Monday, 17 August 2009

The Women-in-Charge in Chelle's novels

A woman can do anything - that was how my parents raised me. They also believed that a woman could be feminine and still not be weak. Society, though, through the years hasn't always agreed.

I try to write my heroines to reflect both my parents' progressive attitude as well as reality in our world.

None of my heroines actually needed a man in their lives - oh of course the passion is a terrific incentive, but each of my gals could make it on their own.
In Bartlett's Rule Paige Andrews was raised in a misogynistic and violent household. Her upbringing caused her to make several wrong decisions, the first being needing a man named Hal to take her away from her parents' abusive home. She traveled a road of self-destruction and hit bottom, that was when she decided to take control of her life and began taking care of herself. When she met Lon Bartlett she tried not to get taken in by his seeming chauvinism, but he proved to be much more understanding than she expected.

Caitlyn Smythe in Forgotten was orphaned at an early age and even though she was raised in a relative's loving home, she thought that the only one she really could depend on was herself. When Brandon Price tries to protect her with secretiveness, she balks. Even totally angry with him when they are both held against their will, it's Caitlyn's calm head that eventually rescues them. Through the ensuing perils they face Brandon comes to realize how much he can depend on her.

Alli Davis is a lawyer in Within the Law and she takes her job seriously. Tom Hughes was her white knight on a dark city street and Alli is drawn to him, but not enough to compromise her responsibility even when she realizes that the man she is defending stole Tom's future from him. When the playing field changes and her client is murdered Alli steps in to defend Tom.

Young Davida Prescott is working her way through college when she meets playboy Adam Sherman in Courage of the Heart. Adam has a past that makes him question his own abilities and it is Davie's inner strength that restores his confidence. Her belief in him gives him the strength to get him past a threat and huge challenge from his former life.

In Final Sin Julie Jennings is a caring and competent paramedic. She meets Deputy Sheriff Jake Carlson at a horrific crime scene and it doesn't take long for the two of them to close the door on the ugliness of their careers and begin a torrid love affair. Julie comes close to the edge when she is stalked by a maniac who invades her privacy, but she refuses to give up on her job and putting herself out there to help others. More than once she finds an inner strength to keep herself going as well as encouraging Jake when his worries and self-doubts as a dad seem insurmountable.

