Monday, November 09, 2009

NZ/Aus Authors: Anna Campbell - Captive of Sin

WINNER: Thanks for a fantastic discussion everyone. Anna has picked her winner, and it's Bronwyn! Bronwyn, please email me your address (nalinisinghwrites AT gmail DOT com), so I can send it through to Anna. Congratulations!

Today, we continue the series of monthly guest posts by authors from my part of the world with the talented Anna Campbell.

She's talking tortured heroes (ooooh) and giving away a copy of her latest release Captive of Sin, which was just named as one of the best mass market releases of 2009 by Publishers Weekly! Please welcome Anna to the blog everyone.


Torture Me Some More!

Hi Nalini! Thanks so much for inviting me to be your guest today to talk about my new historical romance CAPTIVE OF SIN which Avon released on 27th October.

But first, how good is LORD OF SCOUNDRELS? It’s one of my top two or three romances EVAH! I think the Marquess of Dain is one of the best heroes ever written – and we all know how much competition he’s got in that category! If anyone hasn’t read it, run to your nearest bookstore and grab it. You won’t be sorry.

Nalini, am I wrong? LOL!

I read widely across all the romance genres. Basically if the characters draw me in and it’s a good story, I’m there. I don’t care if it’s set on Upsilon Minor, in an alternate reality with vampires, in small-town America (or elsewhere!) or Regency London. But the truth of the matter is I write historicals and here I am hanging out with paranormal gals!

So I started to think about what paranormals and historicals have in common. And something that immediately sprang to mind is a subject dear to my twisted heart – the tortured hero!

The tortured hero has been a staple of the romance genre at least since WUTHERING HEIGHTS and JANE EYRE. And he shows no signs of stopping!

So far, I’ve had four books released and guess what? They all featured a hero who was tortured to a greater or lesser extent – although when I say ‘lesser’, that would probably be the Earl of Erith from TEMPT THE DEVIL and he has an awful lot of emotional baggage, so ‘lesser’ is relative!

Sir Gideon Trevithick in CAPTIVE OF SIN would probably be close to my most tortured guy yet. He returns from a year’s horrific imprisonment in India as a national hero and as
the inheritor (against all expectations) of his family’s estate in Cornwall. But he is haunted by the ghosts of his past and he’s convinced he’ll never lead a normal life. In modern parlance, you’d say he suffered both PTSD and survivor guilt.

When he stumbles across a runaway heiress in a stable, he rashly pledges to help her, unaware that this reckless promise will lead him into a marriage of convenience. But his young bride, Charis, is unwilling to settle for the barren bargain he offers her and she sets out to rescue him from his torment.

Does she succeed? Well, I guess you have to read the book! But believe me, she has a hard road ahead of her and her journey involves tragic secrets and emotional turmoil and sacrifices greater than she ever imagined.

You can read an excerpt here:

And here’s the really cool trailer a friend of mine put together for me as a surprise present:

Anyway, let’s talk tortured heroes! Why do you think readers love them so much? Do you have a favorite tortured hero? My favorite comment wins a signed copy of CAPTIVE OF SIN. Good luck!

Giveaway closes Wednesday 9 a.m. NZ time, so comment away! And please make sure we have some way to contact you if you win.


Nalini Singh said...

Anna, you are not wrong! Dain is an adorable hero - in a mad, bad and dangerous kind of way of course *G*

Anna Campbell said...

Sometimes you read a romance that's so good, it's sinful, don't you? Lord of Scoundrels sure falls into that category! Thanks for having me to visit today, Nalini!

orannia said...

HI Anna & Nalini *waves*

Dain is OK I guess *grin* but I much prefer the Marquess of Brandon from Loretta Chase's Knave's Wager (but I know you know that already Anna because I keep bringing it up :)

Hmmm. So many tortured heroes. Who to choose? I think I'm going to pick Sin, from Kinley MacGregor's Born in Sin. Why? He was unwanted by his mother, despised by his father and stepmother. Sold into slavery while in the Holy Land...tortured, told to kill a king. Oh, and despised, hated and feared. I think that pretty well covers it.

