When it comes to romance heroes, certain professions seem to dominate. Warriors, either the historical sort or the modern-day versions (detective, undercover agent, Navy SEALs) are always popular. You can’t lose with a firefighter or a cowboy. There’s a scattering of athletes – thank you, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Lori Foster. And the stray journalist or renegade archeologist. I’m sure I’m leaving out plenty of wonderful heroes (and I’m not even approaching the paranormal world (is werewolf a profession?)
My point is, when I decided to make my most recent hero a fisherman, I had to wonder if I was nuts. Fishermen don’t risk their lives to stop the bad guys. They don’t plunge daringly into jeopardy (although fishing is actually one of the most dangerous professions.) Oilskins, unlike uniforms, don’t make girls faint (unless it’s from the smell.) So what’s heroic about them?
I’ve always had a “thing” for fishermen. They have to be physically tough to handle rough seas and unpredictable weather. They’re independent and self-sufficient, quick-witted and resourceful. When a captain takes his boat out for a fishing trip that could last weeks, he has to know how to fix everything on that boat. If the electronics break down, he has to know how to survive without them. Fishermen know how to cook for themselves, entertain themselves, and get along with other people in close quarters. Most fishermen I know are fantastic cooks. If you’ve never had fresh tuna wrapped in foil with herbs and cooked on an engine manifold … well, it’s bliss. Many play music or do some kind of craft that helps pass the long hours waiting for fish. I know a lobsterman who could have been a professional flutist. And another who knits the most gorgeous sweaters you ever saw.
Wait, a hero who knits? Bear with me here. Fishermen think for themselves, live by their own lights, make their own way in the world. They tell it like it is, roll with the punches, live with the constant risk of injury or death. Many have traveled the world. They’re great storytellers (another skill honed by hours at sea.) Working so close to nature at her most dangerous gives them a raw, bone-deep appreciation for life.Besides, they’re hot.
Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s kinda sexy.So here’s to unconventional heroes. If you’d like to meet Dustin MacDougal, my unconventional fisherman hero, he can be found in “Doll,” available now from Samhain Publishing.
What’s your favorite kind of unconventional hero? Are there any unusual professions you’d like to see in a romance novel?