Thursday, October 2, 2014

Writing Cheating Heroes

Greetings folks! Instead of the muse, I’ve decided to talk about something that affects all authors everywhere when it comes to their craft; writing characters who aren’t faithful to their spouses and or partners.

Let’s go back a ways when I decided to write my latest book, Something About Jayden. When developing the story, I did a lot to make the characters believable and relatable. Jayden Demario, a foster child, is a college intern looking for his first big break in the advertising world. Because of his past history with his stepfather, he isn’t too hip on the holidays and his upbringing in a rough neighborhood forces him to stay somewhat closeted. My other character, Isaac Bridges is a successful advertising executive who is also in the closet and married to his best friend; a woman he’s known for years named Debra. The two of them are in this setup for convenience but have the understanding that once the other finds love, they’ll separate. Notice Isaac’s character bio; married and in the closet which means he’ll try to cultivate a relationship with Jayden during the course of the story.

I knew this would be difficult to pull off from the get go and that many might not want to read it because of the cheating hero. Still, being the author who likes to write what they want and take risks, I did it anyway because it was a story I’d still read.

No question, cheating is most likely the biggest no no in romance. Seemingly not a lot of people enjoy stories about someone who leaves their significant for another regardless of the situation but like many other things in fiction, this too is part of reality. A grim one but definitely something humans face in the real world. It’s a very touchy subject but in my opinion, we as authors, especially when it comes to our craft should be willing to take risks. I don’t write for the money, I write because I love it.

Another case in point is Michael’s book, I Love it Rough. In this one, my main character Frankie finds another man he works with very attractive. From the few reviews I’ve gotten, this turned off some people but truthfully my character reacted to frustration with his current lover Kajika and because of this his eyes wandered to another man.

Like Jayden, I knew this might have an effect on the book but in Rough, it isn’t part of the main character’s make-up. Really, Frankie’s infidelity is the build up for the next book between the man he’s lusting after and another so there is reasoning behind the madness. It’s not just for the sake of showing cheating or glorifying it but again, the characters unfaithfulness leads into another part of the storyline. In the case of Rough it builds a bridge to the next book and creates more tension; something I love to do.

So what’s my point here? Cheating isn’t pretty. It isn’t something people like to hear about, read about, or experience but it’s a part of life. In no way shape or form am I trying to make you, the reader, change your mind about books if it’s part of the storyline. You read what makes you comfortable and happy which is fine.
However, a lot of authors like to push the envelope, because reading happy go lucky Jenna and Brian or Bill and Nate isn’t always fun to write. We like some angst, we like the drama and the cheating definitely adds something to the storyline.

Many publishers don’t even want the element in their books because they want their stories to be HEA or HFN and they know how readers feel about infidelity. Few others allow us the freedom to write what comes in our heads and if we self-pub, like I did with Rough, we write whatever satisfies our creativity.

I’m proud of how both books turned out and if I have a cheating MC I won’t hesitate to write him or her again. Not because I’m insensitive to people or want to glorify the ugliness, I like telling stories that push the boundaries and break the normal romance mold. 

Blurb -

You can never tell a book by it’s cover!

On the surface, Isaac Bridges has it all; wealth, a beautiful wife, and a successful career. But deep down, he desires Denton & Associates back under his family’s name and a male lover he can call his own.

Enter Jayden Demario, a handsome college student looking to make a career in advertising. Underneath the pretty exterior, Jayden is a very damaged young man. Thrown out on the streets by his stepfather at 15, Jayden’s only concern is to make something of himself to move his “madre” from the tough neighborhood.

Jayden has no time for love, especially not with a closeted married man who runs the company he interns at and Isaac can ill afford to out himself to the homophobic CEO at Denton.

Will the sparks between the two men cost them their livelihood?