All the best for the release Anna!

Eleni Konstantine said...

Hey Nalini & Anna

Anna - another great post. Totured heroes - poor things what we writers put them through! Why? Mostly I think because we want the heroine to be the only one that can reach them & be the catalyst for their healing. My fave? Zsadist from JR Ward. Here's a vamp who has issues - huge issues but meeting Bella helps him bring some sense of normlity in his life. And changes his perception about deserving pain and accepting love.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Anna! Hi Nalini!

Ahh, the tortured hero. Gideon is the most delicious tortured hero and his journey to the light is so brilliantly done. I think COS is going to be a reader favourite. Kudos to you, Madame Campbell!

The thing I love about Gideon is he doesn't spend time dwelling on his own problems, he's intent on solving Charis's problems for her and that makes him such a wonderful example of the Knight in Shining Armour. Sigh.

Beth said...

Hmm, I better read Lord of Scoundrels. I am almost afraid to say that tortured heros are not my favorite. Yours have been great Anna because your stories, and the chemistry you create are so strong, but overall I am just too sensitive to really enjoy reading about someone who has been truly tortured, men and women alike. I usually skip over those parts. I think my favorite heros are the self-made men who have had to scrap their way to the top and have beaten the odds. Ruthless alphas are particular favorites. That is probably why I like Kylemore the best of your men. I want tension and obstacles and setbacks, but actual torture, not so much.

Bronwyn said...

Hi Anna and Nalini,

Well, Anna, I tried to find COS yesterday but couldn't! I was outraged. I wanted to haul the useless woman at our local Angus and Robertson over the counter and flog her to death with a childrens book (seems that's all they really sell).
Anyway, I have to say I'm not always a fan of the tortured hero. I like my hero's strong and sure and virile! But they have to have some sort of hangup don't they?
The Earl of Erith was my favourite of your hero's so far because he put away pride and hang ups and begged her to marry him and when I say begged, I mean begged! Against all odds, he wanted and he conquered and they lived!
I think this is also why I'm falling in love with Regency Noir. You can do so much more with your characters, give them a black hole filled with endless emotion while still reaching the HEA. And the readers are obviously sucking it all up!
Congrats on the mass market thingy by the way!

Anyway, I'll keep looking :( I hate not being able to get something when I want it!

Have a great day, Ladies!


Mel Teshco said...

Ooh I love a tortured hero, but he's also got to be heroic. I'd probably have to agree with Eleni, JR Ward does fantastic tortured heros.

Anna Campbell said...

Ha ha! Actually the hero of Tempt the Devil is called Julian in honor one particularly delicious (if not particularly tortured!) hero, Orannia! That Kinley MacGregor sounds (for some reason, I typed that as 'wounds' - Freudian slip or what?) really good!

Anna Campbell said...

Eleni, I think you might have hit the nail on the head about that redemption element in a tortured hero and the heroine's love being a major part of the character arc! My poor heroes go through such a bad time - seriously, I think they must have kicked the cat in a former life!

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, I hadn't thought of that aspect of Gideon's character, but you're right. His major concern is looking after Charis, for all the misery he's been through. Self-pity generally isn't a terrifically attractive characteristic in a hero! Thanks for swinging by and saying those lovely things.

Anna Campbell said...

Beth, how interesting that Kylemore is your favorite. I'd say until Gideon (who seems to be hitting a chord with readers), most people's favorite hero of mine would be Matthew although I have to say both Kylemore and Erith have their strong adherents! ;-) Actually it was really interesting writing the hero of my June release. The Earl of Ashcroft in MY RECKLESS SURRENDER isn't tortured at all - well, not until my heroine breaks his heart in the course of the story. You know, when the story starts, he's got a few regrets and a few things he's done differently, like most of us, but tortured, nah.

Anna Campbell said...

Bronwyn, that poor Angus and Robertson lady. I'm sure she'll have it when the Aussie edition hits the stands in the middle of next month - just in time for Christmas! I got a giggle out of your story! Interesting take on tortured heroes. I must say if he's well done, I'll take pretty well any hero ;-) Well, maybe not one who kicks the cat! Snort. Thanks for the PW congrats. I'm stoked!

