If I were a heroine, I would walk gracefully into a room, greet everyone with a smile, settle on the sofa next to someone interesting, then proceed to join the conversation already in progress. Everyone would be delighted by my intelligence and my humor. Someone would lean over and ask me where I purchased that beautiful dress, to which I would reply I had made it myself. My hair is also perfect and my shoes high fashion.
Fade to black. Because in reality, I walk into the coffee shop where I write with my buds carrying way too many things, inevitably dropping one of them. I pull out my wallet and don’t realize it’s open, resulting in the spilling of coins, lip gloss, cough drops, and credit cards. Kind gentlemen stoop to retrieve the items for me and I rush off to order my coffee without saying thanks. My hair is pulled up in a bun messy beyond the fashion and my clothes are some version of fat behind bars.
When I write a heroine, I understand that imperfections make her interesting. Heroes have to be flawed to be useful to the story. But maybe they will be more human if I give them a case of the stupids. Maybe Valerie Hardy from Crazy for Trying can’t walk across her living room carpet without stubbing her toe. Or she tries to give Adam Dorset a cute punch on the arm and hits his chin. Maybe Adam pulls her in for a kiss and misjudges the force he uses, causing his teeth to cut her lip. No, these aren’t taken from my real life, why do you ask?
I have managed a touch of this in the final Regency Banquet book, Dessert: Pure Elation. Miss Amelia Winters is kidnapped and determined to rescue herself. She manages to start a small fire in the room she’s locked into and has to use her ballgown to put it out before it engulfs her. She does manage to make a hole in the floor and slip out into the basement which turns out to be part of the oldest remains of past generations of Londoners.
In the first book, Appetizer: Pure Seduction, the hero Cooper accidentally calls the very young girl Ellen Curtis by her mother’s name. That’s probably the height of the stupids. I won’t tell you how that ends, but in the last book, which I hope to get out this summer, Ellen is expecting.
Life brings up many situations that are embarrassing or difficult to get through. Sometimes writers have the advantage of being able to use those moments by weaving them into a story. Not often I can find such useful positives for both my career as a novelist and my lack of social graces. I can just yell plot twist and move on.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.