Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The vulnerable feelings of heroines

I am not the first woman who has had her purse stolen, and I won’t be the last unfortunately. Nor has this been the first time I’ve been a victim, even though the first time I had a caring detective assigned on my case and a determined DA behind me. This time around I had a $50 charge to change my locks and the bank wanting $32 for a stop check fee. It’s being a victim not just once but ten times over.

This experience has led me thinking of the heroines I have written and the ones I will write one day. The heroine of my first novel, Penny from Black Leather Pants, was a victim of a crime. I wrote her in the confines of romance, being whisked away by the hero, Kiley, to Paris in the name of healing. My second book, Spirals, features Kaori who survives not only a biological disaster but a devastating earthquake. In my latest book, An Innocent Heart, I have Louisa surviving the streets of London by being a pick-pocket, and an Earl who falls in love with her. All my heroines are smart, tough, and plucky. But have I done them justice?

I am left thinking about my work, the published stuff as well as books I am writing now, and I’m not sure if I’ve actually captured the correct vulnerability. Maybe Penny needed to be a little more shell-shocked. Maybe Kaori could have been a little more cynical. And perhaps Lou could have benefited from being a little more humble when nice people lent a helping hand. I don't know, I suppose I shouldn't second guess myself, but that's what writers do. We are constantly critiquing and editing our own work. These past two days I’ve felt stripped, degraded and frustrated. And while I hope never to feel these again, I plan on harvesting them for anything my future heroines might face.

-Beth D. Carter

Here is a small excerpt from my latest novel, An Innocent Heart:

Lou took one last look around the foyer, at the grand staircase that
arched up the second floor, and the doors off to the side that she knew Harry
was behind at that very moment. She sighed and moved slowly to the door
Wardell had opened for her.

Lady Lorraine had decided it would be prudent for the two girls to go
back with her instead of staying under the roof of a bachelor. No one had
asked for Harry’s permission, but Lou had a feeling Lady Lorraine and his
uncle never did.

Harrison William Kinnington was a strange man indeed. He was selfpossessed,
strong, and handsome. He was smart and keenly refined. Yet he
lived like a recluse, needing nothing, and apparently no one, save for his
books and plans of revenge to survive. He shunned society but immersed
himself in his own title. It was as if there were two men inside his shell, and
that made Lou even more curious about him.

Then, as if he had heard her thoughts, the library door yanked open.
Harry stood there, framed in the doorway.

“Are you going then?” he asked.

She nodded. “We’ll be heading out in two weeks. Perhaps we’ll see
each other again before then.”

“We’ll see,” Harry replied.

“Harry—” she started.

“I have a title,” he reminded her, somewhat coldly.

She nodded absently. “Harry,” she went on as if he had never spoken. “I
wanted to say thank you. I know you don’t believe me about not planning to
steal from you but…but I—”

He held up a hand. “It’s all right,” he said softly. “Lady Lorraine will
take care of you and Roberta far better than I ever could.”

That wasn’t quite what she wanted to hear.

She smiled at him painfully. Though he didn’t return her smile, Lou did
have the impression he held it back. Without another word, he turned and
reentered his sanctuary, closing the door with a soft click.

Lou looked up at Wardell. He was not looking at Lou however. He
stared after his master with a face bathed in complete astonishment

-Available from Boostrand Mainstream Romance


Lindsay Townsend said...

Super blog, Beth!

Lovely, romantic excerpt - I love historical romances and I hope this one sells and sells!

I agree about crime making one feeling very vulnerable. I was once phone stalked - not a nice experience and one which left me feeling faintly ashamed.

Congratulations on the release of AN INNOCENT HEART!

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Beth, sorry for your troubles. It's that kind of world now, and will only get worse in the near future.

I hear you about your heroines. Though, in my case, I wonder how best to write their vulnerabilities, so I will do them and the story justice.

Lovely excerpt and I wish you many sales.

Yeah, I've been stalked, too... I know the feeling. However, really, the fault lies with the perpetrator.

Unfortunately, in these times, more and more folks will commit crimes not because they would normally, but because they want to survive.
Truly, none of us are safe, except for spiritual protection.

Linda Acaster said...

I've never been stalked, thank goodness, but I once answered a phone call which included "...I can see you from my window..." and the shot of horror that zipped up my spine defies description. Thankfully it was a neighbour I didn't know who lives diagonally at the back of my garden, and his words were uttered in true naivity, but gee... did I close curtains before twilight after that!

I wish you well with the book; the excerpt is interesting.


Celia Yeary said...

BETH--I'm so sorry you were a victim of a crime. I've never been, but it's one of my secret fears. I take every precaution in the world to keep myself and my belongings safe. So, I can see how you feel so vulnerable. Often, I think there's little we can do about it. I like the premises of all your books,and your heroines sound super. The excerpt was great--I did enjoy it. Congratulaitons on all your releases. Celia

Kaye Manro said...

Congrats on your release, Beth. It's a wonderful romantic excerpt.
Good luck!

LK Hunsaker said...

A true writer will always grab experience from an event, good and bad. I imagine it will help add depth, although I'm sorry it happened!