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Eleni, wanted to say I 100% agree with you about J.R. Ward's heroes. She does tortured heroes so well. I loved Zsadist's story although I think my favorite so far is Rhage. And he was tortured too.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Mel, thanks for swinging by! Another tortured hero fan, I see. I think with a tortured hero, the stakes are automatically pitched really high. You know, will he overcome what's happened to him to a point where he can have a happy ending? I always love that character arc.

Gail Leinweber said...

I'm actually going to pick a non-romance hero for favorite most tortured. Lois McMaster Bujold has a philosophy of asking "What's the worst possible thing I can do to this character?" and then doing it. Miles Vorkosigan has suffered a lot because of this (so have a number of other people he loves), and I love that series to bits.

As much I love Lord of Scoundrels I think my absolute favorite from Chase is Mr. Impossible :)

Karen W. said...

I love tortured heroes, although I'm not sure I've ever analyzed why.

I guess I like to see them overcome the pain and obstacles they've dealt with, just like we have to in real life. It's even sweeter when they get their HEA because they've worked so hard for it!

My favorite tortured hero is Angel from "Buffy" and "Angel." In books, it's Billy Bob in BILLY BOB WALKER GOT MARRIED by Lisa G. Brown.

I've heard wonderful things about CAPTIVE OF SIN, and I have it on my "wish list." :)

jo robertson said...

Hi, Anna and Nalini!

I love tortured heroes, the emotional turmoil, the sense of being haunted by the past, the struggle to throw off demons.

It's ironic, isn't it? I certainly wouldn't want a real-life hero that carried so much baggage! But in my novels? Love it!

Olsonmiki said...

Hi, Anna!

I love a tortured hero, and I admire the writer's ability to create an interesting one. He can't be too angsty, too cruel, too unredeemable.

If I'm going to go with my FAVORITE tortured heroes, I'd have to go with Rochester in Jane Eyre, and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.

Louise Delamore said...

My favorite 'classic' tortured hero would have to be Rochester from Jane Eyre.
I think we love those tortured men because need us. The woman they choose get to see a different side of them than anyone else. The woman is let into their secret heart.

Annie West said...

Hi Nalinia, hi Anna. How beaut to have you both here.

I love a good tortured hero. Maybe it's because we want to know our hero has suffered and DESERVES his good fortune in finding the right woman? Maybe because being tortured but being strong enough to overcome that reveals him to be stronger than the average man?

Anyway, I can vouch for the fact that Gideon is suitably, horribly, wonderfully tortured. The tug between his desires and his honour, his past ghosts and his need for Charis are woven into a terrific story. Yay! Congratulations, Anna. Another terrific story.

Anonymous said...

In a more modern setting, Suzanne Brockmann does a fine job of torturing her heroes. Jimmy Nash is one of her heroes who nearly died and nearly lost the love of his life in the process. Or in a future setting, Linnea Sinclair's Gabriel Sullivan in Shades of Dark is a gifted, sexy, tortured hero who also nearly looses the love of his life through a process of bad choices, but eventually finds redemption. I also have a soft spot for Loretta Chase's Alistair Carsington who never saw himself as a hero and suffered from PTSD.

Anna Campbell said...

Gail, I recently re-read Mr. Impossible for a review and honestly, it's just fabulous, isn't it? I want to marry Rupert! I hope Daphne knows how lucky she is ;-) I haven't read the MV books but a few people have mentioned them to me. They sound great. Thanks for swinging by.

Anna Campbell said...

Karen, that's great that you've heard good things about COS! I didn't watch Buffy or Angel but I must admit I've developed a big old crush on David B from watching Bones. He's just lovely in that. Not really a tortured hero, though! I think you're right about the tortured hero appealing because he has to overcome obstacles so we're automatically on his side from the start.

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, how interesting - it's like the fascination with bad boy heroes. Not sure I'd be quite so keen on one in real life either! Actually I wonder if somehow the fact that love rescues the tortured hero makes the reader believe it's a REALLY powerful love. Just a thought.

