Monday, October 1, 2012

Christine Fairchild: A Sexy Hero OUT OF Uniform

I am pleased to welcome Christine Fairchild, romantic suspense author who writes about cops and FBI agents with and without the uniform. We love all our heroes both ways, right? Whether they be military, rescue and fire or police and FBI. 

I hope you enjoy Christine's new twist on her debut series. You'll also want to check out her blog site for great writing and editing tips. Can't get enough of those either, can we?

Christine has taught classes on editing. Today, she has agreed to give away one copy of her new book, An Eye for Danger, as well as a copy of either The Editor Devil's Guide to Dialogue or The Editor Devil's Guide to Character. She's also decided to let this contest run all week. Hope you visit us again soon.

So, welcome Christine Fairchild. Take it away.....

A Sexy Hero OUT OF Uniform 

There's nothing sexier than a man in uniform, they say, especially in the Romance genre. Heroes in Romantic Suspense are often bred of military or law enforcement characters, men who may still be active or inactive, may be in good standing or may be retired or even stripped of their uniform (whether they committed a wrong-doing or not).

For my debut Romantic Suspense series, I wanted something slightly different. So I chose to write a hero who was still in uniform but in disfavor. Easy enough. Going rogue is a common theme among Romantic Suspense heroes, whether they are in uniform or not, and often this 'rebel' quality makes them even more sexy.

Ironically, because my hero is fighting law enforcement corruption, being in uniform, whether a cop, detective, FBI, or military personnel, is not inherently cool. The power of the uniform is corrupt. So which skin will my hero wear, and how do I keep him sexy and alpha male at the same time?

Of course, my hero's life must always on the line as well. That's a given in Romantic Suspense, but that predicament is not enough in my mind to keep me on the edge of my seat. As an author, I need as much psychological entanglement as I need physical life-and-death pressure.

So I pushed further and wrote a man who may or may not choose to win back his badge or even fight for the good guys. A man paying for past regrets, and never paying enough to get himself square with his superiors, let alone his own conscience, again. A hero in Purgatory. A man straddling the line between right and wrong, between caring and ditching it all. Unpredictable, in other words.

And so Sam Fields was born. Here's an NYPD detective who's been framed for being not just a dirty cop, but a not-sober cop. A man labeled as not being in control of himself, which is looked upon as weakness in the law enforcement world. Dishonorable of the badge. Untrustworthy. He's burned, unwanted, riding the razor's edge between being fired and being jailed.

Hence Sam's kicked from one tough department (Vice squad) to another tougher, more dangerous crew (Narcotics unit) for dirtier, grittier undercover work, then finally punted to the Feds on loan for the worst of the worst assignments. Sam took one for the team, let himself be framed (did he commit the offenses or not?--I won't spoil the story), and then dropped a few steps down the detective hierarchy. Worse, he took more dangerous undercover work, living like a rat on the streets to bust drug crews. You can feel the penitence just rolling off his back. A man who doesn't really care about winning his reputation back.

So by the time the Feds recruit him for undercover work to nail corrupt law enforcement, he's primed to take a mission no other agent wants. Not to say Sam's playing the martyr hero, but he sees himself as disposable. A throwaway on an unwinnable mission. I call this "suicide by mission".

Of course, this is all back-story by the time our reader and Jules Larson (our heroine), a former war photographer and PTSD sufferer, runs into him in Central Park amidst a murder scene. Sam saves her from a henchman only to take her hostage to avoid his former NYPD nemesis, Detective Stone McCarthy, who may be one of the corrupt cops Sam's investigating.

What makes this opening scene--an alarming and questionable situation for any character, let alone a hero--more intriguing for me as an author? By now, Sam's desperate enough to commit a real crime--taking Jules, an innocent, at gunpoint--and thus stripping himself of his own values. Psychologically speaking, a man who is losing the "fight" in his world is a man who's losing himself. Piece by broken piece.

My hero is not just burned out, he's been plain burned by his own, and so it's fitting that he's involved with a crew burning down the city, because Sam's ready to burn down the whole 'effing system. He stands in that very narrow space between losing the drive to fight and losing the will to live. And that's a dangerous space. A man like that will commit acts he never thought possible. He knows what's right and wrong. He's been on those morality front lines for years, so there's no question of discerning black from white. He just sees those lines differently now, or blurs them altogether. Now he's the one rewriting the rules. Or worse--throwing them out the window. Again, unpredictable. Wild, even.

Can Jules, a woman facing her own demons and need for redemption, tame a wildcat like Sam? Maybe she doesn't really want to, since by nature she's drawn to the front lines, to danger, to that line between life and death. So here's a combustible coupling that readers get to watch push and pull against each other till they explode.

What I feel is sexiest about this dynamic is that it's not so much a power struggle between the hero and heroine as a "who can play with fire better" rivalry. And it's in Jules' losses that Sam finally wakes up and decides what he's fighting for. Not to say he has a reason to live, which is slightly cliché. But that he finally found a winnable mission, his own life be damned.

Taken hostage, Jules provides escape for Sam Fields, an undercover cop desperate to avoid capture by his nemesis and former mentor, Detective Stone McCarthy. Sam can’t afford to blow his two-year investigation of Goliath, a band of crooked cops who clean up New York City streets vigilante style. Especially if Stone is one of them.

