I am so thrilled to have Jenna Bennett on the blog today. The tour for Tall, Dark, & Divine filled up in hours so I couldn't have her here then (and I had a total inner tantrum over it). Her new release, FORTUNE'S HERO, is crazy up my alley for obvious reasons, though I'm swamped and can't start it until next weekend. *sad face* So please join me in making Jenna feel super welcome and be sure and drop by her blog for her Entangled Under the Mistletoe Holiday Hop giveaway... book and cookies... it doesn't get much better this time of year. ;)
Now read on and enjoy! -- Rhi
A galactic smuggler must risk everything to get his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit...
It’s almost impossible to say the words “galactic smuggler” these days without bringing to mind the incomparable Han Solo, isn’t it?
(Yeah, Mal Reynolds was all right too, and maybe more familiar to some of you—the ones still in the cradle or not even born yet when the first Star Wars movie made its debut back in 1977. But for those of us of a certain age, Han Solo was it. It, I’m telling you. Nothing against Nathan Fillion, who’s quite dishy in his own right, but young Harrison Ford... yum.)
I was a little girl when Star Wars came out, and although I saw it, I was in no position to appreciate Han. At that time, I was just beginning to like boys—ergo, I liked Luke Skywalker. It took growing up to appreciate the charms of Han Solo.
Luke was cute, but Han was hot. You don’t appreciate sex appeal much in middle school. Or at least you shouldn’t.
As I got older, though? Oh, yeah. He definitely had it going on. Good looks—although not too good. A little rough around the edges. Able to, as the saying goes, charm the snakes out of the trees. And by no means a gentleman.
All good qualities.
And don’t even get me started on that whole “Han shot first” controversy.
On second thought, let’s talk about the controversy. Because I happen to think that’s exactly the kind of thing that separates the boys from the men.
Not bloody likely. Because he’s the hero. He’s the good guy. And good guys don’t shoot first.
But as one of the characters in Fortune’s Honor says to another, “There’s self-defense and self-defense, kid. There’s the kind of self-defense where someone comes at you with a gun, shooting, and you shoot back. And if you kill him, then you’re honorable, and if he kills you, then you’re dead. But there’s also the kind of self-defense where someone’s coming at you, and you know he’s got a weapon even if you can’t see it, and you know he’s just waiting for a chance to use it, and you’d better kill him first, before he has a chance to pull it out and kill you. Cause honor don’t do you no good when you’re dead.”
Sounds like something the incomparable Han would say, doesn’t it?
(In case you’re not familiar with the “Han shot first” controversy, it’s something that happened in the first movie, in the Mos Eisley Cantina, where Han Solo is discussing matters with Greedo the bounty hunter. In 1977, Han shot Greedo without Greedo ever firing a shot. For the 20 year anniversary edition in 1997, the scene was remastered and Greedo shoots first. A lot of us feel that it’s dishonest to the character and a transparent ploy to make him more morally acceptable. You may, of course, make up your own mind.)
At any rate, that kind of attitude isn’t for everyone. The honorable hero doesn’t go around shooting first. He waits until someone shoots at him, and then he dispatches the threat with all speed and ease.
There’s a lot to be said for an honorable hero. Someone upstanding, principled and praiseworthy.
Although there is, perhaps, even more to be said for a wily, devious, clever and scheming hero. If nothing else, he’s more likely to be alive to fight another day.
I have occasionally been known to write upstanding, principled and praiseworthy heroes, usually in conjunction with wily, devious, clever and scheming heroines. I’m much more partial to a good bad-boy, though.
Quinn Conlan, the main character in Fortune’s Hero, fits the bill. He’s plenty devious and clever. However, he’s also principled in his own way.
Like Han Solo and Firefly’s Mal Reynolds, he owns a freighter. It’s called the Good Fortune. Some of the freight he carries is hot, and has to get where it’s going under the radar. In other words, he’s a smuggler. And he’s not above bending and breaking every rule he has to, to get the job done.
What he’s not willing to break is his own moral code. It’s not a code that necessarily coincides with anyone else’s, let alone with the law, but he has one, and it’s important to him. He’ll lie, he’ll cheat, and he’ll steal—but he won’t compromise what he thinks is right, even if no one else agrees with him.
I’ve always been a sucker for a good anti-hero.
So what do you think? Is it okay for the hero to be less than heroic? Is it okay if he shoots first? At which point does he stop being the loveable bad-boy hero and start being the bad guy, do you think? (And if you feel so inclined, feel free to give me your opinion on the whole “Han shot first” controversy too, while you’re at it.)
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New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley/Jenna Bennett writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. She also writes a variety of romance, from contemporary to futuristic and from paranormal to romantic suspense. Her latest release is Fortune’s Hero, first in the Soldiers of Fortune science fiction romantic suspense series from Entangled Publishing. For more information, please visit her website, www.jennabennett.com