Friday, 28 August 2009

A Determined Woman

My heroine is intelligent, independent, and somewhat unconventional. Life may do its best to defeat her, but she survives because of iron determination and sheer hard work. She’s a decent woman, nice, but not too nice. No doormats or martyrs need apply

I write Regencies, and many Regency heroines are very young. Not mine. Her few extra years have thrown some troubles her way, but she’s survived on her own terms. She and the hero may disagree, but she doesn’t cave in to unreasonable demands.

And last, but not least, she’s beautiful. She has to match the gorgeous hero. As for a a picture, I think the image on the cover of Lady of the Stars is a good representation.

In many ways, my heroine is a lot like my hero (see A Nice Guy). The same standards apply to them both.

Since I like independent women, why do I write Regencies? In the modern world, we take independence for granted. In an historical, the independence has to show up in more subtle ways.

I supposed I faked it a little in my first book. Lady of the Stars is a time travel, and the heroine, Caroline, is a twenty-first century woman. But, even for a modern woman, time traveling back to 1817 is a shock. In any event, heroine that she is, she adjusts and thrives, with a little help from the hero.

My other stories are set entirely in the past. What do I do now?

In Pumpkinnapper, the heroine, Emily, married at seventeen. Now twenty-four and a widow, she takes care of herself when the pumpkinnapper tries to steal her pumpkins. The hero, Hank, in true hero style, offers to help her, but she refuses. Hank, again in true hero style, still tries to protect her, but she almost shoots him when she mistakes him for the prowler.

In one of my WIPs, the heroine is married off at eighteen. She uses her pin money and widow’s jointure to make a fortune. Another WIP has a mathematician heroine, who creates a code which the enemy can't crack.

And in another WIP, the poor heroine is living at the behest of her rich aunt. Rather than letting her aunt force her into marriage with a man she fears, she decides to earn money with her embroidery. Gracious, working! What a scandalous thing for a lady to do!

I haven’t yet written a story where the heroine goes mano a mano with the villain. But who knows? I like adventure stories, so maybe someday I’ll write one.

Thank you all,



Lindsay Townsend said...

Excellent blog, Linda! I really admire and like your intelligent, enterprising heroines - I love the way they are not doormats and yet they are still intensely loveable.

I'm looking forward to reading your heroine in Pumpkinnapper - and especially the lady maths whiz. (I'm full of admiration because although I would have loved to be an astronomer,I cann't do maths.)

Another super blog in the heroines series - thank you!

Keena Kincaid said...

I agree with you, Linda, when you say you have to show independence through subtle means when writing historicals. In eras when independence in neither practical nor desirable, it's a fun challenge to infuse it in our heroines and make it work.

Great blog!

Linda Banche said...

Lindsay, Lord Byron's wife was a mathematician, and the mother of Ada, who invented the idea of computer programming Ada also has a computer language named after her. That's where I got the idea.

Hi Keenna, thanks. I read so many Regencies, and I want something a little different. Independence is one way to make the heroines different.

Chelle Cordero said...

Your Lady of the Stars theme fascinates me - indeed what culture shock your heroine must have experienced. That she "adjusts and thrives" is remarkable and admirable; I guess it would be "too easy" to just loose one's independence - that she maintains it shows strength.

Great blog.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

LInda, I've heard you say about 'doormats need not apply' before, and I grin. Quite right too! Social mores change and the rules change, of course, but does human nature change so fast? There have always been women who wanted to be strong and independent, and managed that as best they could, sometimes against the odds. I like it a lot that you're writing those women while still being true to their period in history. Those are the women I identify with. Good stuff, keep at it (I know you will.) :)

Jane x

Savanna Kougar said...

Linda, from all the historical romances and history I've read women do have to discover inventive ways to be independent, to live something of their dreams.
I especially like it that the young heroine is not always your focus. For me, I find the older heroine generally more fascinating.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Chelle, I think all romance is part wish-fullfillment on our parts. If I'm gonna write romance, I'm gonna write what I like. I like independent women.

Hi Jane, writing independent women true to the period is a challenge. I don't want to write the so-called "costume dramas" or "wallpaper romances", which have essentially modern people wearing different clothes. There are tons of great contemporaries out there (like your "A Different Kind of Honesty") without trying to turn a historical into a contemporary.

Savanna, since romances are courtship stories, historicals that are strictly true to history would have extremely young heroines. In the 1700's 15 year old girls got married, and no one thought anything of it. Attitudes were changing by the 1800's, and 18 was considered too young. In my stories, I want mature women. If I decide to write YA, I would use a teenage heroine.

LK Hunsaker said...

Linda, nice way to 'shake up' the Regency, with an older independent heroine. I love stories that go against the grain. ;-)