I’m not really someone who harps on anything. Really, I’m not. The more I thought about the idea that some people (you know who you are) may not appreciate romance, specifically romance novels, I thought about infamous characters, particularly Bond. James Bond.
Ian Fleming, the author of the wildly popular James Bond books that spawned a best-selling movie series, knew how to keep readers, men and women, interested in his books. Readers, both men and women, are drawn to the action in the books and later in the movies. James Bond does have a license to kill, you know, and he seems to do it often. Something else that he’s fond of: the ladies.
Bond is known for his love-em-and-leave-em style, which is probably attractive to many men who can appreciate Bond’s cavalier style. The character can have intimate relationships without all of those pesky attachments. Who needs commitment? According to an article on HuffPost by Maya Rodale called “The Surprising Qualities Women Want in a Hero,” the characteristics perfectly describes James Bond: he’s protective, he’s intelligent, he has a sense of humor, he’s a man who takes control, and he’s got throw down (otherwise known as having great skills in the bedroom). Funny that the qualities never mention love.
So, am I off the mark? Do readers — men and women — want a great story without all of the commitment? I would like to think not. Comparing a past James Bond movie poster and a current one, it looks like the only difference is that Bond has pared down the number of women he spends his time with — in between killing and saving the world.
The question has to be raised: if more books were written with a tough main character with a cavalier attitude toward sex and relationships, would it still attract both men and women if that main character was a woman? The closest current comparison would be Charlize Theron’s character from the movie “Atomic Blonde.” She kicked ass and had sexual relationships with both men and women. What kind of story would attract readers, particularly men?
To read the Part One, click here.