Dating A Hero was an experiment in style. It is the first and, thus far, the only book, I wrote in the first person solely from the point of view of the female protagonist whilst speaking of her male counterpart in the second person. Not once are names mentioned, either in direct or indirect speech. Still, it worked. At least for me. The readers need to decide for themselves on whether this little bit of unsolved mystery is to their liking.
My idea was to write it in a way that you wouldn’t even notice that names were missing while reading the book and a few people have told me, they didn’t even realise names were missing until they wanted to speak about the book to someone else, which generally requires talking in the third person, and therefore, you notice names missing.
The setting itself came about from a family outing, walking in the sunshine along the River Rhine in Cologne and taking a boat trip to see the sites up and down the river. It was a lovely, sunny afternoon and my children, my mum and I had lots of fun. When we walked along the waterfront of the old, medieval part of town called “Altstadt” (literally meaning “old city”), which has outside areas in front of bars and restaurants overlooking the river, we saw quite a few couples laughing, flirting and kissing.
I’m a sucker for love and romance and I will freely admit to it. I love seeing people happy together, being affectionate and kissing and flirting. I’m not one of those people who believe public displays of affection are out of place and should only be done out of sight of others, indoors, like something shameful and dirty. What’s wrong with showing someone you care about and love them? Kissing is a beautiful thing and light flirtation with your partner keeps things spicy and hot. That’s my opinion of it and naturally, you are free to have your own.
Returning to this summer’s day of love with exceptionally many couples around kissing, laughing and flirting gave me the idea for the storyline of this book, Dating a Hero. In many aspects, it is as happy and sunny as that beautiful afternoon I spent with my children, even though the theme is very adult in nature. However, the happiness and lightness is an energy I carried over into the book.
Nonetheless, Dating A Hero doesn’t lack depth, and so there are some challenges to be overcome and fears to be faced and dealt with in a constructive manner. It also shows how a loving and supportive partner will not hold moments of weakness against you, but rather, encourage you to grow beyond your current self, expand and reassure you that you are still loved, despite — or because of — the fact that you are human, infallible and imperfect, that you are loved for your little quirks as much as for your strengths.
True love means to support each other, also when the free expression of what makes the other one happiest and most fulfilled is not always in line with our own personal preferences. In Dating a Hero, the male protagonist leaves for a while to do what he feels is his duty, according to his personal sense of honour, which also has an impact on the relationship. But instead of sulking and condemning, the woman who loves him supports him in it and understands that he needs to do this, even though she would much rather have him stay home with her without interruptions.
In the same way, he honours her life choices and never makes demands, even when he hopes she will decide in a way that goes in line with his own wishes. He allows her the same freedom to make her own choices without trying to force her hand by making her feel guilty or setting ultimatums. He is very considerate and caring as well as appreciative of her presence in his life, which he shows her in many different smaller and greater ways.
Dating a Hero is also a call to not underestimate the power of those small gestures, which will, consistently applied, carry a relationship much further than one-time grand gestures. My intention for this book was to transport this message on many levels and through different life situations, whilst remaining a light, entertaining (and hot!) read throughout.
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