Last Chance Llama Ranch, the newest book from author Hilary Fields released last week, and Hilary has stopped by EverAfter to talk about looking deeper than the first glance and how it relates to not only her book, but to her real life experience as well! Take it away Hilary!
I grew up on romance novels with hunky models on the cover and heroes who had “piercing eyes,” “rippling muscles,” and “oozed sensuality.” From the time I was twelve, I believed the ideal guy was supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous, a soap-opera star or Playgirl pin-up. Yet I have to say, in my own experience, the men I’ve fallen hardest for haven’t been the most handsome by objective standards. No, they’ve been the ones who have the most forceful, fascinating personalities—whether they antagonize me or mesmerize me in that first moment.
Now, I like a strong physique and a piercing stare as much as any woman, but when I wrote LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH, I decided to challenge the stereotypes a little and take a more playful (and perhaps realistic) view of what makes a good hero.
When my heroine Merry first meets Sam Cassidy in LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH, all she can see is a sour, unkempt mountain man—who, for whatever reason, seems to absolutely loathe her! Though she rhapsodizes about him to her blog readers as a hunky Marlboro Man, in her real estimation, he’s more of a “haystack sporting a scowl.” It’s only over time that her eyes come to see what her heart unconsciously knows from the get-go: he’s the one for her.
So why do we sometimes find ourselves smitten by a guy when we can’t stand the sight of him?
There are times when an otherwise intriguing fella might be going through a rough patch. Maybe he’s distracted at work, or had a bad romantic experience (we all love the wounded, brooding type, right?), or he’s otherwise unavailable. Yet whether you’re put off initially by a scowl or a hideous holiday sweater, you find yourself anything but indifferent. Instead, you’re inexplicably drawn in… there’s something there you can sense; a connection at gut level, a kindred spirit or soul mate that transcends surface circumstances.
Sometimes the problem has to do with your own issues, prejudices, or bad experiences. Lots of things can color your initial impression of a guy. Yet we’ve all heard stories of couples married fifty years that begin, “I hated him on sight!” What matters is that you find yourself coming back to him, over and over, because there’s just something there.
In matters of love, timing, receptiveness, and maturity all come into play, along with a little (okay, a whole lot of) luck. I think in the end what we’re all looking for is our match, our foil, the one who dares us to become our best self. So, just as I’m not simply some swooning, buxom maiden (okay, I actually am annoyingly buxom), I require a man of complexity, compassion, and heart. Whether he’s a tad short or a little pudgy isn’t important (after all, I am both of those things). What matters is that he challenges and excites me, speaks to me deep down in my soul, just as Sam speaks to Merry in my novel.
Have you ever met a man whose sterling qualities only became apparent when you learned to see with “the eyes of the heart?”