Larger than life
Romance heroes and heroines have to be people the readers can root for. Author Cindy Gerard creates heroes and heroines she would want to know: people with integrity and honor who have come through a great deal to be where they are today.
What is the inspiration for your characters?
I just know what type of an individual I want to know, and so therefore I try to emulate that in the books that I write. I want someone with integrity. I want someone with honor. I want someone who I can count on, but I also want to know that that person had to suffer to get to that point, because all of us have to suffer to get to a certain point.
I want a happy ending, but I can’t have a happy ending unless I can root for the people who are involved in it. And if I can’t root for them, then those people aren’t the people that they need to be, so there is a morality issue in there. I think for the uneducated on romance, they assume it’s all about sex, smut sometimes, or something very folksy—and there is all of that. But at the heart of a good novel, and at the heart of a novel that’s going to tap into people’s heartstrings, or whatever, there is—there’s a little morality play in each one. Good has triumphed over evil, whether it’s just someone’s own demon that they have managed to pull away from, or there’s an actual enemy that’s evil and the hero and heroine have to overcome different odds to get to the right end. You want to have that happen, and you want to root for that to happen. I can’t root for someone who I don’t feel has integrity.
My books are all character driven, and they’re just there. Of course they’ll grow, and they’ll develop, and I find things out about them that I didn’t know, but for the most part, every story comes from the character, so I have a pretty good idea basically about who the hero or the heroine is going to be in each book. I draw from friends, from family, even my mother was this sweet little person who would never hurt a soul, but she was tough as nails when she had to be, and I like to think that I got a little backbone from her. And again, I try to emulate people who I would want to know.
My husband is in every one of them just because he is that guy. He’s that funny guy with a lot of integrity who will go to the wall for anybody without question, without fail, you know? That’s just him. He makes me laugh, he makes me furious [laughs], but I know he’s there, and he’s got my back. There’s nothing that man would not do for his family. And so that’s the backbone of all the people I deal with, although some of my heroes don’t know that about themselves when they start. Sometimes they think it’s all about them. Sometimes the heroes just walk onstage and they are so larger than life that I’m thinking, “Where am I going to go with this?” So what I have to do is tear them down [laughs] and then build them back up.