Monday, April 28, 2014

The Making of a Heroine (with a Giveaway!)

As a reader, what kind of heroine do you like?

Funny, smart, vulnerable, independent?

It’s not hard to think of heroines from novels who stand out in my mind long after I've read their stories. Anne of Green Gables, Scarlett from Gone with the Wind, Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet, Nancy Drew, and Katniss from the Hunger Games just for starters.

They come from all different kinds of backgrounds, but what makes those heroines jump off the page and become unforgettable in the readers mind?

Here are some basics that hold true for me. I want my heroine to. . .

Be believable
Be motivated
Be vulnerable
Be memorable
Be real
Be layered

As an author, that’s not an easy task. As a reader, I love it when I stumble across characters that pull me in and won’t let go even when that last page has been read.

Meet my latest heroine, Emily Hunt, from Fatal Exchange.

Emily is very different from the rest of her family. She might come from a family of cops, but she can gladly do without the adrenaline rush. Instead she’s a schoolteacher who loves kids, and the chance of making a difference in their lives. She's saving up to buy a house, slowly moving forward after her brother's death, and settling into a life she loves.

But everything is about to change.

When one of Emily’s students takes her class hostage, she has to draw on all of her strength to handle what happens next. And on top of that, the person she has to trust to save them all is the person her family believes is responsible for the death of her own brother.

What I loved about writing Emily’s story was watching her discover that she had more strength than she ever imagined. 

Your turn. What makes a memorable heroine (or hero) in your opinion? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

GIVEAWAY!

Leave a way to contact me as well in your comment if you’d like the chance to win a copy of Fatal Exchange. Paperback for US winner or ebook if you live outside the US. I’ll leave the comments open until Saturday, May 3rd at 11:59 pm PST.  “. . .a thrill ride from start to finish.” Romantic Times

PS. This is the LAST day to grab the ebook version Dangerous Passage for only $1.99! (Prices vary outside the US, so please check before you purchase.)


BIO: Lisa Harris is a two-time Christy Award finalist (Blood Ransom and Dangerous Passage) and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has sold over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women’s group, and runs a non-profit organization, The ECHO Project www.theechoproject.org, that works alongside their church-planting ministry.

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari.

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Drawing is void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.






33 comments:

  1. My list of classic heroines matches yours, Lisa. I have a harder time with modern ones. Too often rude substitutes for witty, and stupid is meant to be brave.I really like when an author can give a contemporary heroine a modern feel but keep her values, language and actions praise-worthy. Not an easy task!

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  2. I agree, Alice. Those heroines are out there, but one of my biggest pet-peeves is heroines (and heroes) fighting through the entire book until all of a sudden at the end they're in love. Really? :-)

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    1. And you can be sure they will have a long happy relationship! ;)

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    2. LOL Makes you wonder what would happen in book two then if it were written!

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  3. Sounds like an excellent story to read, Lisa! Lots of intricacies to uncover in Fatal Exchange!

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    1. Thanks, Eva. It definitely was a challenging plot, but fun to write!

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  4. If it's as good as your last book, Lisa...wow! Your Emily sounds like someone I'd like as a friend.

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    1. I never thought of that, but you're right, Rita. She would be a great friend. And as a reader I do like having someone I can relate to and would like to have as a friend.

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  5. Forget to add my address:
    ritagal at optusnet dot com dot au

    And here's hoping...

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  6. I like to see growth. I can't stand reading a book where the heroine finishes the same as she started -- or worse. (I hate to say it, because I know how much everyone loves the book, but I can't stand Scarlett from Gone with the Wind.)

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    1. Yes, Scarlett, on the other hand, wouldn't be someone you might want as a friend, but she was memorable. And I also think you're right about the growth. There definitely needs to be something that happens that stretches the main characters!

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  7. Lisa, great post! I loved Dangerous Passage, and I'm really looking forward to reading Fatal Exchange :) The main characters who fight all the time in romances often come across as childish and petty. I think that's why there are parts of GWTW where I struggle to empathise and connect with Scarlett as a likeable heroine.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed Dangerous Passage, Narelle! I really don't like the constant fighting in romances either. I'm sure it happens in real life, but it does come across as petty and childish.

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  8. I love your real-life heroine in Emily! It's great when they have to step up to the plate.

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    1. Stepping up to the plate means growth and stretching, so yes. That's what our characters need to do!

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  9. Your book sounds as great as ever, Lisa. I like heroines that I can identify with. I hate these perfect goody goodies who are not at all like me. And I share with a few others a dislike of those couples who really dislike their counterpart, often with excellent reason, and then suddenly discover they are actually soul mates. Yeah right!
    shirl.corder@gmail.com

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    1. I agree, Shirl. Very unbelievable to me. Sounds like as readers we are all looking for someone we can relate to, even if they are very different from us.

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  10. Lisa, Fatal Exchance sounds like an awesome read. It's often so difficult to create characters that come across on the page the way you see them. The latest story I wrote I had crit partners saying they didn't really take to my heroine, that she seemed snobbish, and I was like ... "No, she's not like that at all..." It's a challenge to make a heroine have issues or react in certain ways to situations, and not make them come across unlikeable. I like heroines who are slightly flawed :) marion.ueckermann@gmail.com

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    1. It is so true that others might not see our characters the way we do. And yes, I think we need to have h/h who are flawed. Finding that balance is hard between letting them grow in a difficult situation and still be likable.

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  11. Great post, Lisa. I've tweeted, etc. I'd love to read your book!

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    1. Thanks so much for spreading the word, Donna!

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  12. OOps, forgot to add: DonnaFCrowataoldotcom

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  13. Lisa, this is so timely as I'm working on a suspense heroine now, trying to get that balance of vulnerability and defensiveness just right. Your Emily sounds like just the sort of heroine I want to write... and read about!

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    1. That balance is tough, isn't it. I love strong women, but there needs to be that vulnerability, that flaw like Marion said, to make them real. Good luck on the story!

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  14. As a Brit, my ideal heroine would be someone like Miranda Hart, Dawn French or Lorelai Gilmore. Congrats on your release. mrsajward@hotmail.com

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    1. Thanks, Manda! Lorelai Gilmore was a heroine I really enjoyed with great balance.

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  15. Like your thoughts on heroines, Lisa and also Shirley's. heroines I can identify with even if I don't agree with their choices always. Please don't enter me in the giveaway though as I am in Australia and don't have an e reader.

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    1. You're right, Dale. We don't have to agree with the heroine's choices, to identify with them. I think as well that having the right motivation behind the actions helps as well, even if we wouldn't do that.

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  16. I like a heroine who has a realistic view of the world, and especially Christianville. Loving God is amazing, but it can still be a messy place sometimes!

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    1. Such a great point! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I forgot: jessicaeveringhamwriting@gmail.com

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  18. Jessica, random draw picked you! I'll send you an email. Thanks so much everyone for stopping by!

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  19. Lisa, I loved your list of the six "Be's" - they're exactly what I would say for my heroines as well :)

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