Fighting for underdogs is old habit for Jules, and Sam’s rough-around-the-edges charm has a way of roping her into helping with his investigation. Though Jules fears Sam's violent world will land her in a psych ward--again--three years of self-imposed isolation since her fiancé’s death is a long time to be lonely.

And then there's Stone. His park murder investigation keeps leading to Jules' door, and he's on the verge of discovering her involvement. Not only might he be crooked, Jules is just the kind of uptown girl Stone covets. Especially if she belongs to Sam.

As Goliath closes in on the only surviving witness, Sam and Stone must work together to protect Jules. But Jules can’t grow too close to Sam, even when his touch melts her armor, or accept Stone’s increasing advances, even though he's twice the gentleman Sam is, for fear either man might discover the truth about her fiancé’s accident.


Christine M. Fairchild is a former journalist with 25 years' experience as a writer/editor, from technical to marketing to exec communications to entertainment. She specializes in "tactical" editing and storytelling techniques for authors, offering writing tips and tricks at http://Editor and through her Editor Devil Guides to fiction. Her debut Romantic Suspense novel, An Eye For Danger, is now available on Amazon for Kindle.

You can follow Christine, aka The Editor Devil at: for free writing tips & tricks

You can find her books on Amazon for Kindle at:
An Eye For Danger (
The Editor Devil's Guide to DIALOGUE (
The Editor Devil's Guide to CHARACTERS (

Thank you, Christine. Now, readers, what questions have you always wanted to know about when writing or reading heroes in or out of uniform? Do you have a question of the Editor Devil herself? One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Christine's debut novel, plus one of her 2 editing books. What do you love about reading or writing heroes? 


  1. I think that I am attracted to heroes that are in uniform as they are usually people who are driven to serve and protect and make the world a better place.The heroes are usually portrayed as hard, cynical men, and what we like to see is the inner softness brought out by the heroine. This is how we would all like our menfolk to be.

    1. Ann, great point. I love them for the same reasons. There is something special about a man (or woman) who protects the innocent, even at great personal cost. And does it anyway.

      Thanks for being here today.

  2. Sounds complex. My favorite heroes and heroines are possessed by a deep sense of honor, not necessarily as defined by society.

    1. Judy, so glad your editing is coming along so that you can be with us again! I've noticed your absense. Yes, I agree that a true hero is one who does so without anyone knowing. Not defined by society. Has his own moral code he operates under.

      And that's why we can depend on him. His service isn't conditional on the things around him, as much as they may affect him.

      Lovely to see you there today...

  3. For some reason I can't reply directly to posts, but trying to figure this out.

    In the meantime, I wanted to agree with AnnQ's great observation that readers want hardened heroes with soft fillings that only the heroine can access. That's key to the romance relationship working--they fit like puzzle pieces. And through that, either or both can find redemption from what ever ails them. Thanks for commenting, Ann!

  4. Hi, Judy! I just love compicated heroes/heroines! Like you, I love male leads with innate senses of honor. With my hero, Sam, it almost kills him to do wrong. But he's got his head mixed up, so he needs Jules' presense to get his head straight. She calls his honor back to clarity. And one that society (in this case, a failed society) doesn't define, but one defined by having humanity, which Jules has in spades. I also think, like Sharon said, that it doesn't matter to that type of hero if anyone even knows/witnesses their honorable acts. In Sam's case, he's content to be labled the failure, as long as he knows he's doing the right thing. That makes the story more fun to write and to read.

    Good luck with your editing, Judy:)

  5. I do love those rogue heroes!! Great interview, ladies! Christine, your books sounds wonderful! Can't wait to read them! Thanks so much for sharing with us!!

    1. Jennifer, you are so right. She sounds like a great read for us. Goes to show you the power of the internet. We met because our books were always being recommended to each other!!

      Nice to see you here.

  6. Thanks, Jennifer, for your kind remarks! Sam is definitely a rogue hero, but he's coming into his own. I'm already working on book 2 and boy does he surprise me!

    1. Can't wait, Christine. Thanks so much for joining me here this week.

      Still time to make comments to enter in the giveaway.

      Next up: Military Romance Writer Gennita Low, this Friday 10-6-12. Everyone come on back!!

  7. Thanks, Sharon, for your encouragement and for hosting me this week. And thanks for everyone's comments! It's been a pleasure:)

    keep writing, keep dreaming!

  8. Okay! Christine has made an executive decision, and everyone who has commented gets a free book.

    I need all your email addresses. Please send them to: sharonhamilton2001(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll get them right out to you. Let us know your first and second choices and your wish is our command.

    Congrats everyone. And thank you so much for Christine. We can't wait to have her back!!

  9. I'm so late to this party but wanted to say that I read An Eye For Danger and Sam is someone to fall madly, deeply for. He's so flawed it makes you want to take that hunk under your wing. Love Jules and Sam. Thanks Christine M. Fairchild.

  10. I am really confused, I am looking for book two of the "An eye for Danger", is there a book??? Who is Sharon Hamilton??