Anna Campbell said...

Miki, I love Mr Rochester. I love how the good man struggled against his selfish desires and eventually won out. I think those Brontes did some really great tortured heroes - Heathcliff is another one. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale and it's the one that raises its head in all my books so far! Maybe one day I'll go wild and do Rapunzel ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Louise, what a magnificent analysis of the enduring fascination of the tortured hero. I think you're completely right. Another Rochester fan! Yay! And Jane so deserved her happy ending - she's such a strong heroine. And as you say, she sees into his secret heart. Sigh.

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, what a great analysis of what makes the tortured hero such a stalwart of the romance genre. I think you're right about the fact that he overcomes the effects of his ordeal (whatever it is) indicates that he's a true hero. Yum! Thanks for saying those lovely things about Gid!

Anna Campbell said...

Patty, I love Alastair Carsington - I love the way she describes his voice as this subterranean rumble. She really does a beautiful job of bringing her characters alive. I'll have to check out those tortured heroes you mentioned. I read some of Suzanne Brockman's earlier romantic suspense but I haven't really tested the Navy Seal series yet.

jeanette8042 said...

Awesome post and the excerpt made me want to read even more!

Dora Braden said...

I really enjoyed reading the excerpt from Tempt the Devil on Anna's website. I think Gideon is going to become a favorite tortured hero of mine.
So far my fav' is Anne Gracie's hero from the Stolen Princess, Gabriel Renfrew. He's not terribly dark, however his past suffering makes him determined to ease the suffering of others. I love that. Sounds like Gideon is driven in a similar way.
I love this type of hero because the injustice suffered by the tortured hero make me want to look after him and so I want him to have his heart's desire.

orannia said...

LOL Anna! I love Julian. And no, he wasn't tortured, but I think we can agree he was devious and, yes, delicious *grin*

Anonymous said...

Hi Nalini and Anna!

I think the main reason we love tortured heroes so much is because of that chance of finding the right woman to be at ease with his past. It may be that chance of finding something so right when your world is going to hell in a handbasket.

I'm really pulled between the tortured hero but I love Jake Bannaconni from Burning Wild by Christine Feehan. He was hated by his parents from his earliest memory (somewhere just after birth) and abused because they thought he was "special" although he was. I was hooked from the first line and it was an amazing story.

chichai_hana at hotmail dot com

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Jeanette! Glad the excerpt whetted your appetite.

Anna Campbell said...

Dora, I loved The Stolen Princess. Such a romantic story and Gabe was gorgeous! Great choice. Thanks for checking out the excerpt!

Anna Campbell said...

Orannia, devious and delicious works for me. And I loved the way he became a man of honor almost against his will. That's such a luscious story!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Chichai! I think you're right that the tortured hero appeals to women who love to fix up troubles in other people. I know that element works for me. I love giving my guys a happy ending after all the tragedy and sadness. I have to read that Christine Feehan. It sounds wonderful!

limecello said...

Hi Anna and Nalini :D Loved this post- I love love love the tortured hero. I always feel a little guilty admitting that- and add the caveat that I must be twisty or something - but... I love it when the hero absolutely has to grovel.

I think it's because so often the hero is in some enviable position. He's got the money, title, power, etc. And the heroine generally falls in love first - so I need some sign from the hero that its real and that he *means* it.
Thus, his suffering - it adds a whole new layer. There's his suffering "in general" and then his bumbling around in the relationship. I think the happy ending really is that much more meaningful after he's suffered- he'll appreciate what he's got - and we feel comfortable with that. :) [Ok, so I like the heroes that suffer, yes, but I *especially* like the heroes that have to suffer a bit or grovel to prove their love. If a hero has callously disregarded the heroine's feelings throughout most the book... I want him to sweat not a little, but a *lot* and wonder if he'll ever get another chance.)

Anonymous said...

Anna and Nalini,
My favourtie subject- Tortured heroes! I love, love, love them all.
But oh to chose, and putting Kylemore aside, Liz Carlyle's Keiran Neville in Never Romance a Rake is wonderful because he thinks he's led such a terrible life that he deserves to be dying, yet he still manages to put the heroine first, rescue her, fall in love with her, and make sure she'll be okay when he's gone. Sigh!
Can't wait to read Gideon's story,

Anna Campbell said...

