I read a quote by Nora Ephron that encouraged me. “Above all, be the heroine in your life. Not the victim.” I agree with that. I believe that means I should take responsibility not just for what I do to others, but for how I react to what others do to me. I can decide to become a victim and have a “poor me” attitude, or I can decide to stand up for myself. I further believe if I am to stand up for myself, I must be willing to stand up for others.
In 2004, my first book (At the Mercy of Her Pleasure) featured a half-human hero. Senth Antonello was part feline Kin, and part human — and while Senth’s human parent was caucasian Senth also had an adoptive father who was black, and gay. Luc Saint-Cyr was not a good guy, but he wasn’t all bad either. I wrote Luc to be an enigma. When I first created him, I had no idea how popular he would become. My critique group continually asked for his story while I was writing Senth’s. By the end of the book, I had one planned for him.
Someone asked me why I, as a straight white woman, would write not only a black hero but also a black gay hero. She wanted to know why I didn’t “write what you know.” I don’t think it’s an author’s duty to write only what we know. I think it’s our duty to create an imaginary world that’s realistic and unique, different from our own. I doubt I could choose a more polar opposite character from myself than Luc. Other than the fact that I consider us both “good people” he is as different from me as he can get.
He’s immortal, and he is thousands of years old. Far from being jaded like most of his kind, Luc is fascinated by humans. He seeks them out and wants to know them. He falls in love every “lifetime.”
Luc has dark chocolate skin, black hair, and eyes that he hides behind solid black lenses that cover his entire eye area. (He has a good reason for that.) In romance novels, the average hero isn’t in his sixties and paired with a twenty-something alien hero. Luc has many diverse attributes. Yet he remains my most asked-for character. A few years ago, I decided to make birthday cards that would be sent “from” each of my heroes. (Really me, of course, but it was fun to play along.) When readers signed up to get a card, they had a choice among a host of characters. About three-fourths of them chose Luc.
Could I have made Luc white, human, and straight? I don’t think so.Those who know him refer to Luc as the “Man” with a capital letter you can hear. What Luc wants, he gets. Perhaps he chose me to write about him, rather than me choosing him. I will say that as I’ve written him into multiple books, I’ve always tried to stay true to Luc’s nature rather than being true to my own. Is having a diverse hero a challenge? Insomuch as I must always be mindful that I am writing about a person who is not me — yes. But as a writer, isn’t that what we do? Who wants to read a book where all the characters are the same? Who wants to write a book like that? Not me.
Luc is a background character in the Antonello Brothers series, including At the Mercy of Her Pleasure, For Women Only, and Bro, the Story Behind the Antonello Brothers. He’s a vital character. Much of the action hinges on what Luc does. I hope when you read one of the stories, you find him as fascinating as I do.
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At the Mercy of Her Pleasure
Antonello Brothers 1: a Scifi Romance
Hired to steal back a prototype taken by the imperial armada, Senth Antonello retrieves it, but his brother is kidnapped to force Senth to surrender the device.
Now he has to rescue his brother, outsmart the armada, and keep the item out of imperial hands. All doable, except for one small problem. He must do it in the company of NarrAy Jorlan, a genetically altered woman whose pheromones could enhance the mission or crumble it into dust with a single siren kiss.
He’s a thief. She’s a soldier. Do opposites attract? Oh, mercy!
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About the Author
Author Kayelle Allen’s unstoppable heroes and heroines include role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.