This week at The Pink Heart Society our lovely columnist Anne McAllister is here to tell us THE LEGEND OF HUGH IN A TOWEL..
Once upon a time (well, actually it was 2004) way Down Under, Kate Walker and I were invited to speak at the conferences of the Romance Writers of New Zealand and the Romance Writers of Australia.
Do you think we jumped at the chance?
I was supposed to talk about the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator and how understanding personality type can help you develop characters. It can also help you understand your own writing process. Among other things.
I talked about Hugh-in-a-towel.
Kate was supposed to talk about alpha heroes and the Presents voice or something like that.
She talked about Hugh-in-a-towel.
Well, why not? He was There, after all.
Kate had brought him (or a two-dimensional facsmile thereof) with her. It's proof of her dedication to her craft that she brought along show-and-tell items -- well, one item -- to enhance her talk. To make people sit up and take notice. To rivet their attention. We could have bored them silly (which, in truth, we tried not to do).
But whether we did or not, Hugh kept them awake.
Because she is such a dear friend, Kate let me borrow him for my talks as well. In fact he became the leit motif of the conference (our part of it anyway). People didn't blink, afraid they would miss the next appearance of Hugh.
After the conferences were over, Kate, in a fit of altruism which just proves the depth of her friendship, even let me bring him home because she said she had "others where that came from" or something like that.
Suffice to say, I am still in her debt. And believe me, I have been enjoying him ever since.
I'm apparently not the only one. Not only has Hugh become something of a mascot on her blog and mine, he has also taken on an heroic life of his own here on The Pink Heart.
Now in his second year as the prototype Male on Monday -- with his very own Hugh Jackman Tour, no less -- he seems to have become everyone's favorite hero.
Well, actually I'm surprised you need to ask. But if you need it spelled out, I think there are several reasons. First, it's because he can be so many heroes.
He can be Kate's intense Ramon in The Spaniard's Inconvenient Wife and (lucky for her) his lookalike English cousin Jake in Bound By Blackmail. He can be Liz Fielding's suave, sophisticated Ivo Grenville in Reunited: Marriage in Million and turn right around and be Julie Cohen's hero Oz in Being A Bad Girl or wild risk taker Ruggiero in Lucy Gordon's upcoming The Mediterranean Rebel's Bride.
And of course, he's been a beachcomber charter pilot Hugh McGillivray in my own In McGillivray's Bed (any similarity you notice between my hero's first name and Mr Jackman's is entirely coincidental) as well as cowboy turned actor Sloan Gallagher in The Great Montana Cowboy Auction. No doubt he has been the inspiration for a great many other unique, marvelous, sexy heroes as well.
He can become such disparate characters as tough-as-claws Logan (aka Wolverine) and time-traveling Leopold (in Kate and Leopold), as Thomas/Tommy/Tomas (in The Fountain) and computer geek Stanley (in Swordfish), as obsessed Robert Angier (in The Prestige) and uncomplicated Curly (in Oklahoma), as Peter Lyman (in Woody Allen's Scoop), and Peter Allen (in The Boy From Oz).
And, of course, early on we knew he was on our side because he was such a terrific Paperback Hero. From his early days on Aussie television to his upcoming lead role in Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia, Hugh (in a towel and every other way) has been able to transform himself into whatever a role required.
So, too, can we authors transform him into whichever hero we need him to be right now.
And, of course, he is gorgeous. Remember?
Beyond that, I think we see in him core qualities that we want in our romantic heroes. We see integrity. We see strength. We see respect. We see intelligence. We see gentleness. We see competence.
Of course we see a drop-dead gorgeous guy in a towel, but we also see a man who loves his wife and kids, and who will do whatever it takes to make their world a better place.
So whenever Kate or I put up the Hugh-in-a-towel picture at the conferences, whenever we put it up on our blogs, we are using it to say at least 1000 words in that one picture.
Hugh-in-a-towel is a shorthand way of getting to the heart of what makes our heroes who they are, of reminding ourselves and our readers or listeners (and lookers) of the qualities we are talking about.
It keeps us -- and them -- focused on what matters: not just the towel, but the whole man underneath it.
Anne's current book is THE BOSS'S WIFE FOR A WEEK which is out in September in M&B Modern and will be out as a Harlequin Presents in the US and as an M&B Sexy Down Under in October. Check out an excerpt here . . .
If you want to catch up on a couple of her Code of the West cowboys, Rita finalist, COWBOY ON THE RUN and Rita winning, THE STARDUST COWBOY, have been reissued in September Down Under as part of the Ultimate Collection. Are you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT??
Today's Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at Anna Lucia's Blog....