (with both of their sacrifices) may be just as much if not even a teeny tiny bit more. I just love Marc!

ALL of your heroes are heroic...even Reece. I personally love Reece because he is so normal and SOOOO sexy! His book remains my favorite of them even though my fav hero is Marc (his book is my 2nd fav).

It's so hard to choose favorites because unlike other series that I've read by other authors, each book (while the same world) is so different and the writing so outstandingly exceptional which is why I think people have a hard time choosing. There are so many different things to love about each one that it makes it an impossible dilemma.

Maybe you should have a poll about favorite aspects or parts about each book? But then you probably already know most of those from your recent chats.

If I had to, I could choose, but it wouldn't be easy. And I might change my mind a few times
: )

The whole series is fabulous! LOL I had to laugh at Mary G's internal dialogue because I could so relate to it!

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