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Friday, September 21, 2012


Our Book Club Friday guest today is award-winning author Larissa Reinhart. Larissa considers herself lucky to have taught English in Japan, escaped a ferocious monkey in Thailand, studied archaeology in Egypt, and survived teaching high school history in the US. She loves small town characters with big attitudes, particularly sassy women with a penchant for trouble. When she’s not writing about southern fried chicken, she writes about Asian fried chicken at her blog about life as an ex-expat. Learn more about Larissa at her website. 

Larissa is offering an advance reading copy of
Portrait of a Dead Guy to one of our readers who posts a comment to the blog. Don't forget to check back on Sunday to learn if you're the winner. -- AP

Do Good Girls Love Bad Boys? Uh, Yeah

The other night, while watching an episode of Girls, my husband turned to me with a look of such concern and disgust, I immediately clicked out of Pinterest and focused on my distraught betrothed.

“Why,” he sputtered, “do nice girls think they like bad guys?”

I refrained from delivering some smart-mouth remark, but instead of returning to pinning other people’s pictures, I gave his question a moment’s thought. The Good Girl-Bad Boy axiom is older than the reclaimed hills we live on. Drooling over bad boys isn’t just a rebellious need to overthrow our Electra complexes. It’s more to do with the Alpha male so inherent in bad boys. Which is why, as writers and readers, we love our fictional bad boys. They’re swimming with Alpha pheromones, and we can dip our toes in their testosterone without actually getting wet. Theoretically.

I decided to distill some classic bad boys into three camps. The Troublemaker. The Brooder. And the Unknown Quantity.

We all knew a troublemaker in school, didn’t we? Some of us even tried dating them in high school. These were the guys that made mischief, but could sweet talk their way out of it or were clever enough to never get caught. Think Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind. A smooth talking Charlestonian, Rhett had no problem selling guns and butter to the north. He got by on his good looks and charisma and could even charm the pants (or giant hoop skirt) off a wily schemer like Scarlett O’Hara.

In my mystery Portrait of a Dead Guy, my artist heroine, Cherry Tucker, finds trouble with three bad boys. She has recently annulled a Vegas wedding with Todd, who appears to be a nice guy, albeit not the sharpest hammer in the sack. However, Cherry suspects Todd may be using a dumb blonde act to lower her prickly defenses. He has a gift of inserting himself in Cherry’s life before she realizes what’s happening. Todd is my troublemaker. An amateur poker player and faux-leather pants wearing drummer, he’s got a few aces up his sleeve that tips him into troublemaker territory.

I picture Rochester from Jane Eyre as the classic brooder. Brooders like to play hot and cold with a gal’s heart. Not because they can’t fall in love, but because they have mysterious pasts they must never reveal. Like a crazy Jamaican wife locked in the attic. Don’t we just love the strong and silent brooder? They keep us wondering what they’re thinking and feeling, setting our little over-analyzing hearts on fire.

In Portrait of a Dead Guy, Cherry’s old college flame, Luke Harper, has secrets he keeps buried beneath a dry sense of humor. Brooder may as well be tattooed to his forehead beneath his unruly dark curls. Testosterone wriggles out his pores. His tight jeans could cause flash fires. He’s a man of little words, smoky eyes, and deep dimples. His motives are suspicious and his lips are dangerous...

And then there’s the Unknown Quantity. Is he actually dangerous or just loves to walk on the wild side? Ranger from the Stephanie Plum One For the Money series comes to my mind. The man is dangerous and sexy as the dickens. He’s not one to settle down, but seems to like having Stephanie around, whether in his bed or fighting bad guys. Like the brooder, we’re never certain of his feelings and like the troublemaker, he enjoys getting her into sticky situations. However, the brooder and the troublemaker eventually will reveal their intentions (or lack thereof), whereas the unknown quantity... well, maybe he’ll never be Mr. Mom, but he sure is a lot of fun.

The number three bad boy in Cherry’s life is the mysterious Mr. Max, hailing from an unidentified ex-Eastern Bloc country. He struggles with English, but happily finds our streets paved with gold. Besides running a den of illegal gambling, Mr. Max knows French, art, and Civil War history. He’s a man of exceptional taste with a ruthlessness simmering beneath his robust frame. Is he toying with Cherry to throw her off the trail of his illicit pursuits or is he entertaining other feelings for the scrappy artist?

Who are your favorite fictional bad boys? Do they fall into one of the three categories of The Troublemaker, The Brooder, or The Unknown Quantity? Or do you have a category of your own?

Thanks for joining us today, Larissa! Readers, weigh in on bad boys or anything else for a chance to win an advance reading copy of Portrait of a Dead Guy. -- AP


Larissa Reinhart said...

Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I have a feeling you know a little of these bad boys of which I speak.
Good luck to all trying to win a copy of PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY! I hope you enjoy Cherry Tucker's first adventure, but particularly like these bad men in her life;)

Elaine said...

Oh, thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book. It sounds like it's right up my alley as far as books go.

Right now, I think my two favorite bad boys are Beck in the Demon Trapper series by Jana Oliver and Snape from Harry Potter. I'm not sure what type they fit in though.

LynDee Walker said...

Great post, Larissa. There's something about just the right hint of danger and uncertainty that's very attractive ... at least in theory. :)

Larissa Reinhart said...

