With the exception of my lawn mower and my power tools, the most masculine item in my house would by my Boston Red Sox’s cap. Not that my house is exceptionally frilly, I tend to gravitate towards classically tailored things like checks and toile, but I digress, my purpose in writing this post is not decorating, but rather to introduce you to the rationale behind my male characters. I have been thinking about my male characters lately and how I develop them and I find that at least the men who play against my leading ladies have some characteristics in common. Now I think of myself as a southern women’s fiction writer and I definitely delight in developing my female characters. However the men are just as important and I would argue my heroines could not achieve their greatness without the steady support of their men. After all how do you think Scarlett would have turned out had she not had Ashley and Rhett pushing her to become a better woman? I would like to say upfront my novels are not and I hope will never be, sickly sweet or steamy romances, that is just not my style of writing and my mother does read my work. But I appreciate what a certain level of romance can bring to a story and I wish for my heroines and frankly all women to have a good man in their life. As I examine my leading men, Lizzie’s Bennett in “The Eyes Have it” and Addie’s Jack in “Pearls of Wisdom, I find both are men of integrity, kindness and infinite patience as they deal with all the baggage and scrapes both Lizzie and Addie find themselves in. While each book has other minor male characters with varying degrees of virtue, my leading ladies have the support and love of men who live their integrity by their actions and have a sense of humor to boot. My leading ladies on the other hand are flawed and must grow through the story to come into their own. Those good men, Bennett and Jack seem to be just what my girls need to reach their potential. So while I celebrate the southern woman and all her grit and grace, I also want to celebrate the men who love and support them. Even this strong, independent and yes, flawed southern girl recognizes that a man of good character can make all the difference.