My six-year-old daughter came to me last Friday and asked me how old she had to be before she could get married. My first response was 65! But I caught myself at the last minute and explained that there wasn’t a specific age, but there were certain criteria she and her prospective spouse had to meet before they could marry. As I hit third gear in my dissertation she interrupted and told me she “couldn’t remember all that”. Chagrined—because there were some serious nuggets of wisdom in there!—we broke it down to four things she must have without fail before she became someone’s wife: GLEE
After I explained to her that education is what she learns in school, not a song she heard a lady sing on TV (don’t ask, I have no clue what she meant by that or where she got it), we had the acronym down. It’s a very simplified equation because, of course, there are waaaay more variables. But I figure the ones like, Check out his father and see what he will look like in twenty years, or Make sure he has good credit, or even, Have your cousin the cop run a criminal background check should wait for when she’s older.
In writing romance novels, unless it’s an inspirational, we don’t tend to have God as a central feature of the story (the screams of Oh God! Oh God! don’t count!). But the other three…most definitely. Especially employment. For me, a hero’s job factors in to whether I’ll pick up a book or not. It tells me a lot about the character without even opening the book. My personal taste runs toward alpha men, not beta. So I’ll read a book about a wounded Marine quicker than a story with a professor as the hero—unless he’s really a kick-ass Marine masquerading as a professor to infiltrate the university whose Humanities Department happens to be a stealth training ground for terrorists with evil ambitions of ruling the world! *Evil cackle* Okay…got carried away.
For instance, a multi-millionaire businessman would have to possess an element of ruthlessness along with his scary intelligence. And if he’s a bachelor—in a romance novel of course he is!—he would also be cynical and careful not to wear his heart on his sleeve because there are people and women who would use him for what he has instead of love and accept him for the man he is. Or another favorite of mine is the artist. I love a musician, a painter—or tattoo artist—or an author. They can be broody, dominant, single-minded, talented, focused. And see-xxx-yy. To be a success in such competitive fields requires determination and grit. But there’s also the innate sensitivity that makes them who they are—that enables them to create beauty. And what about the warrior. Sigh. Whether he’s wrapped in a kilt, clothed in leather or has the Molotov Cocktail of human and leopard DNA, a warrior is a J-O-B that screams confidence, sacrifice, strength, mercilessness, protective.
So those are just a few of my favorite W-2 earners…well the warrior doesn’t have one but he should! What are some of yours?