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With a theme like "Drugs, Sex and Rock 'n' Roll," can a rock star be a hero? With few exceptions, the New York publishing houses shy away from artists as heroes.
Yet from the time Elvis gyrated onto stage, teenaged girls as well as adult women have been saying a breathless yes to rock stars as fantasy lovers. As a teenager, I succumbed to a few crushes on rock stars, and my first serious effort at writing a romance novel featured a rock star hero.
To answer the question of "can a rock star be a hero?" I looked at some of the traits that make a hero. Sexual attraction is an easy yes for most rock stars. However, other traits I consider heroic are a commitment to one woman, a love for kids and dogs, and a belief in something bigger than themselves.
Do real rock stars possess these traits?
An Internet search for long-term rock star marriages turned up some interesting information. Perhaps the most famous musical marriage was Paul and Linda McCartney. They were married in 1967 and enjoyed a partnership until her death in 1998, nearly three decades. Together, they raised four children. Not so well known was that Beatles bandmate George Harrison was married 23 years until his death in 2001 and drummer Ringo Starr has been married for 27 years. Members of the Rolling Stones, one of the most famous rock bands in the world, count three long-term marriages, including the record-holder: drummer Charlie Watts has been married to Shirley Ann Shepherd since 1964, over 44 years.
While the tabloids may highlight rock stars trashing hotel rooms and spending outlandish amounts of money on luxury items while on tour, some music celebs have donated more to charity than most people will make in their life times. Along with country star Willie Nelson, singers John Mellencamp, Neil Young and others have raised more than $33 million for Farm Aid since 1985. Bono, the front man for U2, is well-known for his fight against poverty and hunger as well as a number of other causes, and for using his celebrity status to meet with world leaders to draw awareness of these issues. (By the way, Bono has been married to his childhood sweetheart since 1982.)
While researching, I also discovered the hardships that rocker Neil Young (of Cosby, Stills, Nash and Young as well as other rock bands) has faced make a heart-rending and inspirational story, including the fact that two of his children were born with cerebral palsy. Not finding a school that would meet the needs of their children, his wife of 27 years, Pegi Young, co-founded Bridge School in 1986, with funding from a concert featuring Neil Young and his friends. Since then, the school has become an innovative leader for students with severe physical and speech impairments.
I found many other examples--from Jon Bon Jovi to the Beastie Boys to the Red Hot Chili Peppers--that answered the question "can rock stars be heroes" with a resounding yes! So although some publishing houses may be wary of rock stars as heroes, Awe-Struck E-Books didn't hesitate to contract for my first three books, which feature heroes connected with a rock band.
Superstar Geoff Chastain finds true love with the virgin who changed his life in SONGS OF THE HEART, which was released in April 2008. His bodyguard falls in love with a demure psychiatrist as they race to rescue her kidnapped children in FEATHERS ON THE FLOOR, a December 2008 release. And the leader of the band finds happiness with the woman he has loved for over twenty years in STARS IN YOUR EYES, slated to go on sale as a download on Friday, February 27, 2009.