Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Anatomy of a Hero by Liesel Schwarz + Giveaway!

Brought to you by TLC Book Tours...

A Conspiracy of Alchemists
Liesel Schwarz

Series: The Chronicles of Light and Shadow (#1)
Page Count: 352
Release Date: 5 March 2013
Publisher: Del Ray (Ballantine; Random House)
Genre: Steampunk, Victoriana, Fantasy

Leave it to chance. Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—the intrepid heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.

In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.

When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.

The Anatomy of a Hero

A little bird told me that there are a few Henry Cavill fans here at Books à la Mode. And this got me to thinking about Hugh Marsh, Viscount Greychester from A Conspiracy of Alchemists.. mostly because I can certainly see Mr. Cavill as a potential cast for the role. 

So what makes an engaging male lead? 

I suppose the answer is rather simple. As any red-blooded woman will tell you, it’s the hunk-factor. But how does one isolate this hunk-factor? What is it about the Heathcliffs, Mr. Darcys and Mr. Rochesters of the world that captures the female imagination? 

Believe it or not, this is actually a field of study and I recently attended a fascinating lecture presented by author Celia Brayfield about this very topic. I do believe that it is certainly in the interests of science, for the good of womankind everywhere that we should further such research. 

As a starting point, I think our hero has to be attractive. Unconventional attractiveness is always better. As tempting as it is, I will resist going into the subjects of tall, dark, chisel-jaws and six-packs, because I don’t think it right to objectify people, but Heathcliff was described as dark and brooding. Mr Darcy was tall and arrogant. I will leave the rest to your imagination, but suffice to say, there has to be a little bit of rough-around-the edges. 

I also think our hero has to be a little bit dangerous. Not dangerous in a psycho-stalker kind of way, but there has to be that slight unpredictability that sets the pulse racing. I don’t want to be controversial, but love or hate those books, millions of women fancied Mr. Christian Grey, even though they might not care to admit it. 

And speaking of Mr. Grey, it seems to me that there is something irresistibly attractive about a man that is a little bit broken. Again, I am not talking about mental illness that may lead to an abusive, dysfunctional relationship but it does seem to me that some type of “mendable” or noble hurt is almost irresistible. The broken heart, the sad childhood, the loveless marriage undertaken out of duty. 

I believe that a hero has to ultimately be a man of strength, courage and virtue. No matter how bad he is, or how terribly he has behaved, our hero must have an epiphany. He has to overcome his issues and weaknesses; he must know his mind and what he wants. Ultimately he must step up to the plate and fight for the woman he loves. And if he does that, it’s amazing how we have the capacity to forgive him for being bad. Even if he did lock his wife up in the attic for years... ahem... Mr. Rochester? (Karielle Stephanie: LOL!!!

But most importantly, I think that there has to be chemistry. The energy between the characters has to sizzle. And it is that sizzle that captivates us readers. It makes us hang onto every page. 

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. It was great fun visiting. xx

About the Author

Liesel Schwarz writes fiction. A life-long fan of 19th Century Gothic literature, she is a hopeless romantic and loves Victorians, steampunk, fairies, fantasy monsters, the Fin de siècle, and the correct way to drink absinthe. She also likes Medieval stuff, pirates, zombies, space operas and all subjects in between.

Her debut—the first in a series of Edwardian steampunk novels—debuted this year. She has an MA in creative writing and is currently completing her doctorate in English and creative writing at Brunel University. Liesel chooses to live in London because she loves the weather there and is definitely a cat person.


¡Hay caliente, Liesel! You're getting my blood pressure up because all these character traits sound ah-MAZING! It was a pleasure having you over—but seriously, all the talk about Mr. Rochester, Mr. Darcy, Christian Grey, Henry Delicious Cavill is getting me hot and bothered. Thank you SO much for joining us today, and for such a fun post!

Readers, thanks to Liesel's publisher and TLC Book Tours, there is one print copy of A Conspiracy of Alchemists up for grabs to one lucky commenter! To enter, all you have to do tell us what you look for in a hero :) It must be something Liesel hasn't mentioned yet!

I always fancy a hero who is extraordinary in one certain endeavor, whether it be art, music, sports, or even just oratory skills. A man who's mastered a trade shows passion, dedication, and determination, and those traits are all what I look for in a strong hero. 

What about you?

Remember: You must make your comment meaningful and provocative to the discussion! Comments only containing the likes of "It's fun, thanks for the giveaway" or "I don't know" will not be considered for entry!

Please fill out the Rafflecopter form to keep track of your entries. You know the drill!

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Giveaway ends March 21st at 11.59 (your time).
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Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be chosen.
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Good luck!