Tuesday, May 13, 2014

J.L. (Janet) Greger Shows How to Make a Guy Romantic

J.L. and her dog, Bug
JL Greger is no longer a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; instead she’s putting tidbits of science and romance into her medical thrillers/ mysteries - Ignore the PainComing Flu, and Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight. She and Bug, her Japanese Chin dog, live in the Southwest. Her website is at http://www.jlgreger.com. Her blog JL Greger’s Bugs is at http://www.jlgregerblog.blogspot.com.

What makes a guy romantic in a novel?

The covers of old romance novels suggest that tall men with large chests and wavy hair are sexy, but that’s a cliché. No self-respecting author wants that label for her hero or her novel.

How can authors avoid clichés?
Look to reality, of course. Don’t tell about appearances but show actions.

An article in Huff Press for Women (January 27, 014) listed “the most attractive things that men do.” (Don’t you love reading the results of all those silly surveys? I do.) I turned this bit of “reality” into suggestions for developing a romantic male character in a novel of any genre.

1. Show the hero being kind to pets or strangers at least twice in the novel.
2. Make your lead male character be thoughtful in practical ways to the heroine. Doing a load of laundry without being asked is a romantic gesture.
3. Give your man a sense of humor about himself. Let him have a crooked smile or weird laugh.
4. Show the character participating in and talking about his interests and work with enthusiasm and knowledge. Dumb hunks aren’t attractive to most readers anymore.
5. Have the hero listen to women.
6. Describe the hero looking at the heroine, with something besides lust. This is especially effective if other attractive women are present.
7. Let your hero have at least one irrational fear or love. Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes; your hero could have an uncontrollable taste for chocolate.

The next points from the survey are a bit silly, but I suspect could spice up the image of a romantic male character.
8. Have your man roll up his shirtsleeves and work. Sweating biceps certainly worked for many movie “bad boys.”
9. Have a male character cook.
10. Have the male character hug the heroine from behind instead of kissing her.

Have fun developing interesting heroes.
Ultimately, if the male characters you develop are interesting to you, they probably will also be attractive and romantic to others.

About J.L. (Janet) Greger's Novel
In Ignore the Pain, Sara Almquist couldn’t say no when invited to be the epidemiologist on a public health mission to assess children’s health in Bolivia. Soon someone from her past in New Mexico is chasing her through the Witches’ Market of La Paz and trying to trap her at the silver mines of Potosí. Unfortunately, she can’t trust her new colleagues, especially the unsavory but sexy Xave Zack, because any one of them might be under the control of the coca industry in Bolivia. And coca is everywhere in Bolivia.

Sara and Xave will travel to Cuba in a fourth novel, called Malignancy. Oak Tree Press will be publishing this novel in the fall of 2014.

Amazon Buy Links for J.L. Greger's Novels:

Ignore the Pain (paperback):http://amzn.com/1610091310
Coming Flu (paperback): http://amzn.com/1610090985
Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight (paperback): http://amzn.com/1610090624

Please leave a comment to welcome J.L. (Janet) Greger to Sweet Not Spicy.


  1. Thank you Morgan for hosting me. I expect many readers could add a lot of interesting ideas to my list. Hope so.
    JL Greger

  2. I'm so glad to have you here at Sweet Not Spicy, Janet. You've got some great ideas about romanticizing heroes!

  3. You have described my ideal hero perfectly, Janet! Thank you!

  4. Great ideas. Finding a lost pathetic dog is a winner. I clearly recall the beginning of one romance novel from years back--the guy in the beat-up, outdated, dirty pick-up found a wet filthy stray dog on the highway and picked it up. Kept it, too. Turns out the hero was wealthy--he had some problem about showing off his wealth. Another one I recall was the hero braiding his little girl's hair--he was a widower. This is fun! Glad to meet you, Janet.

  5. Thanks for the comments. When I read the rather silly poll in Huff News on "What women want," I knew with a bit of thought I could turn it into interesting ideas for writers. Now I've got to take my own advice.

  6. Wonderful tips for that romantic lead character, Janet! I agree with them, rather than the "Fabian" look-alikes. And I love the title Murder; A New Way to Lose Weight!

  7. Thanks Heidiwriter. Now we just need a guy to write a parallel blog on what makes a woman character romantic (not sexy) to male readers. Hopefully kindness and thoughtfulness would be key features.