In celebration of “unlikable” characters

Starling SmallTwo years ago this weekend, we sold Starling to Torquere Press. Erin was in a bar, and I was staring at my spam folder in disbelief (pro-tip: always check your spam folder). At the time, we were too excited to wonder in any specific way about what readers would think of the book.  And even if we had, I think we still would have missed something key. Which is that a lot of people find Alex, one of the book’s heroes, unlikable.

Now, don’t get us wrong, Alex is not easy. When we meet him in Starling, he’s volatile, taciturn, and in way over his head both professionally and personally. And while he grows up and gets a handle on some of those things as the series continues, he’s a difficult person who feels like he’s living a difficult life.

Because Alex is famous. And he doesn’t like it one bit.

Some readers aren’t real comfortable with Alex’s lack of gratitude. And, they’re not wrong. Not just because readers are never wrong (a book is what it is for you), but because Alex is prickly and isn’t particularly enamored of the money and opportunity that come with his unexpected stardom. Frankly, the money makes him hate himself and the opportunities terrify him.

In a world where a lot of us dream about fame, or are at least told that we should, Erin and I have come to totally get why Alex is not everyone’s cup of tea. But the fact remains that we love Alex, because we apparently love the characters labelled “difficult” and “unlikable” in general. Maybe that’s because we’re contrary. Maybe that’s because we’re difficult ourselves; we’re not really sure.

But starting on November 30 and through the holiday season, we’ve decided to bring you a series of guest posts from authors talking about the difficult and beloved characters in their own books.

So if you have a habit of liking the unlikable, or of being a difficult soul yourself, we hope you’ll join us for a diverse assortment of cranky and contrary  heroes and heroines from a romance writers across a range of subgenres because everyone really does deserve a happy ending.

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