In Defense of Cinnamon Roll Heroes and Heroines

With: Katherine McIntyre

            Readers enjoy complex heroes and heroines. And who can blame them? Flaws and quirks are what make characters memorable. However, oftentimes, complex gets confused with damaged. Tortured. And while these characters are enjoyable in their own right, I feel like too often the sweet characters get discounted. Just because a character is a bit softer, maybe not hardened, maybe a little more open and vulnerable despite the damage life slings at them doesn’t make them any less than. For this reason, I’m a big advocate of the rise of cinnamon roll heroes and heroines—sweet and gooey on the inside.

            In the past, I’ve veered away from these characters. I thought they might not be interesting enough to write about. What I found in delving into my latest book, Forged Futures, is that these cinnamon rolls were the exact palate cleanser I needed.

            There’s a supremely fun push and pull involved with tormented characters, ones who can’t voice their truths. They dive into tangled webs of their own making, and as an author, those webs are far too fun to spin. However, what can be even more fun is the directness and candor that comes with open honesty in the face of the difficulties life flings at those characters. At facing them with an emotional bravery and clarity.

            What I discovered in the process of writing these cinnamon roll heroes and heroines is that there can be just as much joy and fun to be had in writing and reading about these sweet characters, because no matter their demeanor, whether they’re surly and stout, or bright and kind, the human struggle is a shared bond no matter the personality.

            So the next time you think of passing over a story with a cinnamon roll lead, take a step back and give it a chance. You might find that if the story is worth telling, those soft and gentle characters can have just as strong of a presence and compelling tale.


Lana’s barely surviving the loss of her husband when Tribe member Lucas offers protection from the Landsliders, but in each other, they might uncover a chance to heal.

Joe Ganzorig, Mackey Kendricks’ right hand shaman, has appeared in Ricketts Glen again, and Lucas Diaz is on the job. Except this time, the Landsliders are targeting the recently widowed Lana Bennett. Turns out her husband’s murder hadn’t been accidental—he was involved in the Landsliders and stole an anti-shifter bomb from the big boss himself. The Landsliders want it back, and they won’t stop their attacks until their device is delivered.

Lucas volunteers to keep her safe while they search for the device, needing to protect this wry, stunning woman who’s still standing even after everything she’s weathered. Despite the distance they each try to keep, both Lucas and Lana can’t deny the scorching attraction between them. However, with the constant reminders of Lana’s husband and the Landsliders increasing their threats by the day, these newfound feelings could expire before they ignite. And if the Landsliders find the device before them, none of the shifters will stand a chance at survival.

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Voicing the words out loud made the truth impossible to hide from. Lana sucked in a shaky breath.

Lucas stretched his hand across the table, tilting his fingers so they brushed against hers. Lana’s throat tightened at the simple act. The man read her better than anyone she’d ever known. She laced her fingers through his, gripping tightly to the tether he offered.

Her heart strained as if it might break. Everything about this had become endlessly complicated, whether it was the new, shitty things she kept finding out about her dead husband, the memories of Greg that crept around every corner or the emerging warmth that coaxed her out every time she met Lucas’ gaze.

Lana forced a grin. “This whole situation is building a good case for never trusting again, but here I am anyway.”

Lucas squeezed her hand tighter. “Keep that hope,” he said. “Life is going to do its best to beat it out of you, so if you can retain even a flicker, you’re leagues above the rest of us.” His tone might have been wry, but Lana caught the helplessness there, the hint of despair. He wasn’t speaking just for her.

Lana shrugged, a shudder of vulnerability coursing through her. “I like people too much to stop. It also doesn’t hurt when some of them keep proving the opposite to you, that there are folks worth taking a chance on.” Her gaze locked in on his, and all oxygen departed the diner.

Ay dios mio, woman, you’re killing me here.” His voice was a rumble she felt deep in her core, and the smile was as genuine as they came. Those dark eyes gleamed with an intensity she’d forgotten about, like the fluttering of her first kiss. “I’m trying to maintain a respectable distance, I swear. Then you say shit like that and turn me into a stupid teenager.”