Wednesday, August 5, 2009

HOTTER THAN HOT! Elizabeth Naughton

Welcome today to Elizabeth Naughton who has been blazing trails in romance with sizzling hot stories and even hotter heroes!


Thanks so much to Delle for having me here today! I’m thrilled to be chatting books…and heroes…with you all.

Since most romance readers are women, it makes sense that a big part of a romance author’s job is creating heroes women will fall in love with and want to read over and over. If we’ve done our job correctly, the hero is the most memorable character in a book – he’s the first thing a reader remembers when they hear the book’s title, and he’s the last thought in a reader’s mind when she closes the pages of a book at night.

This is not an easy job because heroes are as varied as living, breathing people. To us they are living, breathing people, and they often have minds of their own. (Many is the time I’ve argued with one of my heroes over the direction of a story.) And because they’re so different, we can’t lump them into easily labeled categories.

One of the hardest heroes to write – in my mind – is the unlikeable hero. The one who, for whatever reason, is closed off, angry, or severely tortured. These are – ironically – also the most fun to read. And they’re the kind of heroes readers remember long after a book is finished.

The hero in my current release, STOLEN HEAT, is one of these heroes. Pete is angry through most of the book. The one woman he loved – and changed his life for – is suddenly back from the dead. After six years. After he spent all that time mourning her. After he felt guilty for her death. Now she’s back and though he goes through a whole gamut of emotions at that revelation, the one he’s stuck on is betrayal.

Originally, when I wrote the book, I was mindful of the fact readers might not enjoy an angry hero. And so I worked to make him likeable. To show his good side. To do anything to tone down his bitterness. However, after my agent read the first draft, she said, “I like the plot and premise but…Pete needs to be waaaaaaaay angrier than he is. Imagine how you would feel if your husband supposedly died, then suddenly came back from the dead, and all that time never let you know he was alive.” She was right. Sure, I’d be happy at first, but then I’d be severely pissed. I rewrote the book with that thought in mind and the end result is STOLEN HEAT.

I’ve read plenty of romances where the hero is an alpha ass through the entire book and the last 20 pages redeems himself. These are not keeper books in my mind, and I was wary of that when I wrote STOLEN HEAT. So I worked hard to show Pete’s good side along the way, gave the reader glimpses of their relationship before Kat went into hiding, let the reader see what it was about Pete that made her fall for him in the first place. I’m pleased with the ending, readers seem to be happy with the final product, and I have now written one very tortured, ticked off hero…whom I love.

How do you feel about the unlikeable hero? The one who may be closed off, angry or severely tortured?

A previous junior-high science teacher, Elisabeth Naughton now writes sexy romantic suspense and paranormal novels full time from her home in western Oregon where she lives with her husband and three children. Her debut release, Stolen Fury, was a 2007 Golden Heart Finalist and has been heralded by Publisher's Weekly as "A rock-solid debut." When not writing, Elisabeth can be found running, hanging out at the ball park or dreaming up new and exciting adventures. Visit the author’s website at

Her latest release is STOLEN HEAT:

Book Two in the Stolen Trilogy
On Sale: July 28, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-505-52794-3
His past tore them apart. Her lies thrust them back together. Now a killer's out for revenge, but the biggest threat for both may just be the heat they thought they'd already lost...
Antiquities dealer Peter Kauffman walked a fine line between clean and corrupt for years. And then he met the woman who changed his life—Egyptologist Katherine Meyer. Their love affair burned white-hot in Egypt, until the day Pete’s lies and half-truths caught up with him. After that, their relationship imploded, Kat walked out, and before Pete could find her to make things right, he heard she’d died in a car bomb.

Six years later, the woman Pete thought he’d lost for good is suddenly back. The lies this time aren’t just his, though. The only way he and Kat will find the truth and evade a killer out for revenge is to work together—as long as they don’t find themselves burned by the heat each thought was stolen long ago…
"Exciting, action-packed and fast moving, this story seamlessly alternates from the present to the past. A first-rate mystery, it has well-developed characters and a suspenseful and satisfying climax. A fine romantic thread winds through it all."
--RT BOOKReviews
"STOLEN HEAT is an awesome combination of deadly suspense, edgy action and a wonderful romance with characters that you’ll laugh, cry and yell with. I had a great time reading it and I’m definitely looking forward to more of Ms. Naughton’s books."
--Wendy, Night Owl Romance
To be entered into Elisabeth’s BIG STOLEN HEAT Release Contest go to You could win a $100 VISA gift card and a whole host of other daily prizes!


  1. I cannot WAIT to read the second one!!! The first one was so freakin' awesome. And you're totally right about the tortured heroes being the hardest and yet most compelling to write. It's all about showing the growth of a character in a dramatic way without making it look like a rabbit being pulled out a hat. Congrats on your second release! I turned you out everywhere I could find your book in New York! Several stores you were already sold out. Rock on!

  2. Thanks, D! You are such a sweetie.

    And I'm heading out to get my copy of Lord of Pleasure today. Kids be damned...I'm dragging them to Borders regardless of their whining. LOL

  3. I think tortured heroines are actually harder than tortured heroes, as far a reader acceptance goes, but that's another issue.

    I agree completely on your thoughts about the hero making changes gradually. When he has several moments where "aha!" strikes him, then struggles to live up to his new ideals, he is so much more human. He's so compelling because we can all empathize with his struggle, and remembering how easily we have slipped when trying to become a better person, we can't help but fear for him.

  4. There is a fine line between tortured and just plain nasty. I enjoy reading about a hero who has to go through several incarnations throughout the story, as long as the story itself doesn't turn into some long dirge of angsty emotions. For me there's nothing more off-putting than reading a heroine who has to constantly take a rash of shite from the hero because she has too much guilt of her own.

  5. Hi, Elisabeth! Great post. I like the unlikeable heroes, as long as I can understand their motivations.

  6. Delle - I agree. I think tortured heroines are definitely harder. I had one of those in STOLEN FURY, and she was a struggle to write. Though I loved her. :)

    Thanks so much for having me here today!

  7. "For me there's nothing more off-putting than reading a heroine who has to constantly take a rash of shite from the hero because she has too much guilt of her own."

    Very well said, Lisa! I couldn't agree more. :)

  8. Hi, Cynthia. Thanks for stopping by! Unlikeable heroes MUST have strong motivation. I agree. And when they do? Yowza. I usually love them.

  9. Micki Nuding touts what she calls the Excess of Virtue. By that, she means someone who believes in something good so much and wants it to come about that he will go to excessive means to make it happen. So much so that he then my go beyond his own ethical standards to achieve his goal. This is extremely difficult to write well, and if not done well enough can be a catastrophic failure. But think of the man who loves his daughter so deeply that he will do anything to save her, and so he slips over the border into an alien country to bring back the only doctor who can save her. He risks arrest and possibly death. Understandable. But what then if he must face the possibility of killing others to continue his mission? And what if the doctor refuses to come, perhaps because he has his own child in a similar dilemma? How far will the hero go over the edge for his daughter's life?


This is a discussion blog. Spam of all kinds, including unrelated book promotion, is not welcome and will be diligently removed.

About Me

My photo
I write write write. Sometimes I travel. Then I write some more. And I have a great family who understand that I write write write.