Lime, I too love a good grovel at the end of a book! I don't think we're twisted - although I'm not sure I'd take my word for that, if I were you. Love your take on the tortured hero! Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, I love Liz Carlyle and I haven't read that one. I adore her 'devil' series. Yum, yum, yum. Actually she does a great tortured hero, Suzi. Hey, yeah, and of course there's Kylemore!

Sharon Archer said...

Hi Anna and Nalini

Anna, my heart belongs to Kylemore! In the tortured hero stakes! But Gideon's a very very very close second. He's utterly gorgeous!

I think the appeal of the tortured hero is the thought that one special woman can reach through the darkness of his suffering and bring him the light of love!
(happy sigh)

Great blog! Thanks!

Authorness said...

Hi, Anna and Nalini!

I finished CAPTIVE OF SIN only minutes ago. Ohhh, poor tortured Gideon! His underlying strength was always apparent, but like Charis I wanted to swoop in and save him from the demons.

Congrats on the Publishers Weekly gong! It's very well deserved, my friend.

~ Vanessa

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Nalini and Hi Anna
I love a tortured hero but I don't love a brutish hero. I've just finished reading CAPTIVE OF SIN and I think you have created a hero to love in Gideon. He is so damn noble in spite of his inner demons. He has a worthy heroine in the lovely Charis - she has become my new favorite of your heroines. She is young with her own share of problems but strong and nurturing.
This book deserves all the wonderful reviews it is getting.

Eleni Konstantine said...

Anna, your poor heroes. What you do to them eh? I must admit I can't read a tortured hero in every book, it's just too draining. Hence the rakes are a nice change of pace. Loved Rhage too - though he used humour as a defensive mechanism. So darkness didn't cloud him as it did with Zsadist. That Brotherhood sure has been through a beating. She loves torturing her heroes as much as you do!! :)) Poor Torhment

May said...

Since I already bought "Captive of Sin", please do not include me in the contest.

Speaking of tortured heroes, they are my favorite kind. However, the one I love the most are the characters who do not hide behind their pain and let the past guided their life.

I love Mary Jo Putney's heroes. They are so tortured in several ways. But Robin Andreville from Angel Rogue is my favorite because he still has sense of humor and can laugh even with a heart full of pains.

Shannon said...

I think women readers love tortured heroes because they need to be cared for and taken care of by a stong woman. I personally would love to care for a big, tough, tortured, sexy man with a tortured past, and just love him to the point where he doesn't forget who he is or where he came from, but can accept his past and move on to his future with me and love me with equal or more vigor! (Fantasies are truly fun and wonderful to have, LOL!)

My favorite tortured hero has to be Nykyrian from Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Born of Night." Why? He was abused physically, emotionally, and sexually to such extremes and with such frequency from the time he was abandoned in an orphanage as a child to the time that he became an adult it was amazing that he still had any humanity left in him. Everyone believed that he was nothing but a cold-blooded, ruthless, and merciless assassin for hire and nothing more. All Nykyrian really wanted was to be loved and accepted, not just feared, by just one person even though he believed he wasn't worthy of such things. Then one tiny female dancer showed up in his life, and showed him what he was not only worthy of, but entitled to: unconditional love and acceptance.

Jennifer K. said...

I think part of the appeal of tortured heroes is that you know in a romance that whatever they've been through, no matter how bad, they WILL get a happy ending. I LOVE my happy endings. And it's very satisfying to know that a poor, tortured character who's been through so much will at last find some peace and happiness. You know that if anyone deserves it, it's that character.

Christina said...

Hi Anna!

Historicals were my first love in Romance novels, ever since I cracked open Julie Garwood's The Secret. I think the other aspect historical and paranormal have is a sense of escaping to a world that is filled with wonderful (and perhaps not so wonderful) people.

