Fairly early in my career as a would-be author, when I devoured as many how-to books as I could get my hands on, I remember one of those writers - it may have been Mary Wibberley in To Writers with Love - commenting that you could see potential heroines walking down any street, but heroes were a different matter. It's a remark that stayed with me, and one I test out from time to time. It came back to me yesterday when I was spending some time at the university. A lecture had just finished, and the place was full of gorgeous women, in their late teens and early twenties, who could have filled a heroine's shoes with no problem at all - whether they were Nikes, or Manolos.
Outside, in the court yard, I changed my focus to studying the young men.
I tell you, this writing business, and the people watching involved ... Well, it's a hard job, but someone has to do it.
And it was perfectly true - there were athletic young men, attractive young men, young men who looked as if they would be a terrific friend and a lot of fun, but there wasn't one with that dangerous alpha edge that would make him a hero. I suppose that's the key - it's not often that you encounter a certain kind of alpha man that makes the cut as a romantic lead. Which may be one of the reasons why women like to read romance. Sheer escapism.