Hey Elaine! Thanks for stopping in & I hope you win, too!
I've met Jana Oliver (we're in the same writing group) and really like her, but I have to admit I haven't read her series yet. It's in my TBR pile.
I guess I'm not thinking of villains so much as those sexy male characters that like to do mischief. Do you feel that about Snape? I can kind of see that. Something about his cape...

Larissa Reinhart said...

Thanks for stopping in LynDee. I agree with you. Danger & uncertainty is attractive, in theory.

My husband was a bit of a bad boy when I met him, but he straightened up quickly and turned into a good boy. Maybe that's what we hope for with those characters!

Acemommy said...

I can't wait to read this!! I would love to win - sarah2323 at gmail dot com

Susan M. Boyer said...

We women always seem to think we can change the bad boys. :) I think part of the allure is the challenge. But, yeah, all that testosterone is a strong draw.

Great post, Larissa! I enjoyed hearing your perspective on the men in Cherry's life :)

Larissa Reinhart said...

Thanks Acemommy! Hope you win & hope you enjoy the adventures of Cherry Tucker & her bad boys!

Hey Susan! Must be the testosterone. In theory, at least;) We can apply ample doses in writing without regret.

Pamela Hargraves said...

I love the bad boys, they add so much to life. My husband was definitely a bad boy when he was younger and still has that Alpha male quality that keeps you coming back. Can't wait to read this book.

Anise Rae said...

Love how you've categorized the bad boys!

As for Snape . . . I admit there was something intriguing about him. Maybe not at first. There were times when he seemed a little too greasy. But it was a different story in the later movies.

Larissa Reinhart said...

Hey Pamela! You are a lucky lady with your bad boy husband! I can see why you like them in books, and then there's hope for the rest of us, right?!
Thanks for commenting!

Hey Anise!
Thanks so much. I have only seen the first movie, so I can't say how he's changed in the movies. However, I do love Alan Rickman. He's definitely a sexy bad boy.

Jake said...

Liked your posting today. Would like to be a winner to find out if I truly am a bad boy.

petite said...

Wonderful post since it is always a popular topic. Many women gravitate to bad boys for their allure. James Dean. A bad boy whom I would not mind meeting up with would be Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.

traveler said...

Fitzwilliam was a bad boy who could not be ignored. Loved your post today. Bad boys have that natural ability to just act naturally since it is innate and part of their persona.

Donnell said...

Hi, Larissa, no need to enter me in the ARC, I own Portrait of a Dead Guy, and am now getting caught up enough to read it! Bad boys, thanks for the explanation. I dated a few bad boys before I married my husband. Proud to say I'm with your husband, and glad I made the laughter/security/HEA choice!

Roxanne Ravenel said...

I love your book cover, Larissa, and the story sounds great.

I'd have to say that I love including the good girl/bad boy phenomenon in my stories. I prefer the brooder, but in the form of a seeming good guy who is quite mysterious because of the dark past he just can't seem to overcome.

Larissa Reinhart said...

Jake, I hope you win & can determine if you meet the bad boy criteria. Hmmm.

Hey Petite! Good choice in James Dean. Isn't he the visual of the ultimate bad boy? But Heathcliff, I know what you mean. Ultimate brooder. Those Bronte sisters really knew how to come up with some good... I mean, bad men!

Hi Traveller,
Like your choice in Fitzwilliam! I do think their innate ability to give off that alpha male vibe is what lends them to the bad boy club. Lots of pheromones wriggling out of those pores.

Hey Donnell! Thanks for stopping in! I hope you enjoy Cherry Tucker & her bad boys. Of course, there are some sincerely bad guys in the story, too. It is a mystery after all.;)

Roxanne--thanks so much! Those brooders are something else, aren't they? Makes you want to help them overcome that dark & stormy past. Theoretically, of course.

Cris Anson said...

My favorite bad boy is Rolf, the youngest of the Thorvald brothers in my DANCE series. He poses nude for live art classes, loves 'em and leaves 'em and thinks he can sweet-talk the heroine into bed in Dance of the Rogue. (He does, of course!) I guess you'd call him a troublemaker LOL. I had such fun writing his story!

Larissa Reinhart said...

Hey Cris,
Rolf sounds like a fun character! Cherry Tucker, my heroine, could use him to stop in her town. She's an artist and loves to do life drawings. She has a hard time finding people (particularly men) in her small town to pose nude! Send him down to GA!
Thanks for stopping in!

Michelle F. said...

I guess I don't really like bad boys, except cat burglars. There was one in a Mrs. Pollifax book set in Switzerland by Dorothy Gilman. And I liked Remington Steele.

Mary Marvella said...

Great blog! I like bad boys and good guys with an alpha streak! I love nerds who can be strong when the need arises. Remove the glasses and WOW!

Larissa Reinhart said...

Hi Michelle,
I loved Remington Steele, too. Perfect bad boy. And I love burglars. How about Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief? Thanks for stopping in!

Thanks Mary! The male librarian effect, right?
Thanks for coming by!

Janet Kerr said...

Hi Larissa,

I see Richard Castle on the TV series "Castle" as a good bad guy.
Please enter me in your draw. "Portrait of a Dead Guy" sounds great.

Larissa Reinhart said...

Hi Janet! I don't catch Castle often, but have enjoyed it when I've seen it. I would agree. Real bad boys are just "bad guys." He's definitely a good bad boy;)
Thanks for stopping in.