Writing from the Hero’s Point of View
One day passes, then two, then three. I work myself hard at both my jobs. I exercise until my body has no energy left to feed my anxiety. In the mirror at the gym, the man staring back at me with the furious eyes is bigger and leaner than anyone who’s ever mad-dogged me before. Sweat drips off my skin. My lungs burn. I let the pain wash over me. “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” as the saying goes. My physical body is strong.
But my heart? My mind?
How do I strengthen those two things?
I don’t know.
—Salvador Rosas, Thirsty
Sal is the narrator of my newest sexy contemporary romance Thirsty. He’s a former gangster who’s spent the last five years in prison for car jacking and grand theft auto. Even though Sal’s physical appearance is intimidating, his time in prison has left him introverted and prone to anxiety attacks in crowds.
Thirsty is the first book I’ve written entirely from the hero’s point of view (using first-person POV, in which the narrator is I and me). Spending so much time with Sal was both a challenge and a delight. Here are some of the things I observed during the process of writing Thirsty.
- Sharper voice. Writing from the hero’s point of view forced me to drop all the “writerly” tricks I’ve come to rely upon as a romance author. While I delight in lots of metaphors and descriptive words, Sal tells stories with very little embellishment. Sal has an education, but he doesn’t spend all day obsessing over words the way I do. The result? A sharper, more muscular voice better suited to telling this particular story.
- Surprises. Writing from Sal’s point of view revealed surprises about his personality that I hadn’t anticipated, as if listening more carefully to his voice created new opportunities for character development. For example, in trying to come up with ways for Sal to deal with his anxiety, I realized early on that he cleans whenever he is nervous or wants to show control over his environment. Subsequent research about formerly incarcerated individuals revealed that many inmates pass the time by obsessively cleaning their cells. This extreme cleanliness eventually became a feature of Sal’s character.
- Free traits. In my studies of character development, I happened upon the work of personality psychologist Brian Little. Little explores familiar traits like extroversion and introversion, but he also delves deeper into “free traits,” the temporary traits we adopt when we step out of character to face particular challenges. For example, an introverted person might behave like an extrovert in order to get better service for their loved one in a hospital emergency room. In Thirsty, Sal often has to adopt “free traits.” I explored Sal’s fears as he put aside his quiet nature and stood up in a spectacular way to defend his loved ones. I had the pleasure of capturing his turmoil when he put aside his desire for privacy to display affection in public towards his crush.
Romance authors regularly fall in love with their heroes. I am no exception. Sal is vulnerable and strong at the same time, a scarred survivor of his circumstances who finds a way out. I learned a lot from living inside his head, and I’m excited to share his voice with you.
A gangster hiding from his past. A single mom fighting for her future. Can she show this bad boy the man he’s meant to be?
“Mia Hopkins is an imaginative author who doesn’t take the easy road to a formulaic book.”—USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog
My name is Salvador Rosas. Back in the barrio, my past is written on the walls: ESHB. Short for East Side Hollenbeck, my father’s gang—my gang. Hell, it’s a family tradition, one that sent both my brothers away. They used to call me “Ghost” because I haunted people’s dreams. Now I’ve got nothing going for me except a hipster gringo mentoring me in a new career. An ex-con making craft beer? No mames.
Still, people in this neighborhood look out for one another. That’s how I became Vanessa Velasco’s unwelcome tenant. Chiquita pero picosa. She’s little, but with curves so sweet they’re dangerous. I remember Vanessa from the old days, the straight-A student with big plans. Plans that were derailed by another kid stupid enough to think he was bulletproof. Now Vanessa knows better than to believe in empty promises. There’s fire in her . . . and if I touch her, I might get burned.
I’m trying everything I can to go straight. But when East Side Hollenbeck comes calling, I might have to risk it all to find out if there’s a future for Vanessa and me. Because she’s the only one who can quench my thirst for something real.
Praise for Thirsty
“Thirsty is a sizzling, emotionally intense story that is both gritty and heartwarming, an addictive page-turner that will stay with me for a long time to come.”—New York Times bestselling author Cathryn Fox
“Thirsty is sexy and soul-wrenching, with Sal’s irresistible voice luring you through a living, breathing Los Angeles. Vanessa and Sal’s chemistry sizzles right off the page. Five smoldering, tattooed stars!”—USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone
“Thirsty is an amazing read! I stayed up way too late to finish and haven’t stopped thinking about the characters. Highly recommended!”—USA Today bestselling author Molly O’Keefe
Award-winning author Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She’s a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends. She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and waggish dog.