Blue-Collar Blues

by A.M. Arthur, author of Stand By You (Carina Press)

I have to admit, I’m not much of a trend follower in terms of what I choose to write, but I do pay attention to what’s popular in romance. Billionaire heroes are always a romance go-to, and motorcycle club books are trending pretty heavily. There will always be the sexy doctor, lawyer or lawman. And professional sports hero, of course. But there’s one particular kind of hero that is a favorite of mine.

The blue-collar hero. Give me car mechanics, plumbers, construction workers, maintenance men, cable men, and truck drivers. They are far more abundant in real life than billionaires are, and the muscles they acquire from the physical nature of their jobs are super sexy. In my latest Carina Press release, Stand By You, one of the main characters works for an office cleaning service called Carridan Enterprises. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my hero is a janitor.

Growing up, pop culture gave me a skewed idea of who a janitor was. He was that kind of grubby guy with bad hair, who wore coveralls and hauled around a mop bucket. He might be married, but that was hard to imagine. And if the janitor was a woman, she was doing it because she was desperate to raise her four father-less children, but she knew the job was beneath her. Janitors weren’t glamorous. They weren’t really people.

Except they are people. All of the invisible jobs that no one really thinks about, like janitors and garbage collectors and electricians, have lives and hopes and goals. They have families. A lot of them are extremely good-looking (it’s always a pleasure when my FedEx guy drops a package off at work). And they have stories to tell. In Stand By You, Brendan Walker is completely at ease with his job as an office janitor. It is what he does, it earns him a paycheck, and he has benefits. He likes his co-workers. It’s comfortable.

Not everyone strives to be the CEO, the corporate raider, or the hot-shot lawyer. There’s nothing wrong with being average. Besides, someone has to clean the CEO’s office, right?

What are some of your favorite blue-collar hero books?

About Stand By You:

standbyyouThree months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job–bussing tables at his friend’s new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He’s working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.

From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex’s abuse, he’s wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it’s been easy–but Brendan’s feelings aren’t just friendly anymore…

When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy’s friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence–his heart.

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. When not exorcising the voices in her head, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Contact her at am_arthur@yahoo.com with your cooking tips (or book comments). You can also find her online (https://amarthur.blogspot.com/), as well as on Twitter (https://twitter.com/am_arthur), Tumblr (https://www.tumblr.com/blog/am-arthur), and Facebook.

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