Do you judge a book by its cover?
Of course. We all do, literally. What’s the first thing that snags a reader’s interest in a book? It’s the cover. If that sparks our curiosity, we’ll check out the blurb and maybe read an excerpt before deciding to commit to a purchase.
Although we may try not to judge people the same way, we can’t help ourselves. If there’s a line of single women at a dance, which one does a guy approach? The prettiest, of course. And we can’t attribute that superficial attitude to just men. If we’re trying to meet someone on a dating site, don’t we click first on the profile of the best looking man? Although I believe women do rate other qualities higher than looks when searching for a partner, don’t we always give the handsome one the first shot at fulfilling our expectations?
How many romance novels have you read with an average looking hero? Not many, I’d guess. We want the man of our fantasies to be devastatingly handsome as well as possessing the qualities of honor, bravery, sincerity and kindness. Which is why it’s called fiction.
When developing the premise for Love Unmasked, I wanted to explore the difference in reactions to someone who is good looking compared to someone who is downright ugly, through the eyes of a character who has experienced both. To develop, through immersion in his world, the changes to his own psyche. RJ Parker was once handsome, charismatic, and a brilliantly successful litigator, until he was assaulted by a gang who objected to his political activism and sliced his face to shreds. Now the disfigured attorney only consults on cases for other lawyers, hiding away in the shadows.
When beautiful rookie lawyer Christine Dawson first meets him, her involuntary shock at his appearance nearly destroys their relationship before it begins. Desperately needing his expertise to help win her case, Christine determines to reverse her thoughtless first reaction. She works hard to gain RJ’s favor, earn his trust, and learn his secrets. And in doing so, wins his love. Yet, if she hadn’t been forced to work with him, she might never have taken the opportunity to know this extraordinary man whose intense passion not only fires up her career but illuminates her ordinary existence.
At one point, RJ confides to her, "I'm ashamed to admit some of the things I used to say to women. Flirtatious-to-the-point-of-lewd comments any other guy would get slapped for. I got away with them because of my looks.”
His eyes took on a faraway expression. "Everything came easy to me. To the point where I expected it, believed I deserved it. I never realized how shallow I was. I never expected to pay the piper."
How much do looks matter to you? In our constant quest to be thinner and prettier, do we ever stop to appreciate just being normal?
I love all my heroes, but RJ is my favorite, and I hope you will enjoy reading his story. Oh, and of course, I hope you like the cover.