I’m always tickled and so grateful when receiving feedback from readers and other authors, and especially when they initiate a dialogue regarding the characters I created.
A few author friends have commented that Maddie Saunders, the heroine in my contemporary romance WHAT A GIRL WANTS is a great example of a well-developed romance heroine, and asked me to provide information on her character traits so they can share them either at a panel or at a writing workshop.
Their interest spurred this blog post idea, regarding heroines in a novel, and the character qualities I feel make for a strong, relatable female lead.
ABOUT MADDIE SAUNDERS:
She’s a twenty-nine-year-old, strong, independent, creative, sassy, modern woman whose laugh-out-loud moments are usually other people’s WTF moments.
Relationship status: Netflix. Chocolate. Yoga Pants.
Home: New York City, living vicariously through her fantasies.
Career: Full-time Travel Journalist, part-time extreme sports enthusiast.
Accolades: Holds the record for: “The woman with a black belt in mischief.”
Talent: Karaoke singing ninja.
Personal mantra: “Life’s a beach and then you have sex on it.”
- Sense of humor
- Shoots straight from the hip
- She’s a self-rescuer
- Goes after what she wants—most times in an unconventional manner, but she’s a writer and uses creativity in all aspects of her life. She doesn’t apologize for how she goes about getting what she wants, in her career, family, and sexual fantasy fulfillment.
- Relatable quirks.
- Quick wit
- She works hard at not allowing her past (and things out of her control) or her challenges define who she is.
- Cultivates and maintains strong, honest, friendship with both women and men.
- Sense of humor: She draws on it constantly, especially when there is a serious issue that hits home with her. Some may say that she buries her true feelings, and at times doesn’t want to face reality.
- She doubts her ability to succeed in a long-term relationship, much less be a successful wife and mother someday, because of the circumstances of her birth and upbringing.
- Shoots straight from the hip: She tends to say out loud what most people would think in their heads at times.
- She’s a self-rescuer: Wants to handle everything on her own, including financial situation and family situation. Yes, she does reach out to her friends for support, but she doesn’t fully let them into how hurt she feels because of her family situation, puts up a front most times.
- Self-preserved. She feels to preserve her well-being and most especially her heart, she fights against falling in love. Resists it, even though it is obvious she has a deep affection for her friends (male and female).
Maddie is the type of heroine that readers want to hang out with because of her relatability. She’s accessible to the reader, and because of this, she is able to become the reader’s alter ego, and gateway into the story.
She has a way of grabbing the reader and having them become involved in her life’s journey (career, looking for her biological father, and fulfilling her sexual fantasies, and finding love).
Readers will relate to her desires, heartaches, fears, anxieties and her highs and lows. She’s not perfect physically, but doesn’t dwell on things that she can’t (and doesn’t want to change) about herself, instead, works with what she has.
A complex woman that has a huge capacity to love, even when that person is not loveable. Her journey allows the reader to travel with her as she learns about forgiveness, true love, facing one’s fears, pain (both physical and emotional) and working at living with certain things in life that for her will never be resolved.