According to Webster’s, a heroine is a female of outstanding courage. She is also a central female character in a novel, with whom the reader is supposed to sympathize. And that’s where I sometimes run into trouble. Most heroines, in the romance novels I read, live life to the fullest, kicking butt and taking chances that many of us would choose to forgo. Yes, they fall in love with men who end up breaking their hearts and occasionally ignore dangerous turns and do such stupid things that we sometimes wonder WTF?!
But we love them, anyway.
Because we need them.
They fulfill us. They make us laugh, cry, curse… and they make us want more. And we do all want more. It doesn’t matter if your favorite heroine is Dorothy from Kansas (The Wizard of Oz) or Scarlett from Clayton County, Georgia (Gone With The Wind) or Jackie Laurens from Seattle (Flirting With Forty), we want more of these women. We want to see what they’ll do next, what kind of trouble they’ll get themselves into…and how they’ll claw their way out.
But about that sympathizing thing… I’ve followed many a heroine along her journey of self awareness and even self destruction, looking for love in locales and situations that many of us would welcome. Claire, for instance, has A Summer Affair in Nantucket. Gina finds drama on the Oregon coast with Mac in The Newcomer. Meg has illicit sex in London even though she’s The Good Woman, and Melanie has a road trip adventure in Time Flies. I’m just saying…as much heartache and trouble as these women seem to find themselves wallowing in, I myself could fancy a beach getaway or the tender touch of some super hunky guy… even if it meant I had to suffer a little along the way.
Why, even my own stories contain heroines whose lives are touched with exotic flavor. Pepper (Good With His Hands) spends her days building sandcastles on Malibu beach. Bailey (Kisses Don’t Lie) hooks up with a hot alpha male who just happens to look and sing like the late Elvis Presley. And in my most current release, Taylor Grant (Live a Little, Love a Lot) goes traipsing off to the Caribbean with an agenda to heal her broken heart, yet she somehow manages to find herself tangled up in the arms of a modern day cowboy who turns her into a gidiot. (For those of you who don’t know, a gidiot is a girl idiot, a woman who loses all sense when in the presence of a hot man.)
Speaking of Live a Little, Love a Lot, this book was a long time in the making, as I had to learn life on the island of St. John. Once that was accomplished, I inserted two characters who both needed a little fun and a lot of romance in their lives. Taylor Grant, as heroine, filled the pages with angst and warmth and laughter as I got to know her. And then there was former bull rider, Cole McKenzie as hero. Writing Cole was like falling in love. No—make that lust! He’s a man with a past that includes both physical and emotional wounds and, together, he and Taylor are like a smoldering fire, ready to spark into flames at any moment.
So, just how do we sympathize with these women—these heroines—who are living such large lives? How can we even identify with them?
Easy. They all want something they don’t have. Something that seems to consume them, that may leave them broken or bereft if they don’t get it or achieve it. And it doesn’t matter where they are, or what adventures they may have along the way, we want them to succeed. Their needs become our needs and they draw us into their stories and, if only for the briefest of moments, they make us believe in our own dreams.
Ah, the feisty, adventurous, sometimes gidiot heroine. She is me…and she is you.
Have you had your own exotic heroine/hero adventure? I’d love to hear about it.
Alexa Darin makes her home in the Pacific Northwest, where the nights are mostly cold, but the men are oh so hot. She writes about alpha males and the sassy women who love them. A true romantic, she believes that if you’re lucky enough to find your very own hero, you’ll turn your face to the sky and break out in love song.
You can visit Alexa at www.alexadarin.com, or follow her on Twitter @AlexaDarin or Facebook at www.facebook.com/alexa.darin. Live a Little, Love a Lot is available at Amazon, B&N, and other eBook outlets.