Of all of my heroines so far, I think that Deanna Blair is the strongest in Hostage Heart. After losing a beloved family member to the floods of Katrina and then seeing her parents' home and livelihood destroyed in more hurricanes just a few years later, she takes it upon herself to find a way to help them rebuild. With a fresh high school diploma in hand she leaves her comfort zone where she has lived all of her life to come to New York City and find a job. Deanna meets Ryan Hunter during a bank hold-up and when he gets himself into hot water defending her honor she tries to reciprocate and winds up becoming a victim.

~~~

12 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Chelle, wow, your heroines are in charge. Great line up of strong women.
BTW, it just may be my computer, but all I get is a red x for your pic or vid.

Chelle Cordero said...

Savanna,

Thanks for letting me know about the video - it is a YouTube video of Helen Reddy singing I Am Woman. The direct link is http://bit.ly/17YPAh in case anyone else has that problem and wants to listen.

I've always felt very empowered by that song - and yeah, I heard it when it first came out!

Thanks for coming by the blog.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Excellent blog and celebration of heroines, Chelle! Thank you.

I admire the ways in which you make your women strong, protective, nurturing and sensitive. With some interesting issues. They are intriguing folk who often inspire the heroes.

I'd love to be like that in real life!

(Speaking of inspiration I was thrilled by the achivements yesterday of our two heptathlon women athletes. Jessica Ennis came back to win from serious injury.)

Lindsay ((()))

Lindsay Townsend said...

Excellent blog and celebration of heroines, Chelle! Thank you.

I admire the ways in which you make your women strong, protective, nurturing and sensitive. With some interesting issues. They are intriguing folk who often inspire the heroes.

I'd love to be like that in real life!

(Speaking of inspiration I was thrilled by the achivements yesterday of our two heptathlon women athletes. Jessica Ennis came back to win from serious injury.)

Lindsay ((()))

Chelle Cordero said...

Hi Lindsay,

I imagine that all of Britain is thrilled with Ennis' showing - she did make a marvelous comeback.

I grew up with a few marvelous examples of strong women - my maternal grandmother was always striving to learn and do. She was a young widow in the 1940's with 3 children, the oldest was 23, the youngest was 13. She ran businesses, was active in her religious community and married (4 more times). She was one of my dearest friends.

My mom was physically disabled but mentally on top of everything. She was a terrific problem solver, very smart, knew just how to encourage people... When my dad passed away, I saw how very strong my mom really was.

Thing is, you don't have to be a CEO or an athlete to be strong and accomplished - you just have to take charge of your life and be willing to do things even if they are beyond your comfort zone.

Thanks for coming by the blog.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Chelle, you're writing the kind of women I want to read about - the kind of women I'd be happy to have as friends. Strong women, confident in their own abilities, happy to have a man in their lives but not dependent, and certainly not women who feels their lives are somehow lacking without one. What a line-up you have there! And, oh, isn't that just such a great song. Wonderful to hear it again, and yes, I also remember it first time round....but we were all very young at the time, were we not??!!! ;-) Wonderful, wonderful stuff, thank you, Chelle!

Jane x

Chelle Cordero said...

Thank you Jane for your lovely words. Women who are self-sufficient are to be admired.

Back when Helen Reddy was singing her song, we were fighting for "true equality" which meant allowing women a choice in how to live their lives. Out the window with predispositions; it was okay for a woman to be "out in the business world" and at the same time she wasn't demeaned IF SHE DECIDED to stay home and manage a house. It was her decision.

I got married in 1975 and I remember the shock when one of my credit card companies canceled my card when I asked for the name change - their reason, a married women HAD to have the credit in her husband;s name! I kept the balance of my cards in my maiden name after that. Oh and of course we had to legally assume our husband's last name. (BTW, Cordero IS my maiden name and I have since fought to use it legally and hyphenated with my hubby's surname) My daughter got married 2 years ago and she & her hubby) actually had a choice as to what last name they each would be using!

We've still got a long, long way to go - but times they are a'changing!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

That's extraordinary about the credit card company, Chelle. Well, it seems extraordinary, but actually, things like that happened all the time. I actually did take my husband's name, but I very rarely refer to myself as 'Mrs,' not because I have a problem with the title per se, but I don't see what business it is of anyone else's if I'm married or not. There is still a long, long way to go, but we're getting there. Btw, I love the way Helen Reddy sings that song, just matter of fact and straightforward - as if to say, how could it possibly be any other way? It's so good.

J x

LK Hunsaker said...

Chelle, I appreciate stories that show heroines growing from where they started to become independent. A lot of women have to struggle to learn that.

Love that song!

Chelle Cordero said...

not just women, but I think it is human nature for some folks to rationalize staying "where they are" by thinking - "Ok, I didn't like it but I survived today. It's better than the unknown."

Change and growth can be very scary. In Bartlett's Rule when Paige hits bottom she realized that there would come a day when she didn't get through the day and she had to make a change. In Hostage Heart Deanna knew how much had been lost but she could have chosen to stay under her parents' protective wings and let them figure out how to survive and rebuild; that is why I think she is so courageous, she truly ventured into the unknown.

Linda Swift said...

Chelle, I'm late getting to the blog site this week but I did enjoy reading about all of your heroines. And I can relate to the name change issue. I write under my maiden name only even thought Swift Reeder would be kind of catchy for a writer, wouldn't it? But using my maiden name makes me feel that writing is my own statement, and after all, I owe my love of writing to my father and my fraternal grandmother, not my husband and his family. Wishing you continued success with your books. Linda

Chelle Cordero said...

Thanks for coming by Linda - the beauty of blogging is that there is never a "too late" to arrive.

Yes, you worded it perfectly, writing is my own statement. I am very proud of being Mrs. E, Mark's wife, Jenni's mom, Marc's mom - but I am Chelle Cordero, that's ME.