When Geeky Met Nerdy: Unconventional Heroes


By Alyssa Cole, author of SIGNAL BOOST

As I mentioned in my Harlequin blog post for Radio Silence (Bros Before Heroes) a few months back, when I began the Off the Grid Series, I was really enamored of the friendship between my heroine Arden and her best friend John. So when it came time to write book two, Signal Boost, I knew that I wanted someone really spectacular to partner John with. Now, John is a slim, self-deprecating tech geek who, while fully capable of protecting himself and those he loves, doesn’t exactly fit the mold for “romance hero.” First I thought I would pair John off with someone big, brawny and alpha—who doesn’t want someone like that to protect them during a journey into a post-apocalyptic world? Apparently, John, that’s who.

When John’s hero, Mykhail, came into being, he was the perfect fit for John, but the exact opposite of who I had originally imagined. Mykhail is a lean, lanky Ukrainian astrophysicist who really should have invested in LASIK surgery before the world went to hell. (All myopic people whose greatest apocalyptic fear is losing their glasses, please get in line after me.) But it turned out that John didn’t need a protector—he needed someone who could show him how his own geekiness and resourcefulness were as useful as big honkin’ muscles or a gun.

Writing two heroes who are intelligent in their own specific but complimentary ways was incredibly fun for me. I’m a real “competency porn” kind of woman—I love seeing people talk about their passions, whether they be gardening techniques or string theory, with such fervor that you can’t help but get swept up in their excitement. Having nerdy heroes allowed me to explore this trope in new and fun ways. I can’t be the only one who digs this: who else here has a thing for heroes with big…brains? Are there any particular nerd heroes who have rocked your world? Tell me more in the comments!

{881AA019-DAF1-4FCB-8A1A-47BAC88F7A44}Img100When technology stopped working, the world as they knew it ended.

In a secluded cabin, John and his loved ones have survived. He should feel grateful. But his family is in his face 24/7, he has to watch his best friend, Arden, and brother, Gabriel, flaunt their love, and as a techie in a Luddite world he’s pretty much useless. The cabin is brimming with people, but he feels utterly alone.

Until he catches Mr. Tall, Blond and Gorgeous raiding their garden. Mykhail is an astrophysics student, he makes John’s gaydar ping like crazy and he thinks he knows what caused the devastation. He’s on a journey to his university to find answers, and John invites himself along. Partly to get out of the house, and partly because he can’t let Mykhail go without acting on the mutual attraction that’s so obvious even John’s mom is playing matchmaker.

The closer they get to campus, the more Mykhail lets down his walls. But with answers come secrets both devastating and deadly, and before they can save the world, they’ll have to save themselves.

Read Arden and Gabriel’s story in Radio Silence, available now!

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Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC life and island-paced life in the Caribbean. Her recent releases include the historical romance shorts Agnes Moor’s Wild Knight (Scottish medieval ) and Be Not Afraid (Revolutionary War). Visit her website at www.alyssacole.com, talk to her on twitter at @alyssacolelit, or send her a message on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AlyssaColeLit.

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