I think the tortured hero has such appeal because he can still be the hero (swoop in and save the heroine) but the fact he is tortured over something in his past shows his human side, as well (as opposed to the rake of london society, I suppose). I think it reaches out to a lot of us who want to see him healed, and we want to go on the journey (living vicariously through the heroine) of his healing.

I, personally, also enjoy the tortured heroine. I seem to write female leads who have some emotional trauma in their past. Why? Probably the same reason I find tortured heroes so appealing. Because it gives them something they have to gain strength from as they overcome their past.

So, I'll end my ramblings ;) Welcome again Anna!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna!

I think, as a reader, it`s sometimes easier to feel more connected to an tormented instead of an dardevil/galant/dominant hero. You create (subconscious) automatically a deeper feeling for this hero and, of course, you hope he`ll be happy again.

My favourite tortured hero is Zsadist from JR Ward, too. His broken personality, with all his psychic and physical chances/impacts, touches me deeply.

P.S.: Your German covers`re very appealing:-).

Anonymous said...

Tzzzz...sorry...this English..."changes" of course!
@Nalini: Do you plan a FAQ for BoM?
(I fear I`ve questions again:-)).

Anna Campbell said...

Sharon, lovely to see you! Hey, a Kylemore girl! Poor Gideon, he's so good and noble and such a mess. I think that's one of the secret of tortured hero - the one special woman thing. We all like to fantasise that we're that special. ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Vanessa, so glad you got a kick out of Gideon's journey. I really felt sure at the end that they'd be happy together. Thanks so much for swinging by and telling me you'd finished it. Oh, and thanks for the PW congrats. Very happy about that, as you can imagine!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Kandy. Actually it was such a different dynamic writing Charis compared to my other heroines. She's much younger and there's the virginity thing, of course! But she was just readier to love than the other three (well, four if I throw in MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, and why not?). Created a completely different character arc where she somehow had to grow into that love, if that makes sense. I'm so glad you loved old Gid. I had a huge crush on him when I was writing him!

Anna Campbell said...

Eleni, I think J.R. Ward is a great example of how to do a tortured hero, really push the envelope, and somehow still manage to keep that reader sympathy. It was really odd in the last book doing a non-tortured guy! Be interesting to see how people take to him. I thought he was lovely but then I always fall in love with my heroes. That's part of the fun bit of being a romance writer, isn't it?

Anna Campbell said...

May, Mary Jo is a master (mistress?) of writing great tortured heroes. Some of the stuff she puts her guys through? Sheesh! Thanks for picking up COS. Hope you enjoy it!

Una said...

Welcome Ms. Campbell and thank you for being a guest blogger! I've just recently (due to Nalini's fabulous Friday Book Club) started reading historical romances and the few I have read, I have loved! I'm adding your series to my must read list! It sounds fascinating!

I love tortured heros because I am enthralled with the element of redemption in books. Those with the most tortured paths have the sweetest moments of redemption/forgiveness/atonement. Especially those that have had their revenge but still cannot let go of the guilt and pain, forgive themselves of what they had no control over and no fault in and move on. Those that exemplify this that I can think of are Zhadist and Vichous from J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood, Ash and Vane from Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters series, Maddock and Reyes from Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series, and Ian from Jennifer Ashley's The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie.

Anna Campbell said...

Shannon, yes, a fantasy life is indeed a wonderful thing ;-) Love your take on the whole tortured hero vibe and the Kenyon sounds great! Thanks for swinging by!

Anna Campbell said...

Jennifer, I think you're right - it's the whole redemption thing that people love to read in stories. So many fairytales are redemption stories too. There's obviously something in human nature that responds to that particular theme - and why not? We all like to believe that love can heal and hope can triumph and courage will be rewarded. It's one of the reasons I write romance - I love the fact that no matter how bad things get, and in my books, things can get pretty darn bad, there's the possibility of things coming out right at the end. I listen to a lot of classical music when I'm writing and yesterday someone was introducing a Beethoven Symphony as a journey from darkness to light. I think the tortured hero vibe is exactly that and it's a story I never get tired of.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Christina, what an interested take on the whole tortured hero thing. Actually I tend to write tortured heroes too - although there's always someone who's SLIGHTLY more tortured than the other one or else it would just be torture overload, I think ;-) In Tempt the Devil, it was my heroine who had the real journey to make. He'd been through tragedy but she really had been through the wars, if that makes sense. In this one, Charis hasn't had an easy time of it, but definitely Gideon is the more tortured of the two. I also think a knowledge of suffering gives the slightly less tortured person an understanding of what the really tortured person is going through. Clearly I need a torture tape measure ;-)

