I’ve written three very different heroines in The Salvation Series. Each unique in their struggles, demons, and emotions. I feel like they had obstacles that if the other one faced, they’d handle that same situation completely different. It’s what makes them special. Makes them real. But it also makes them a target.
We’ll get to that in a few.
Then we have the hero. The man. The alpha and omega of the story.
My guys are all (in my opinion) still sweet. Jackson, Liam, and Mark all have huge hearts and love with everything they have. Now, what if they were assholes?
What if Jackson had done something AWFUL and unforgivable? If Liam had been an asshole? If Mark had cheated? Would you be able to see past it? I think yes.
We’ve all read the books with the “hero” who cheats, f*cks and chucks, and verbally belittles the heroine in the story, but we love it. We think: he can be fixed. Or whatever goes through our minds as we get lost in the story. I’ve read books where if I were EVER dating that guy … he’d be gone. But as a book boyfriend … TAKE ME NOW!
That guy comes in and I’m ready. I want him. I want to be that girl he’s after because I can fix him.
But what about the girl? What do we think of some of the most popular heroines in romance novels? We hate them.
We think they’re too whiney, weak, stupid, immature … but why? Why can we forgive the asshole alpha male who spit on her?
I’ve been thinking about this more and more as I’ve finished my last book, DEFENSELESS. Charlie is unlike my previous two heroines. Catherine (BELOVED & BEHOLDEN) is much weaker. She’s been through a different kind of trauma in her life. She’s definitely not as strong as she wants to be. But that is her journey. She’s trying to find that strength to be the woman she pretends to be.
Then there’s Natalie (CONSOLATION & CONVICTION) is often called too sad. But then I think … well, wouldn’t you be? I mean hell, she’s been through the damn ringer! Her husband died, she’s alone with a baby, and trying to figure out how to breathe let alone love again. I want to cry just thinking of her.
And lastly, Charlie (DEFENSELESS). Charlie is badass, she’s a CIA operative, tough as nails, and pulls no punches.
She’s ready to kick your ass and would smile while doing it. She’s my idol. Yet, I’ve had those say she’s too tough.
So let’s recap … we have too weak. Too sad. And now too strong.
I wonder why it is that as women we have no trouble putting the heroine’s down. I can tell you as a reader it’s usually when I can identify with her or I can’t even begin to reason with her decision. I’m a pretty emotional woman. I cry a lot. I get angry a lot. I’m also pretty strong in a lot of areas of my life. My husband was military and I learned how to survive. Hell, he was just gone for five months and my kids are all accounted for. I also can shoot a gun pretty damn well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want those new Jimmy Choos (hint, hint).
Each of our characters offer something. The men, the women, the kids, the friends … they all bring a dimension to the story. Of course we’re not all going to like each character in a book. That would be crazy to think it’s possible. I don’t think most authors even want you to. Our goal is to make you feel. To make you think, and question what you would do.
Would I do half the things my characters do … NOT A DAMN CHANCE. I’m usually far less rational.
In closing I go back the original point … why are the heroes more forgivable than the heroines? I’d like to know your thoughts.