|© James Steidl | Dreamstime.com Used by Permission|
In that long, self-doubting stretch of time between the day I finish edits for a book, and that book's publication day—which can be months and months away—I sometimes sneak a copy to my friends. The more I love a book, the more I need their reassurance. With The Firebird, I was very, very needy.
What I didn't expect was that this advance reading would set off a good-natured, rather amusing debate between two of my friends on the subject of which of my heroes is hotter.
Deanna Raybourn became a vocal champion of the modern day hero, Rob McMorran, a Scottish policeman who hails from the Borders and balances work with his volunteer shifts as a Lifeboat crew member, both jobs helped along by the fact he's a psychic. When I asked Deanna what her favourite scene was in the book, she wrote back: "Anything with Rob ;-)"
Molly O'Keefe, on the other hand, much preferred Edmund O'Connor, the plain-spoken Irishman living in exile in Russia in 1725, born—as he tells us—with "cards in my hands and my fists up", who shows skills at both, though he'll not cheat an honest man. "Perfect," was what Molly tweeted to me after reading the book. "He was perfect."
And that was the start of the rivalry.
Given that the three of us interact just about daily on Twitter, I couldn't help noticing they kept it up even after my back was turned, as in this little exchange that I captured on Storify.
|© Anthony Bowen | Dreamstime.com|
Me: Hi, guys. Toss of the coin to start. Who calls heads?
Me: [tossing coin] It's heads. Right then, whenever you're ready.
Deanna: There is no contest here. While Edmund is delicious—and totally deserving of adoration—he is simply outmanned by Rob. Rob is dark, brooding, sexy as hell, oh, and did I mention, HE CAN READ YOUR MIND? And he rescues people for a living. Susanna did not miss a trick in crafting a hero who is completely swoon-worthy.
Molly: Yeah...Rob can READ YOUR MIND! Where is the mystery? (though I will say that first scene when they sort of accidentally mentally brush up against each other—DELISH!) However, back to why Edmund is a far more sexy and intriguing hero—he's all mystery. Nothing but drama and scarred hands. And heroic? He saves birds! Come on, I got you there Raybourn.
|© Suto Norbert | Dreamstime.com|
Deanna: The mystery? The mystery is never knowing when or how he's going to read your thoughts. And the straight-up knee-knocking lusciousness comes from the incredible restraint he shows in NOT abusing his abilities. The slow tease of having him read something, then pull back? Intoxicating. And speaking of intoxication, I offer Exhibit A—the hallway clinch where Rob knows EXACTLY what she wants, how, and when. WHUF. Oh, and your guy saves birds. My guy saves mammals. Advantage, Raybourn.
Molly: Exhibit A is good. I will grant you—very good. But if the question is noble restraint? Edmund wins hands down. I mean, did you even READ that scene on the boat? I gasped. I clutched my e-reader. So satisfying. So dramatic.
Deanna: Yes, Edmund is a very worthy hero, but if we're going to talk self-sacrifice, Rob can more than hold his own. When the woman he KNOWS is meant for him can't handle the connection, he doesn't stalk her or sulk or badger her. He gives her space, patiently biding his time until she's ready. He's confident enough that he doesn't have to prove himself. And when she does finally come to him for help, he's encouraging and patient and MASTERFUL while still respecting her autonomy. He pushes her, gently but firmly, to test her own boundaries and he provides the safety net she needs to do it.
And Exhibit B? How adorable is it when he tries to speak Russian?
|© Martin Brayley | Dreamstime.com|
Molly: Patience, smatience...give me Edmund who argues with Anna, forces her to understand her place in this new world and to see her value as HE sees her value. He is not happy until she sees herself as he sees her, beautiful noble and brave.
Edmund Exhibit C—which really after the scene in the boat and the scene when he saves the bird I can't believe I even need—the eggs.
|© Sharpshot | Dreamstime.com|
Molly: Either way readers can't lose—both heroes are amazing (even if one is so patient he nearly loses the love of his life twice).
Me: OK, so clearly this isn't a
I've got one set of paperback copies of each of our latest books: Molly's Crazy Thing Called Love, Deanna's A Spear of Summer Grass, and mine, and I'll send them to anywhere, worldwide.
To enter, just comment and tell my two friends here whose team you think you'd be on—Edmund's, or Rob's? If you want to get a glimpse of both the heroes, you can read a short excerpt with Edmund here, and with Rob here.
You have till Sunday, April 28th, to leave a comment. I'll announce the winner Monday. Best of luck.