In the real world, people often find themselves feeling overwhelmed, as if they are only one person and as such cannot make much of a difference. In romantic fiction, our main characters are people of action. They are presented with a problem and spend the remainder of the book seeking and finding a solution. Their attitude alone is empowering.
I've been published in erotic romance since 2009 and I've noticed that whether I'm writing a contemporary novella that focuses on sex and romance or a paranormal or romantic suspense novel, the underlying theme of most of my work centers around heroes and heroines that are focused on making the world a better place. It may just be part of their character make-up or the focus of the book.
I don't think that I consciously set out to design characters that are trying to make some kind of social statement because as a reader, I want to be entertained, not inundated with a political agenda. The characters actually grew organically out of the story that I wanted to tell.
In NO HOLDS BARRED, readers meet artist Jake Truhorn at a benefit where he is donating a piece of his work to help the city's homeless. He was, I think the perfect hero for an older woman who learns to see herself through his artist's eye. ASSASSIN'S KISS has an outcast and an assassin charged with killing outcasts, joining forces to save a shifter race that he's sworn to protect and she's unwilling to see caged. My erotic suspense novella, CROSS MY HEART, pits ex-lovers (by-the-book cop, Jack Sutton and liberal talk show host, Valentine Sutton) against one another as he tries to find out what she knows about a woman who may or may not have tried to kill her abusive husband.
Whether they are donating art, being true to their word or battling villains who would enslave them, my characters truly believe that as one person, they can make the world a better place. They strive to make a difference. I find that attitude empowering and for a few hours (whether I'm reading or writing) my problems don't seem so overwhelming. Reading romance is my "go to" activity this summer whenever I need to wind down from a stressful day. Because baby, it's just too hot to run.
Until next month,