I also think you're right about the torture giving us a vulnerable side to someone who could just be too powerful and perfect to be sympathetic. You know, great big powerful guy with knowledge of suffering really works!

So glad you're a historical fan! And I think you're right about historicals and paranormals sharing that larger-than-life quality. It's definitely something that appeals to me over both genres.

Anna Campbell said...

Eva, I used to love it when Zsadist sang. Always gave me goosebumps every time it happened. I remember when he sings at the wedding in the first book, I just thought, "Wow, this woman's a genius!" The beauty out of the pain element really worked for me. Aren't the German covers lovely? I'm really delighted that COS and My Reckless Surrender will both be out in Germany. It's really cool having readers all over the world.

Anna Campbell said...

Eva, don't apologise! I did German at school and I'm pretty well illiterate in it now which makes me sad. I admire anyone who speaks a foreign language!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Una! I was so happy when Nalini invited me to be part of her great promo for authors from Down Under. And I'm in some seriously good company there.

Hey, you're new to historicals. There's some amazing new voices in the genre at the moment plus the masters of the genre still writing. It's actually a great time to be reading historicals. Hope you enjoy COS!

I think you're right about the pain turning into sweetness angle being part of the fascination of the tortured hero vibe.

Love the list of great tortured heroes. I'll have to check them out. I'm SOOOO far behind on my reading right now! Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nalini, hi Anna.
How are you both?

Captive of Sin – It sounds great. I look forward to read it.

The most tortured hero….
I think it’s Acheron from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter.
It’s not only the time since he’s tortured – way over 11.000 years – there are some good souls who give their best to help somebody. And what they get in turn is hate, torture and agony.
And what I find fantastic, they never loose the hope, they never turn against anyone else. So everybody would understand, when they destroy the whole world, but they don’t do it.
My second tortured hero is Zsadist from the Black Dagger….

Every man or woman has something inside, has something experienced, what was painful and hurts without end (maybe the lost of love, of a friend or parents, or the troubles during school time, etc.) So the reader can put oneself into the hero’s position because of this. He feels with him….

And anywhere, anytime, there is a another soul who understands the tortured hero, sees him in a way, nobody else did till then. They learn each other known on a different level…. And it is great to see (read), how the hero learns to trust again. These slowly process, where the hero learns to trust and to love and to see (read), that there is someone who loves und trust him in return…. That’s wonderful. I need every time a lot of handkerchiefs if I read such stories… but I love them!!

That was the short version from my explanation….

I wish you both a good day.


Nancy said...

Hi, Anna and Nalini--

Anna, I've been thinking about the appeal of tortured heroes. For me, I think they tie into the idea that the greater the story obstacle, the greater the protagonists' triumph. So a hero who's tortured, like that Scotsman we both love, Lymond, has farther to go, needing a deeper, stronger love to bring him past his pain to happiness.

A corollary would be the Superman Villain issue--if the villain isn't extremely powerful, then Superman's triumph isn't heroic but humdrum.

If a hero and heroine don't face significant obstacles, they should be together by the end of chapter one. If they face not only a powerful external conflict, which they have to resolve together, but each other's personal demons, which can be harder to confront, then the path to HEA becomes less certain, more anxiety-inducing and angst-ridden, and ultimately more satisfying. At least for me.

And writing that makes me feel as if I'm back in school and writing a philosophy paper--I understand what I'm trying to say but am not at all sure I've conveyed it in a way anyone else can grasp.

Have started CoS and can confirm Sir Gideon is both seriously tormented and supremely chivalrous.

Tonberry Queen said...

Welcome to the blog Anna!

