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    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Teresa Sings, "Pirates and Bodyguards and Vikings, Oh My!"

    When Bantam told me they were going to reprint THIEF OF HEARTS with a special price of $4.99, my first thought was “Oh goody!” To this day, THIEF remains one of my personal favorites out of all my books because I got to explore two of my favorite romance archetypes in one book--the pirate and the bodyguard. As far as I’m concerned, it’s double the pleasure, double the fun! The book begins when my heroine Lucinda Snow is abducted by the legendary pirate Captain Doom. After a brief but passionate encounter on his ship, her navy admiral father hires the mysterious Gerard Claremont to protect her. The book is sweepingly romantic and the image of Captain Doom melting out of the shadows can still make me swoon. (If you want to hear his “theme”, just listen to UNFORGIVEN by Metallica!)

    In the same way that a cliche becomes a cliche because it contains a strong dose of universal truth, I believe our classic romance archetypes like “pirate” or “bodyguard” have been such enduring successes because they push a primal button in most women. No matter how liberated she is, what woman doesn’t yearn to “stand and deliver” when her carriage is being robbed by a dashing highwayman? And doesn’t it shiver your timbers when a pirate fires his warning shot across your bow? And who can resist a Regency rake who emerges from a pond looking like Colin Firth in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE?

    Even the words--highwayman, Regency rake, Viking, spy, etc.--evoke an emotional response when we read them. I’m not suggesting that our heroes are cardboard cut-outs because the most enduring heroes are always three-dimensional and may contain elements of several archetypes. But the archetype itself gives us a starting place for our attraction. We often talk about the qualities we love most in our heroes--intelligence, a sense of humor, a glossy mane of hair, a well-defined set of abs. But the one quality that all of these archetypes share is power. And I know that for me, power is the strongest aphrodisiac of all.

    I live in a world where I’m expected to be in control 24 hours a day. Yes, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let my husband forget that he’s a man (especially if I need the plumbing fixed). But in my darkest, most secret heart, I long to be mastered. I want to be swept away, both by my heroes and by my reading. The more reality I have to face, the more important and vital to my mental health my fantasies become.
    So send me a bodyguard to protect me, a rake to seduce me and a pirate to ravish my yearning heart!