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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Guest Blog: Em Petrova: Damaged Goods

You’ve probably heard the old writing advice of “torture your characters.” As authors we’re supposed to happily tie them up in knots—real or emotional—and make their bad day into stuff of legend.

We’re also supposed to give our characters flaws. I’m not talking about a freckle that’s three inches too far to the left. I mean real down and dirty problems that make their lives hell. Why?

Imagine you’re reading a book about a heroine—5’6” tall, slender, long legs, great breasts. She rolls out of bed with perfect hair for her dream job. She has the best boss in the world, supportive parents and great friends. She meets a gorgeous rich man and bleh bleh bleh. Yes, that’s me retching. Because where is the fun if the world is pink cotton candy and rainbows for this woman?

Now let’s imagine she looks the same but she walks with a limp. Immediately she’s more intriguing. What happened? She bears the stigma of walking differently. She’s flawed—damaged goods. And we like her a lot better because she’s imperfect and so are we.

In my latest biker romance HEART TIES (book 2 of Club Ties, the main characters are far from perfect. They’ve been hurt by others or have self-destructed to the point of doing real damage both physically and emotionally.

Delta has been beaten down by the people who are supposed to love her. No one calls her by her name. In her motorcycle club, she’s known as Girl. And she knows how to take a blow across the face by a man wearing knuckle rings.

Ex-Marine Drake has seen and done horrific things. As a result, he’s drowned his memories in a bottle of Scotch. He has no one to blame for his tragedies but himself.

Drake and Delta are two half-completed puzzles. Together they fit. The image on the jigsaw isn’t perfect either, but it’s okay because they’re happy without the rainbow and cotton candy.

My advice as a reader AND a writer is yes, go ahead and heap troubles and flaws on your characters. A well-thought out character will have problems that mesh with the plot and at the end of the day, the character has growth and your readers have a new best friend or book boyfriend.

Thanks for reading! Please enjoy a description of HEART TIES and enter my Rafflecopter giveaway to win a photo of Jax from Sons of Anarchy autographed by Charlie Hunnam!

The only thing keeping Ex-Marine Drake from drinking himself into an early grave is his love of leather, horsepower, and his motorcycle club. Battling to adapt to a world where he isn’t blowing everything up, he roams the highways to keep his mind off his past. But after a mission to kidnap the curvy, tattooed goddess, Delta, he finds avoiding the bottle a little easier. Especially since he can only dream of finding solace against her silky body.

Delta would do anything to escape a life where pain and fear control her. She’s lived as a slave and outsider since she could walk. When a scary biker clan storms into her life and introduces her to her long-lost sister, she’s shocked to find warmth and comfort. While Delta knows better than to hope for a life she can’t have, Drake refuses to let her slip back into the hell she knows.

Plunged into a world of gambling, guns, and drugs isn’t her idea of paradise, but hunky Drake makes her pulse pound. Is it too much to believe that Drake can save her from her torment? And what can she do about extinguishing that burning, haunted look in his eyes?




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Sam Cheever said...

Great post, Em! I get asked the "perfect" hero or heroine question a lot in interviews and my response is always the same. The best H/H aren't anywhere close to "perfect", they're flawed, because that makes them relate-able. Thanks so much for sharing. The book sounds wonderful!

Melissa Keir said...

I love how you have shared this important part about writing. Flawed isn't bad but vital to a good story!

All the best!! <3 Ya Em!

Lynda Bailey said...

Awesome post, Em! For our characters, damaged is good - unlike say for a coffeemaker... ;)
Best of luck with HEART TIES. Sounds like a great read!

Sandy said...

A great post, Em. Yes, readers want heroes and heroines that have problems to endure so they can relate to them.

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