I first connected with Amy on Twitter before either of us were published. I was immediately intrigued by the premise and characters in her novel Assassin’s Gambit, which released just five days ago. She also has a “History for the Fantasy Buff” blog on WordPress where she blogs about all kinds of interesting topics like cryptology, cracking Enigma, and the fragmenting fantasy market. She’s here to talk about brainy heroes and share a bit about Assassin’s Gambit. Welcome, Amy!

fantasy romance

The heroes and heroines I love

are smart and passionate

What feature do you find most attractive in a man? Height, a broad chest, maybe a six-pack? Maybe you like a guy who plays a mean guitar, or who knows his way around a kitchen, or who makes you laugh.

I go for brains. The smarter the guy, the more attractive I find him, no matter what he looks like on the outside. Yup, I said it. I love nerds.

The heroes and heroines I love are smart and passionate. They’re the sort of people who might spend hours and hours in a garage, wiring together circuit boards to create a home computer. Or who look for a website to accomplish a certain task, discover it doesn’t exist, and build it themselves, learning how to code from scratch. Or who study chess in such detail that they learn all the openings and all the responses, and they play and lose, and play and lose, and play and lose, until they start winning.

I write my heroes and heroines nerdy, because I think it’s the most attractive trait a person can possess. Nerds are poorly understand and stereotyped as having poor social skills and being bad at sports. I don’t find these stereotypes to be accurate, nor is it necessary to write a brainy hero or heroine with those traits. Many brainy people are socially adept and/or great at sports—however, they tend to be so busy learning and creating things that they have less time for other activities. Sports and small talk may bore them.

Nerds tend to be underappreciated and misunderstood—but that leaves room for their intended hero or heroine to swoop in, see their passion and energy, and fall in love with them for it.

Lucien and Vitala, my hero and heroine in Assassin’s Gambit, are nerdy characters. They’re obsessed with the chess-like game Caturanga, and have studied and studied and studied it until they became masters. Lucien is often found with his nose in a book, and he quotes famous writers. Vitala’s obsession, besides Caturanga, is more pragmatic—she’s trying to free her country from oppression. She sets about that task with an all-consuming passion.

When these two misunderstood people meet, they immediately see the other’s passion. They understand one another at a deep level. And the sparks fly.

More on Assassin’s Gambit

Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the stunning Caturanga player visiting the palace. Vitala may be able to distract him from his woes for a while—and fulfill other needs, as well.

Lucien’s quick mind and considerable skills awaken unexpected desires in Vitala, weakening her resolve to finish her mission. An assassin cannot fall for her prey, but Vitala’s gut is telling her to protect this sexy, sensitive man. Now she must decide where her heart and loyalties lie and navigate the dangerous war of politics before her gambit causes her to lose both Lucien and her heart for good.

Where to buy

Where to find Amy online

fantasy romance
Amy Raby

So what about you? Do you like brainy heroes? Let us know in the comments. Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! Thank you, Amy, for guest blogging today! (The chance to win a book from my overloaded stacks in connection with this post ends at midnight EDT April 9, 2013).