A job is a job.

Or is it? In most romance novels these days it seems like all the cool jobs; cop, firefighter, Navy SEAL, Sheik, are taken. What’s a writer to do? I say, go back to basics.

Sometimes a hero is an accountant or a house painter. Your strength of character, your moral fiber, is not defined by your pay check.

In Tempting Adam, my hero is the CEO of a Hollywood movie studio because originally I was writing the story to send to Silhouette Desire. In Divorce, Interrupted I mention that Todd works long hours and ignores his family, but I don’t really mention what his office job really is. In Trust In Me, my current work in progress, Jackson Brady is a carpenter with a construction company. He is very much blue-collar, down to earth, and mostly truthful. He has some skeletons in the closet that will wreak havoc with his budding romance with Evie Grimes, antique store co-owner.

Any job can be exciting for your characters if you dig deep and make it real. Any small detail can make the story brighter, bolder, more lifelike.

Readers: do you like exciting jobs in your reading? Writers: how do you make your characters jobs exciting?

Jill James

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9 thoughts on “A job is a job.

  1. I think the main thing is to have a man who works and who gives his all to whatever job or profession that might be. I just finished edits on an ex-Marine who is now a cook. I hope I made him just as virile, romantic and desirable as a uber-rich corporate executive. It’s the hear to fhte man, the strength of his character that makes him hero worthy, don’t you think?

  2. Yikes! Before I had a chance to read over my comment, my goofy index finger hit the “enter” key and my comment went live. Crap!

    I meant to say, “I think the main thing is to have a man who works and gives his all to whatever job or profession that might be. I just finished edits on an ex-Marine who is now a cook. I hope I made him just as virile, romantic and desirable as an uber-rich corporate executive. It’s the heart of the man and the strength of his character that makes him hero worthy, don’t you think?”

  3. I whole-heartedly agree with you, Vonnie, and I’m glad you posted this, Jill. My real life hero is a basement waterproofer. He generally comes home from a job covered in sticky black paint, boots filthy and caked with mud, hands rough and dirt under the nails, but he does all this to provide for our family. And quite frankly, I don’t find anything sexier. I think more romance heroes should be made to reflect our real life heroes with their non-glamorous jobs! Cheers!

  4. Hi Jill – I really prefer down-to-earth guys in books. Your carpenter is a perfect example. i can’t relate to billionaires or royalty, so I don’t tend to read those stories. As a medical romance author, I must write a lot of doctor and nurse characters, and I tend to focus on their “serving others” than how much money they make. Recently I wrote the hero as a high school teacher, but he volunteered as a fireman. I thought that was a cool combo.

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