I don’t think any lover of romantic literature can speak about the quintessential and unforgettable heroes of this genre without having Mr. Darcy (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) come close to the top of the list.
Tall. Handsome. A Man of Means. Proud. Slightly Brooding. Need a visual? Take your pick—Colin Firth from the original A&E mini-series, complete with “wet t-shirt scene”. (Stuff of dreams that was. Oh mercy!) Or— Matthew McFayden from the Jon Wright production a few years ago. (That end scene at dawn when he comes across Lizzie walking the fields. Delightful.)
Sorry… there was a thud. That was me swooning. I do love a handsome, brooding Englishman. However, men of that description are in quite the shortage in eastern North Carolina. More’s the pity. Sigh….
But I digress.
Although I have interests in several genres, I am currently working within the romance genre. I think it begs the question—am I writing Mr. Darcy? I think there may be small hints of him here and there in my male characters. So far, they are all tall and handsome. Although the romantic heroes I’ve written so far are typically of the average professional variety (no millionaire tycoons, etc), they are all quite proud and have a bit of masculine arrogance, so that’s a bit Darcy-esque. They all, so far, are perhaps a bit brooding. They have things going on under the surface that the heroine doesn’t immediately understand—also reminiscent of Darcy.
So what makes my romantic heroes something different than just an homage to the famous Mr. Darcy. For one thing, Austen’s Darcy is a bit unapproachable. My male characters, with one exception, are a bit more outgoing and social. They also are written with quite a sense of humor. I love to laugh, and I try to infuse as much humor as possible into my characters and my stories. I think that’s one of the defining aspects of creating a character that feels real. Feels human. Mr. Darcy is always so very serious, and while this is certainly a necessary virtue, I find my characters tend to temper their dispositions with a bit more levity than Austen gave to Darcy.
Have I found Mr. Darcy? In real life or on the page? On the page…I find I’m not really searching for Mr. Darcy there. So far, I’ve found some romantic figures that are as wonderful, as swoon-worthy, and a bit more real than Mr. Darcy. I hope my readers will find the same when these characters and their stories are finally released.
Well, I admit that in real life, I have not yet found Mr. Darcy. Perhaps a Mr. Wickham or three, but no Mr. Darcy. Before anyone comments about there not being a “Mr. Darcy”, let me state that yes, I am aware that Mr. Darcy is fictional. Hence the reason I won’t find him here on this earthly plane. However, there is someone out there. Tall (maybe). Handsome (in my eyes). A Man of Means (works towards his dreams and goals and is gainfully employed). Proud (of who he is and will be). Slightly Brooding (only on occasion to lend that “quizzical brow” look). So I continue to keep an eye out for him, the elusive Mr. Darcy. Not The Mr. Darcy. But rather, My Mr. Darcy.