Tuesday, February 3, 2015

59 How to Build a Book Boyfriend - 14 Days of Fictional Swoon Scavenger Hunt and TWO GIVEAWAYS

I thought this post would be easy. After all, I'd just written a boyfriend into the Heirs of Watson Island series, and I don't even want to think about how many hours I've spent with him. I'd also just finished going through the results of the Book Boyfriend Contest, in which I asked people to list the qualities they consider important in a book boyfriend. Which was all sorts of eye-opening fun, so I'm including the results again below.

attractiveness (in various subjective forms)
sweet, generous, compassionate etc. 
funny, sense of humor, witty, mischievous, etc.
intelligent, smart, loves books, educated, etc.
tough, dominant, possessive, bad ass, foul mouthed, rugged, brutish, bad boy, etc.
trustworthy, real, reliable, trusting, dependable, honest
gentleman, respectful, good listener, supportive, understanding, thoughtful, old-fashioned, etc
loyal, family oriented, best-friend
loving, romantic, likes to cuddle
loves dogs, horses, animals, cats, coffee, pizza, movies, music, coffee, and various other specific preferences 
alpha male, protective
snarky, smart ass, sarcastic, smirky, etc.
charming, smooth talker, outgoing, etc.
bold, fearless, adventurous, brave
adorkable, dorky, nerdy, different, quirky
exciting, passionate, spontaneous
sane, not a criminal, employed, good hygeine, has all teeth, smells good -- aka, the very basics : )
strong minded, strong, determined, confident
intense, haunted eyes, broken, moody, angsty
happy, easy going, balanced

Interesting and kind of scary, right? Almost as scary as realizing that just like pretty much everything else I've ever thought was going to be "easy," writing about how to write a book boyfriend is hard. Because when I really sat down and thought about the process, I had No. Clue. It wasn't as if I'd sat down before hand and done a catalog of qualities that would make him "boyfriendish." Not in general. I made him specific to my main character, Barrie. I made him a person--the right person for her.

And I guess that's what it comes down to when building a book boyfriend. It isn't about the author--or even the readers, really. Readers are all very different, and as clearly seen from the survey results, there are many different kind of guys that appeal to many different kinds of readers. (Although clearly THERE IS SOMETHING to be said for nice guys with a side of bad.)

At the most basic level, a book boyfriend is character. One who is pivotal to the story, which means he has to be equally compelling to the main character. But since we aren't always going to be in his head, we get to play all kinds of games about how to get his motives across. Which is just about my favorite thing to do.

I actually do a lot of worksheets when developing characters. I think about their backgrounds and by the time I'm done, I pretty much know what makes them tick in terms of appearance, personality, strengths and weaknesses, goals and wants. And then when I sit down to write, everything kind of shifts. The characters become their own people. I can tell them what to do, and sometimes, they turn around a flip me off.

Eight was a bit like that. He turned out kinder than I expected, and more disillusioned with his family and Watson Island than I expected. He was a little bit more patient with Barrie than I expected--okay, a lot more patient with her. Their relationship is a bit like those old movies that I love, where there's a bit of animosity because there are reasons why the two can't trust each other, but neither can deny the attraction.

So why can't they deny the attraction? That's the most critical step in building a book boyfriend. In Barrie's case, she isn't sure. Could it be because Eight is:
  • Gorgeous 
  • Sexy 
  • Kind 
  • Funny 
  • Has a kickass sailboat called the Away 
  • Knows everyone in town and is so universally charming that Barrie wants to slap him 
  • Has a knuckle ball that can't be hit and a baseball scholarship to USC 
  • Is smart but dyslexic, so at least that keeps him humble. Okay, not THAT humble. 
Or could it be because Eight knows exactly what Barrie wants and is compelled to give it to her so that she can't help but fall in love with him? Whether she wants to or not.

That's the second key to building a book boyfriend, I think. As compelling as you make the reason for the main character and the guy to want to be together, you have to give them an equally compelling reason why it isn't going to work.

Which is, of course, where book two in any romantic trilogy comes in. : ) 

I'm thrilled to announce there will be a cover reveal for PERSUASION, book two of the HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND trilogy on Thursday 2/5/15. Look for it on the USA TODAY Happily Ever After blog, and then check out the FABULOUS giveaways we'll be having at Mundie Moms, Two Chicks on Books, Reading Teen, Candace's Book Blog, Page Turners, and Romance at Random. It's going to be fun! : )


I'm including some of my favorite book boyfriends in the first giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plus there's an overall book boyfriends giveaway for the blog tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more book boyfriends and more amazing prizes? Catch the full 14 Days of Fictional Swooning Schedule!

February 1st- Fiction Fare 
February 1st- Swoony Boys Podcast 
February 2nd- Literary, etc.
February 3rd- Adventures in YA Publishing
February 3rd- A Soul Unsung: Book Gossip for the Soul
February 4th- Bookish Things & More
February 5th- Books and Swoons
February 5th- Love at First Page 
February 6th- Awesome Book Nuts
February 6th- Mainstream Passionista
February 6th- The Book Sphere 
February 7th- I Turn the Pages
February 7th- Andi's ABCs
February 8th- Na's Not So Newsworthy Thoughts
February 8th- WhoRUBlog
February 9th- Gun in Act One
February 9th- We So Nerdy 
February 10th- What Sarah Read
February 10th- Flutters and Flails
February 11th- The Book Addict's Guide 
February 11th- Effortlessly Reading
February 11th- Lostbraincell's Bookish Blog
February 12th- GReads!
February 12th- Books Equal Awesomeness
February 13th- My Friends Are Fiction
February 13th- Lee Kelly: New Write City
February 14th- Fiction Fare 
February 14th- Swoony Boys Podcast

Share with us. What's YOUR favorite kind of book boyfriend? Leave a comment below!


  1. Thank you so much for the post and the AMAZING giveaway!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway! The information in this post might come in handy when I'm writing for my book boyfriend. I've been having some trouble with that.

    1. It's hard isn't it? But I think ultimately it comes down to what your mc needs. What kind of a guy WOULD she fall in love with? What kind of a guy pushes her buttons. That's probably the bigger key, now that I think of it. My husband drives me bats, both in a good way and in an I-want-to-smack-you way occasionally. And that makes it fun. : D

  3. Love how you describe a book boy becoming his own person!! Eight is awesome :)

    thank you so very much :)

    1. Aw, I'm so glad you like him! I can't wait to see what people think of him in Persuasion! XO

  4. Love the giveaways on this blog! I love a guy who has a good sense of humor, and is just easy to be around.

  5. Lovely post! I've always wanted to know how authors created such amaaazing guys, like Eight. :) I always like when book boyfriends are confident to the point of cockiness, but also funny and attentive. But I also hate when they are just too perfect; they have to have flaws, or else they just aren't believable. Thanks for the giveaway!!

    1. Those are really good points--and yeah, you've nailed Eight, and some of my favorite traits. <333

  6. The very basics category gave me a good laugh! Those are definitely important factors in choosing a boyfriend in the real world. I'm a little more tolerant about book boyfriends though. They can be bad boys!

    1. I can definitely live with more bad in books than I can in real life. But showers and good teeth, sorry -- the basics are the basics. :D

  7. thanks for the awesome post and giveaway!!

  8. I'm loving this blog hop! So glad to see you taking part in it! :)

    1. It's a ton of fun! Thanks for stopping by, Kristen!

  9. Love this, =) thanks for the giveaway & Happy Wednesday!

  10. Great post! Thanks for sharing the interesting results of your Book Boyfriend Contest.

  11. This was an interesting post. I wouldn't have put attractiveness at the top, but I'm glad sweetness made number two. :)

    1. Sweetness is attractive -- just in a different form, right?

  12. A sense of humor is extremely important to me. IRL and in my book boyfriends lol Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. My favorite kind of book boyfriend is sexy, funny, compassionate and alpha but doesn't mind me being a strong woman ;)

  14. Thanks for the awesome giveaway! I wouldn't have put attractiveness at the top but I do think a sense of humor and compassion is important!

    1. Me too -- attractiveness fades anyway (or at least gets covered by a belly and an extra chin 9/10ths of the time later in life) so we are going to need that sense of humor and compassion!

  15. i entered the giveaway or at least i tried bc there are some requeirments i didnt do bc i didnt understand what i needed to do, or bc i couldnt do it or didnt know how to do it. anyways thanks for the opportunity and thanks for the giveaway and happy s.valentine

    1. That's fine -- they're all bonus points. Nothing is required except your mailing address!

  16. I'm so thrilled for you, Martina. I asked for COMPULSION at my local Target and their going to see about getting it in. :-) I feel so blessed, having "known" you for several years through Twitter and your blog. And remember my First Five Pages entry ages ago? You're one of the people I look to for inspiration and confirmation that yes, this writing dream can come true and here's the proof.

    1. Thank you so much, Suzanne! That truly means more to me than you can know. I've had so much inspiration from the people who were getting published as I started blogging, or who got published over the years, and I wouldn't be here without them. And I LOVE working with the First Five Pages workshop. I do remember your entry -- and I can't wait to read more of your work in the bookstores! : )

  17. I love love love the Persuasion cover can't gush enough about that. This list is also soot on. Now I know for the future if I want to build my book bf I have the recipe!

    1. Thanks, Britt! : ) Only sort of a recipe though, right? I just had so much un judging fanfic for Jennifer Armentrout's contest, and I can see the appeal of taking a guy you love and writing about him.

  18. I'm looking forward to seeing how the story evolves in Persuasion :)

    1. Thanks! It's a bit different -- faster and a bit darker, but some lovely Eight moments. I loved writing it! : )

  19. I LOVE the Persuasion cover! I can't wait to dive into this series!

  20. I enjoyed reading the traits. Sane is always the way to go.

  21. I haven't read compulsion since, I can't find the book here. >.< But whenever I get the chance to grab it I will. It really intrigues me, I wanted to read it so bad.

  22. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  23. Thank you so much for participating in the blog hop!! I love your "how to build a book boyfriend" and the results of your what's important in a book boyfriend were great to see!!

    jaime @ Fic Fare

  24. Happy Valentine's Day, Martina, Susan, et al. (With book boyfriends, every day can be Valentine's Day.) ;-)

  25. I just want a book boyfriend who's mentally stable and compassionate

  26. Yayy! More giveaways....that I'm just finding out about, lol. Also, I will be using this blog post of yours as a 'template' for when I create my characters' (yes. plural) book boyfriends - technically, it's also for a Manga that I want to do for myself. I didn't know it would be this hard either, lol. I HAVE TO GET THROUGH IT! :D

  27. Thanks for the giveaway and the information. :)

  28. Thank you so much! Me and my sister have been dying to read Red Queen and Shatter Me!

  29. I enjoyed Compulsion and look forward to reading more of your books. Keep up that mystical talent of yours.

  30. Thank you for the lovely giveaway! I have all fingers crossed. :)

  31. Thanks for the amazing giveaway! :)

  32. You always have the best giveaways!

  33. These giveaways are always great. Thanks!

  34. What a great giveaway - good luck to everyone!

  35. I'm so excited for this giveaway!


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)