Confession time: When I’m checking out a new book for my TBR pile, the words “bad boy” suck me in every time. I know that a bad boy character is going to be interesting, not always play by the rules, maybe come from the wrong side of the tracks, and definitely have a colorful past. Don’t get me wrong. I like good guys perfectly fine, especially in real life. But in fiction, I want a guy who’s going to take action, make the wrong choice, cause a stir, and—above all—melt my panties.
When I started planning The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow series, I had a chance to consider all the ways a guy could get a “bad boy” reputation and whether he deserved the label. In my elementary school, boys who caused fights and talked during class got earmarked as “bad.” When I was in high school, a guy who wore a denim or leather jacket and had long hair earned the “burnout” label, especially if he smelled like cigarette smoke or hung out at the cafeteria table with other guys who dressed like him.
Beyond stereotyping based on looks, sometimes a guy would get marked with the bad boy label based on the actions of a friend or family member, even if he’d had no part any “bad” activities. Zane, the hero of The Bad Boy’s Gift, got his bad boy reputation as a kid, because of his father’s bad reputation. Although he didn’t earn it by doing anything bad, it shaped who he was, how he saw himself and how everyone else treated him. So, when he finally did fight with someone, the blame landed squarely on him.
Of course, a guy could legitimately earn his bad boy reputation from the start with “bad” deed, but even then it is interesting to dig deeper to determine if the incident stemmed from a desire to cause trouble or a desire to do the right thing that somehow went wrong. On the flip side, sometimes a man with a “good guy” reputation is anything but good. Or, he’s mostly good but majorly screws up in one area, making him a bad boy in the eyes of the heroine or maybe even himself, as he struggles with his guilt and regrets.
Writing a series of bad boy heroes has given me a chance to delve into these different aspects of what it means to be a bad boy. Because these guys are heroes, they are intriguing, take-charge, panty-melting men with hearts of gold. Give me more bad boys, please!
Books in The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow series: