Please welcome back an author I am proud to call my friend, Jean Joachim. Jean is sharing with us today her views on cheating in romance novels.
Before we can discuss cheating, let’s define the term. In romance novels, a cheater is someone who violates the rules of a relationship. The hero and heroine or two heroes can be lovers who have made a pact, simply strayed into monogamy or actually gotten married. But if there is a spoken or even unspoken bond that the couple will remain sexually faithful and the hero sleeps with someone else, he is cheating.
Escape from life
Why can’t a hero cheat? Plenty of men do in real life? Why don’t romance publishers want to publish books with cheating heroes? One reason readers flock to romance is to escape from real life. Some romance books are more realistic than others. I write contemporary romance and strive to make them as realistic as possible within the boundaries readers are looking for: faithful heroes and happy endings. That rules out cheating men.
Makes the hero look untrustworthy
Another reason cheating leaves a bad taste in the mouth of a romance reader is that it’s a break of basic trust between the hero, his lover and the reader. A relationship doesn’t work if trust is broken. Once the lover discovers a cheating partner, it’s practically impossible to regain the same level of trust. And if that trust is violated in the bedroom, where else is the lover being dishonest? Suspicion created by cheating taints all aspects of the hero’s life in the mind of his lover and the reader.
Faithful heroes become supermen
Romance readers are the first to admit they love the men in their lives. But those men are flawed, as are all human beings. In romance novels we read about the perfect hero. One aspect that makes him perfect is being sexually faithful to the heroine or significant other. I like to write imperfect heroes, slightly flawed men, but my men are never so flawed they can’t stay faithful to the heroine.
Tarnishes the Lover
Whether the object of desire for our hero is a man or woman, if the hero is cheating it makes his lover look less than wonderful. If he’s off making love to someone else, we tend to think less of his main squeeze. We wonder what’s wrong with him or her. If the SO is painted as irresistible, how come the hero is screwing around? Why does he need someone else if he or she is so great? So his unfaithful behavior taints his lover as well.
The Strength of Love
Hopefully everyone reading our books has experienced true love at some time in their lives. True love is a powerful emotion. It can move mountains, start wars and heal the sick. If our hero and his lover have true love, it should be so strong, so captivating that he is overwhelmed with enormous desire for his lover. This won’t ring true if he is off bed-bouncing with someone else. Their love loses power, credibility if the hero is messing around with someone else. We don’t believe he truly loves the principal man or woman in his life. We think he’s a phony, a liar and we cease to believe the love story.
What do you think? Can a hero be a cheater without losing you, the reader?
Jean Joachim is an author, married, a mother of two boys and owner of a rescued pug named Homer. She lives in New York City. She writes contemporary romance and has ten books published with two more scheduled to be release within the coming months. Jean has one book in the Amazon top 100 listing. She also has seven non-fiction books published. Her bestselling activity books are frequently in the top 25 on Amazon. Jean has been writing non-fiction for over twenty years and fiction for three. Her review column, "Movie Choices for Kids" has been syndicated in weekly and parenting newspapers and on websites for the past twelve years.
Find out more about her books on her website: http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com
Buy links for Now and Forever 3, Blind Love
Barnes & Noble