Long excerpt

“Hang on the mistletoe, I’m gonna get to know you better…” This Christmas sounded over the iPod dock, and Isaac sung along with the recording while he decorated. He draped red garland around one part of the tree and green on the other, determined to get the tree done before going to Debra’s mom’s house for dinner.
Isaac always enjoyed this time of year, picking out a tree and decorating it like he had as a child. If only his parents were around to celebrate the joyous occasion with him.
Since neither he nor Debra took pleasure in cooking, they relied on Debra’s mother’s meals to sustain them. Both only prepared food when absolutely necessary, and with this being Saturday, they would usually order out.
“Hey, babes, you ready…” Debra stopped on the stairs and crossed her arms. “Thought you said you wanted to wait to decorate the tree until after we got back?”
“Eh, I decided to do it now to get it out the way. You didn’t even say you liked this white tree. We’ve never had one this color, so…”
“I do like it, and I did wanna help decorate but since you took up the duties, less work I have to do.” Debra skipped down the rest of the steps and flopped into a nearby recliner.
“Okay, good, so you do like it. And yeah, you can sit and watch, I suppose. I love doing this kind of stuff.”
“I know. You’re like a living Santa Claus.” Debra crossed her legs and yanked on the hem of her dress. “How do you like my outfit? Prim and proper enough for my folks?”
Isaac took a moment and stretched his neck to look at Debra’s off-white sweater dress that reached her knees. “Yep. You know your mom likes you to dress business casual. Not sure why, but your folks have always been stick-in-the-muds anyhow.”
“Yeah, I know. That’s why I miss your folks, Isaac. They were both a lot of fun. Isaac Sr. and Liola knew how to live it up.”
“Yes they did, which is why I have such a bubbly personality. Isn’t that the main reason you married me?”
“Yep, and to get my nagging parents off my back about getting hitched. This worked out for both of us. Thanks for that.”
Isaac hung two more ornaments on the branches. “Ah, you’re welcome, honey. If I wanted anyone to be my fake wife, it would be you, Mama. Just a few more ornaments will do the trick. You know what they say, less is more.”
“Yep, I do. By the way, are we going to Silas’s New Year’s party? I might have plans that evening.”
“What?” Isaac stopped a moment, shooting a glare in Debra’s direction. “What plans? I thought you loved going to that bash as much as I do?”
“I do, but…someone asked me to go somewhere with him.” Debra clutched her handbag tightly.
“Who? You got a date?” Isaac grinned and continued to decorate the tree. “You didn’t inform me of any relationship prospects, sugar. Who is it?”
“Um… David Sargent.”
Isaac’s eyes bulged, and he lost concentration on what he was doing. “David Sargent? Why, babes? I thought you didn’t trust him, and why the hell are you going out with that character?”
“Well, we’ve been talking, and um…he seems like a really nice guy.”
“C’mon, Debra, he’s a dunce. All the times I’ve talked with that man he seems dumber than a box of rocks. I didn’t know you liked him like that.”
“Well, I didn’t think so either, but lately we’ve been having lunch and getting to know one another.”
“Does he know about our setup?”
“No, not yet. I figure if we get closer, I’ll let him in on it.”
Isaac rolled his eyes and exhaled deeply. “Damn, girl. Didn’t know you were so desperate for a man. I mean, he’s nice looking and all, but…he really hasn’t left a good impression on me.”
“Oh, Isaac, I don’t think you’ve given him enough of a chance. I thought if I went with David, maybe that would give you time to spend with Jayden.”
Isaac drew up his lips. “Oh, now it’s okay to spend time with Jayden. I thought you were dead set against me being with him, Deb. What changed your mind?”
“I just wanna see you happy, and if that means being with the hot youngin’, then so be it. Have you made any progress since Monday?”
Isaac shook his head in disgust. “Nope. He’s clammed up on me again. I think he might be having problems at home. His mother might be in poor health or something. He’s been calling her quite a bit from his cellphone. By the way, the kid needs a new one. I’m thinking of buying him an iPhone, but I need a good excuse to give it to him so he doesn’t suspect anything so quickly.”
“Just call it a Christmas gift. Nothing wrong with that.”
“Oh, so I’m his boss and I’m just gonna buy him an iPhone out of the blue? Perhaps I’ll just settle for a Galaxy. It’s not as expensive, but the kid has a really cheap, outdated phone. I’m sure it doesn’t pick up a good signal.”
“Okay then, whatever you say. So, you’re taking him with you to the party?”
Isaac palmed his chin, thinking of the right way to ask Jayden to tag along. “Yeah, I’ll try at work on Monday. Perhaps he’ll be in a better mood after I give him the gift.”


Tina Donahue said...

It's exceedingly difficult to write characters that aren't faithful but you still love them. Think Don Draper in Mad Men. He's a dog but you still like him. That takes a lot of talent - which you definitely have, Rawiya.

Really enjoyed your excerpt. :)

Fiona McGier said...

I'd prefer to read about a cheating hero versus an alpha, since every alpha I've ever known in real life was a serial cheater. One guy I knew would cheat on the woman he was cheating on his wife with! That's how much of an alpha-hole he was! And it seems you work the cheating into the storyline, as a believable plot point. Go for it!

jean hart stewart said...

I admire your courage in tackling such a difficult subject...great excwepr,,,