Besides being creative with words, she likes to create things - spending a lot of time sewing, crocheting, and scrapbooking. I can attest to the beauty of her work, which she often posts on her blog Creative Hodgepodge. According to Patty, organization is not her strong suit and her family wishes she would spend less time creating, and more time cleaning. Readers (like yours truly) like it just fine the way it is.
Patricia is here to talk about strong heroines. Welcome, Patricia.
I love a strong heroine. I've never sympathized with the female characters who sat back and let someone else take care of them. Why would anyone want someone else to make all the decisions? Rags to riches stories are great, but a person who works for it earns my respect far more than the woman who becomes princess simply because she's beautiful. I'm also turned off by the "too stupid to live" women who stumble into their happily ever after despite all the obvious mistakes they make. Give me a woman who knows her own mind and does her part to make her dreams happen, and a man who sees how he can help (not do it for her), and you've got a story for me.
While writing The Samurai's Garden I knew I had to learn more about fighting techniques with swords. Thankfully, I found an online course offered by a martial arts expert. The course was called "Kick-ass Heroines" taught by Rob Preece, who writes romances as Amy Eastlake. The course took place during the summer, so I had the time to devote to reading and completing the assignments. Rob was a wonderful online teacher, offering very usable advice, and answering our myriad questions.
I got a bonus from this class. While writing fight scenes for my hero, it occurred to me that putting the weapons in the heroine's hands provided a whole new dimension to her personality. Research into the samurai history showed that the women in the samurai's lives were every bit as ferocious as they were. Why not let my heroine fight alongside her samurai soldier to help defend her lands?
And so I found my heroine. Hanako is a struggling young subsistence farmer. She's lost her husband and her crops in a raid by a traveling band of outlaws the previous fall. She's down, but she's not out. When we first meet her, she's in the marketplace, looking for livestock, determined to make a success of her farm. Even when the hero steps in to help her, she's upset about his meddling. Later on, of course, she's grateful for his help.
I had to balance this strong woman with a strong man who understands her strength and encourages it. He's fierce and protective of her, but he fights alongside her, rather than for her.
To me, that's a true hero.
I love the qualities of a strong woman Patricia describes. What do you think makes a good heroine?