First off, I’d really like to thank the Damned Scribbling Women for having me today. I love stopping by this blog for a laugh or a thoughtful blog post and am thrilled to be here today.
When I was getting my MFA in creative writing, my fiction professors always told me that a good short story or novel must make its readers think. It must have a message and characters that transcend time and race and culture and creed. It must be real. These are, of course, many of the same professors who scoffed at me when I told them I wanted to write romances. The same ones who told me writing genre fiction was a waste of my talent—little did they know how little their advice was going to end up meaning to me.
Well, here I am a number of years later, writing romance novels and loving every second of it. And while their advice about romance novels was complete idiocy (I’ve been reading love stories since I was in fifth grade and I certainly have no plans to stop anytime soon) a lot of what they taught me has stuck with me—including the fact that a reader should be able to learn something about the human condition from the books she reads.
Now, I write two very different types of books—erotic suspense and family oriented contemporaries, both of which will soon be joined by paranormals when my first novel of dragon shapeshifters hits the shelves next year. And though my books lend themselves to very different plotlines, language and heat levels, one of the things I’ve found has remained the same between my NAL Heats and my Harlequin Superromances, is my characters—and what I (and hopefully my readers) learn from them. Whether I’m writing a kick-butt police detective (my September 2009 release Tie Me Down) or a surrogate mother on the brink of emotional collapse (my June 2009 release From Friend to Father) I tend to gravitate to the same kind of heroines—strong, smart and self-assured. Heroines I can respect and heroines I can learn something from. So, with no further ado, here’s a quick look at some of the life lessons I’ve learned from the women I’ve written in the last year.
Genevieve Delacroix (Tie Me Down—September 2009) A tough-as-nails homicide detective, Genevieve survives the violence of New Orleans’s streets by staying in control at all times. But when she meets her hero, Cole Adams, she learns that some of the most important things in life—friendship, passion, love—can’t be controlled. Genevieve has taught me the value of spontaneity and that coloring outside of the lines is often more rewarding than doing the same old thing.
Sarah Martin (Heroine of From Friend to Father—June 2009): Mother of twin boys and surrogate mother for her best friend’s baby, Sarah has taught me the importance of hanging on to my sense of humor. No matter what life throws at her—from overflowing toilets to a deadbeat husband to falling in love for a second, scarier time, Sarah never forgets to laugh.
Serena Macafee (Full Exposure—January 2009) Serena’s been through the emotional wringer—when she was seventeen, she survived the brutal attack that ended up killing her twin sister. Ten years later, her sister’s murderer—and her own assailant—is being released early from prison and Serena must deal with the emotional and actual fall-out. With her past, she is scared to death of being vulnerable—to anyone, including her lover, Kevin Riley. But as the book unfolds, Serena realizes that being strong doesn’t mean doing everything alone. So from her, I’ve learned the importance of standing on my own two feet—and of asking for help when I need it.
Vivian Wentworth (A Christmas Present—December 2009) Vivian reminded me of the importance of keeping an open mind. An attorney who’s spent her career fighting for women who can’t fight for themselves, Vivian is shocked and upset when she ends up defending a seventeen-year-old boy accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend. But things aren’t what they seem in the case and Vivian must work with her client’s mentor and guardian to keep an innocent boy out of jail, even after he’s given up on justice and himself.
So, have you learned anything from a romance heroine—one you’ve written or one you’ve just liked reading about? Leave a comment and be entered to win a copy of my June release, From Friend to Father.
The winner will be announced on Friday, September 18th, so be sure to check back!