Scarlett O’Hara took Rhett’s quip as an insult. But we all knew better. Society-conscious, conforming, traditional, prim and proper ladies held no allure over the dashing realist, Rhett Butler.
Despite Scarlett’s willfulness, we as readers, cheered for her because she showed determination and grit. While she appeared selfish on the outside, Scarlett would have sold her soul to the devil to protect her family and her home.
As a romance writer, I strive to depict heroines that stand firm in the face of adversity even though they are trying untested waters—and even though society compels them to conform.
In More Than a Mistress, Erika defies tradition by donning her brother’s uniform and joining the Prussian Army rather than commit to a loveless marriage. Her courage earns her the love and respect of a man who comes to see her as an equal—not as a trophy.
Smart women read romance and smart women want to read about heroines who inspire them to triumph in life and in love. Romance heroines will settle for nothing less than a committed relationship with a man who is worthy of her love.
I love to craft heroines who come from a place where they have been controlled by society or by others to journey to their own self-actualization.
In Badcock, Sophia refuses to settle for being second best in Jack Badcock’s life. While being true to her own heart, Sophia shows Jack her true inner strength. It is through Sophia’s example that Jack discovers his own courage.
Expression of sexual desires is also necessary for a strong heroine. In Having Patience, Patience discovers she is in control of her own pleasure. Because she learns how to tell her husband what she needs and enjoys, the two move from a relationship of mutual attraction into one of deep respect and love.
Readers enjoy romance heroines who are in charge and in control of their own fate, who choose their hero because he is someone who adds to what they already are on the inside.
And isn’t loving who we are, flaws and all, eccentricities and all, inside and out, what it’s all about?