As for my favorite tortured hero...that would have to be Rhage from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood book Lover Eternal. He has to live with his love but his soul and heart is being torn apart by what he has to do to keep his "beast" at bay. Wow! Really Wow!

marie3of3 said...

Hello Anna and Nalini,

Tortured souls? Sadistic as it sounds, how could you not love them?

Right now, I'm lovin' two men, Nalini's Dorian (Hostage to Pleasure) and Elizabeth Hoyt's Lord Renshaw (To Seduce a Sinner).

I have to say this; I think I've killed a couple of trees (via tissue) reading your respective stories! I haven't yet read 'Captive of Sin' (I will this week! I've got a new box of tissue!), but Nalini...I just about cried a river in 'BoM'.

Glad to be able to gush!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Cora, what a great explanation. Thanks for sharing it with us. And I see you're another Zsadist fan! He sure has plenty of people who love him, that Vampire! ;-) Acheron sounds really interesting. Sherrilyn Kenyon was one of the keynote speakers at the first readers' convention held in Australia last February. It was great to meet her and to hear her talk about her books.

Erika said...

I would have to go with Judd Lauren as my fav tortured hero. I mean, a former assassin falling in love with a woman who was tortured by one of his kind? That makes for a heartbreakingly sexy hero and tough as nails heroine.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Nancy, I think you expressed yourself beautifully. It's kind of Olympic - you know, the higher they jump or the faster they run, the greater the triumph. And yes, Gideon is supremely tortured and chivalrous! He has had a rotten time, poor fellow! Thanks for swinging by from the lair!

Anna Campbell said...

Fuarie, I'm with you, honey! Rhage was the tortured hero who really cut into my heart in the BDB. I thought the others were great, don't get me wrong. But that beast thing really hit me hard - poor guy. Imagine being that terrified of something that's part of you - torture par excellence! And the thing about Rhage is that he's the least obviously tortured of the boys - that worked for me too. You had to dig deeper with him, somehow. Yeah, I know - I'm talking to the converted here!

Anna Campbell said...

Marie, I know it's not kind to laugh at your howling into your tissues but man, I got a giggle from your post. Sometimes a girl just wants a good cry, doesn't she? And I think the beauty of a good cry in a romance is that part of us knows that no matter how bad it gets, we'll still get our happy ending. I really like that! Great selections and good luck with Captive of Sin!

Anna Campbell said...

Erika, Caressed by Ice has been on my TBR pile for ages - I know, I know, it's going to be brilliant. That's one of the reasons I'm saving it. Clearly I need to read it! I adored the first two books and I tend to save my favorites for moments when only a GREAT book will do. Does that make sense? Probably not!

Christine M. said...

Hmmm... my favourite would have to be the Beast.

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, I think I said earlier that all my stories are Beauty and the Beast. I was so determined that Captive of Sin wasn't going to be Beauty and the Beast. And guess what? It is!!!! I just can't escape. It's a good thing it's such a great underlying story for a romance!

H Maree Davis said...

How I love a tortured hero.

I love torturing heroes too, although I probably torture heroines more.

DH probly thinks I should stop practising on him in real life though!

My favourite tortured hero of all time? Just one? I know I'll change my mind tomorrow. Right now it's Izzy, 'cos Suzanne Brockmann hasn't finished torturing him yet.

Loved Captive of Sin Anna (don't put me in the draw - I already have the book!). I think I like it best of your books so far.

Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Blaze of Memory.

H! :)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, H Maree, thanks for saying COS is your favorite! I've had a few people say that! So glad Gideon is making friends, in his tortured way ;-) I really must catch up with the Suzanne Brockmans! You're not the first person to mention her in this context.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Nalini and everyone, for a great day's blogging. I've really enjoyed exploring the mystique of the tortured hero!

Don't forget to check back to see who won the book! Good luck!

Nalini Singh said...

Thanks for a wonderful discussion everyone, and thank you Anna for being such a lovely guest. I've just edited this post to add the winner's name to the top.

For those of you who've subscribed to the comments feed, the winner is BRONWYN (Australia). Congratulations!