I have a new guest author this week – the fabulous Lynda Hilburn! She’s here to talk about the allure of the bad boy and to give away a copy of her most recent release. I’ll hand things over to her now…
The Allure of the Bad Boy
I’ve never been surprised that vampires in books and movies are so popular.
I had a psychotherapy session with a client recently which reminded me of an ongoing question in my mind: What is it about bad boys? Why are we attracted to them? Why do we abandon good sense (along with clothing, sometimes, LOL) when one walks into the room?
From a psychological point of view, we’re often drawn to men (or characters) who remind us (consciously or unconsciously) of an important male figure from our childhoods. Or, we’re enticed by the opposite. For example, if Dad was a bad boy, depending on how his behaviors impacted us, we might either idealize or demonize him. If he was a laid-back beta male, we might crave what had been missing.
Hmmm. Do we believe that fantasizing about a rebellious, borderline criminal will somehow rub off on us and we’ll begin to explore our primitive sides? Is this really about our desire to be wild and crazy? Unrestricted? Less like good girls? Or do we really want to surrender to some dark, brooding male?
What is a bad boy? When I use those words, I don’t necessarily mean someone who is evil. Although, he could be. In today’s vampire literature, the line between “good” and “evil” is often smudged (in the world of psychology, most everything lies in a vast gray area). A bad boy certainly doesn’t follow rules or conform to society’s ideas about what he should/shouldn’t do. He might have a flexible moral compass. As a human, he’s often a risk taker, who probably wouldn’t be satisfied with a traditional nine-to-five job or a “normal” life. He’s the perfect projection screen for our fantasies.
The bad boy is a celebrated archetype. We have lots of names for him: rake, cad, scoundrel, charmer, heartbreaker, ladies’ man, scamp, rascal, bounder, thug, to list a few. He’s usually confident and indifferent. A man who exudes an aura of mystery (the perpetual “strong, silent type”). Most important, he’s unavailable. We humans always want what we think we can’t have. And, of course, once we meet this elusive troublemaker, we women begin to believe that only we can “change him.” But, will we still want him after we do? (Ah, but we hope we can’t!)
Unlike a lot of the bad boy heroes of romance novels (which I read and write), he isn’t necessarily gorgeous. So, it seems being a bad boy is more about his attitudes and behaviors than anything else. For example, my client at the beginning of this article is absolutely obsessed with a hygiene-challenged, scarred, rule-breaker on a Harley. She says life without him would be unbearable. (We’re working on that.)
I love vampire books, and I consider all male vampires – and other paranormal creatures – to be bad boys. (Which is a powerful reason we love vampires.) By their very nature, they don’t follow any human rules. They usually don’t even adhere to the laws created for their particular mythology. Like humans, they range from charming rebels to self-absorbed sociopaths/psychopaths.
Good examples of (the wide range of) bad boys: Jason Bourne, Lestat, James Bond, Dexter Morgan, Spike, Captain Jack Sparrow, Rhett Butler, Don Draper on Madmen, James Dean, Han Solo, Eric Northman, the Neal character from White Collar, Jamie from the Outlander books, Michael Weston on Burn Notice, Roarke from the Eve Dallas books and my own vampire, Devereux.
What literary/movie characters come to mind for you when you think of bad boys? Why do you think we love them?
I’ll give away a copy of one of my books/stories (USA only for print copies, please) to one commenter here who answers those questions.
Here’s a short story about Kismet and Devereux that takes place right after the events of Book #1, The Vampire Shrink: SEX IN A COFFIN.
Sex in a Coffin
Kismet Knight Ph.D., Vampire Psychologist # 1.4
by Lynda Hilburn
Ever since Denver Psychologist Kismet Knight discovered the frightening world of the vampires, she’s been struggling to hold onto her sanity – with varying degrees of success. Join Kismet and 800-year-old Master Vampire Devereux as they share a typical night on the other side of the Looking Glass. Can a brainy scientist and an ancient bloodsucker really be an item? Friends with benefits? More?
Lynda Hilburn writes paranormal fiction. More specifically, she writes vampire books. After a childhood filled with invisible friends, sightings of dead relatives and a fascination with the occult, turning to the paranormal was a no-brainer. In her other reality, she makes her living as a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, professional psychic/tarot reader, university instructor and workshop presenter. Her series, Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist is being rewritten and will be republished by Quercus Books in the UK and Europe, and by Sterling Publishing/Silver Oak in North America. The UK version of the first book in the series, “The Vampire Shrink” will be published September, 2011. The North American version a few months later. Book #2 (tentatively titled “Blood Therapy”), which is a new book, will be published a year later, and book #3 (the book that used to be called “Dark Harvest”) will follow a year later. She also has a short story in the anthology, “Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance,” called “Blood Song.” “Diary of a Narcissistic Bloodsucker” and “Undead in the City” are available through Amazon.com and Smashwords.
Visit Lynda at: