Cowboys versus Vampires… it sounds like one of those cheesy old horror movies, doesn’t it? Frankenstein meets The Wolfman! The Human Fly meets The Orkin Guy!
No, we’re not going to stage a fight to the death with fangs and six-guns this morning. I just got to wondering how such different types of men ended up being two of the most popular heroes in romance fiction. What do men in chaps and Stetsons have in common with the original Men in Black that makes them both compelling romantic heroes? What do our range-riding boys in Wranglers have in common with the creatures of the night?
Well, for starters, they’re both grumpy.
You can call it strong and silent, you can call it impenetrable and mysterious, but many romantic heroes are downright disagreeable when they first come on the scene. Vampires are dark and deadly. Cowboys are quiet and laconic, hinting at hidden depths and secret torments. Then again, if romance novels are your guide to men, you could apparently say the same about all the Greek tycoons and Saudi princes out there.
Call me crazy, but there’s something about an antisocial guy, especially when he softens up for the right woman. And if that “right woman” is you—well. It’s like having a big, mean dog that won’t let anyone else pet him, or galloping off on a horse no one else can ride.
And when that big strong man faces danger, it makes him even more appealing. Whether your cowboy’s milieu is the rodeo arena or the ranch, he risks getting stomped by a bull, bucked off by a horse, or shot by a gunslinger. And vampires inhabit the night—which is dangerous by definition. In either case, a good hero has plenty of opportunities to face danger and triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.
But most important, both vampires and cowboys live in a unique world where special skills are required for survival. Cowboys conquer the wide-open spaces. They need to know how to rope and ride, and how to nurture the land and care for animals. Meanwhile, most romance-novel vampires could qualify for advanced degrees in bloodsucking, evading pitchfork-wielding villagers, and even flying. Two very different worlds, but both specialized and unknown to the average Joe –or the average Jane.
Of course, Jane might be a cowgirl or a vampire herself—but I love fish-out-of-water stories where an everyday gal hooks up with a dark, mysterious, night-dwelling stranger, or a lattes-and-stilettos city girl finds herself in the Wild West and tames herself a handsome Wild Westerner.
As a reader, I always identify with the heroine—so when the hero welcomes her into his strange and challenging world, I get to go there, too. Frankly, I like sunshine and wide-open spaces, so the cowboy wins my heart every time. But I know a lot of women prefer to spend their evenings with those dark, handsome vampires.
How about you? Cowboys or vampires? Or do you favor a different breed of hero?
A copy of Joanne's lastest releasae ONE FINE COWBOY will be sent to two lucky commenters. Please include email addresses along with your comments so the winners can be contacted. **Available for only US and Canada residents.
ONE FINE COWBOY BY JOANNE KENNEDY
IN STORES – SEPTEMBER 2010
He’s got a way with horses…and with women...
Nate Shawcross is perfectly content to spend his days training wild horses. So when a beautiful greenhorn unexpectedly shows up for a seminar from the famous “Horse Whisperer” of Wyoming, all Nate wants to do is send her packing…
The last thing she expects is a lesson in romance…
Graduate student Charlie Banks came to the ranch to learn about horse communication, but when she meets the ruggedly handsome cowboy, she starts to fantasize about another connection entirely…
Nate needs to stay focused if he’s going to save his ranch from foreclosure, but he can’t help being distracted by the brainy and breathtakingly sexy Charlie. Could it be that after all this time Nate has finally found the one woman who can tame his wild heart?
About the Author
Joanne Kennedy has worked in bookstores all her life in positions from bookseller to buyer. A member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, she won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second in the Heart of the Rockies contest. Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/.