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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Give me a bad boy any day of the week.

I have to admit I have always been slightly attracted to “bad boys” in books, movies and sometimes real life. I dated a string of full-time bad boys before I met and settled down with my good boy. Of course, my husband was a reformed bad boy, which made him perfect for me. I never really thought about what attracts women to villianesque heroes in real life, books and movies until I recently went to see the Foo Fighters in concert, www.foofighters.com

They just happen to be my favorite band, and they are led by the quintessential bad boy Dave Grohl. Dave’s a hard rocker with long hair and tattoos to boot. Yesterday, I got into a conversation with my hairdresser, who also loves the Foo Fighters. We, of course, talked about their incredible music, but we also got on the topic of “bad boys.” We both agreed that we think of “bad boys” as mysteries and what’s exciting is to think you may be the only woman able to solve the puzzle.

I really started contemplating my own heroes that I write in my novels. When I write, I tend to gravitate to creating a hero who lives on the edge of danger and needs a bit of redeeming but definitely has the potential to be redeemed. I’m about to embark on writing my third novel in my Rakes Undone Trilogy, and my hero in this novel is a first class “bad boy”.

What makes a bad boy and why do we women love them? I’m going to hit on five major points, though there are many more. Bad boys have:

A troubled past – There’s something in their past that has shaped who they are. It’s up to the heroine in the story to somehow figure out what is the ‘dark secret’ in her heroes life and what she must do to help him overcome the dark secret. What woman doesn’t love to ‘fix things’, especially fix a man.

World-weary, jaded- The “bad boy” has seen it all, done it all, experienced it all-until they meet the heroine and really fall in love. This is new for them. This has never been done, and this great love can give them a completely new view of the world. Things are no longer the same-old-same-old.

Burdened by a secret guilt or sorrow – The “bad boy’s” troubled past is troubled because there’s a secret or sorrow bringing him down. It’s up to the heroine to show the bad boy he can confront his secret or sorrow and overcome it with her love.

Mysterious, magnetic and charismatic – There is something about the “bad boy” that draws the heroine to him. “Bad boys” fight the idea of “true love” believing they are not worthy to be loved by a woman so good, which makes them like a magnet for the woman they fall in love with. The heroine in the only person who can show the fallen hero that he is worthy to be loved.

Power of seduction and sexual attraction – They are experts in bed and out, but what really attracts the woman is when the “bad boy” start to care more about her pleasure than their own. They can take a woman to heights never before dreamed of or reached.

Now, my new hero Sin is going to be a Byronic Villain hero. Sin is dark, brooding, aristocratic, secretive, conflicted and of course, handsome. It’s up to my heroine, Audrey, to unscramble the pieces of the “bad boy” puzzle and make this man worthy of her love.

Do you like “bad boys”? If so, who is your favorite “bad boy” hero?

Julie Johnstone
The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. Love bad boys. My husband was the modern day version of a rake when I met him. Then he fell in love.

  2. I'm a mixed bag. I love a good bad boy as much as, if not more, than the next girl. But I'm also a sucker for the good guy.

    Still, in a lot of ways, I think the bad boys can be more fun to write. They do things that my good guys would never in a million years do, and that can create all sorts of insanity for my heroines to handle.

    And Dave Grohl...sigh...

  3. I LOVE bad boys! They are my favorite heroes to read. I think it's so funny, but my husband was also a "bad boy" when I met him. He rolls his eyes, but every time we get his family together, someone always comments that it was me that "saved" him and set him on the path he is on today. (Which is not true! I just helped, by not wanting to date a guy who didn't have his "stuff" togther, lol!):D

  4. Julie, I too love "bad boys" in books. I'm not so fond of them in real life, and by "real life" I mean the ones I actually know. ;) I think of public figures like Dave Grohl as fiction... sure they're REAL - but not in my life, so they might as well be fiction. ;) I'm sure that made sense to only me. LOL

    BUT in books - I love to write "bad boys". They are often more fun. They don't have to be gentlemen. So they can say and/or do anything. Whenever I'm writing a "good boy" it takes effort to keep him on the straight and narrow.

    I think a lot of people are like that. I can't tell you the number of emails I've gotten from fans asking when I'll write the Marquess of Haversham's book. (Probably my baddest "bad boy" who has been a secondary character.) And only * one * about Viscount Carraway, a very good boy with a troubled past. Both were introduced in the same book, but it's Haversham who has resonated with my readers. There's just something about bad boys that writers like to write and readers like to read.

    I should publicly thank Catherine Gayle for helping me figure out how to deal with my current "good boy". Her suggestion has breathed new life into my very honorable and heroic hero. So - Thanks, Catherine!!

  5. Catherine,
    That's exactly my point! Bad boys can be sooo much fun!

  6. Olivia,
    Maybe you should write your and your husband's story!

  7. Ava,
    Having just finished one of your AMAZING books, I can say that Haversham stuck in my head and heart. He is exactly the kind of bad boy I love to read about because underneath all his Byronic behavior there's a streak of good only the right woman can bring out!

  8. Ava, that made perfect sense to me. I love the bad boys like Dave Grohl, because in my alternate reality/fantasy life, they are fictional characters. And I think I may have just revealed too much. LOL. But I'm glad that I helped you with your good guy! Woo hoo! I don't even remember what I suggested, but I'm glad it is helping. (I have fun writing good guys, too, particularly when I can have a bad boy around to influence them into doing bad boy sorts of things...)

  9. Can't wait to read about Sin :)!!! Love all your bad boy characters so far! ...hmm not quite there on Dave, yet, maybe one day I'll see the light. But, LOVE the bad boys. Especially a reformed one. Some of my fav bad boy characters that come to mind immediately are Anne Stuart's - Ice series.

  10. Julie,

    I think Sin's story will be great! I'm lucky to have gotten a sneak peek at him in your last story. And Audrey is so funny.