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For those of you who haven't heard me say so before, there's nothing quite like hearing your words being read aloud by an actress, the sound coming through the headphones of your computer. In a word, it's SURREAL. When I first heard my narrator's sample chapter, I had to get up from my computer and step away. It was slightly unnerving.
The narrator was wonderful, don't get me wrong. It was just so very, here's that word again - SURREAL. But I sat back down and listened to every word of my novel come to life as Ms. Zimmeman read my words aloud.
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Early last month, my first novel - A SCANDALOUS WIFE was released in audiobook format. And I couldn't have been happier. Like most authors' first books, this is the book I labored over, struggled with, poured my heart into, the book that gave me my first lessons in the craft of writing. A lot of authors call that first book the "book of their heart", and that was true for me too. In fact, my tortured heroine, Lydia, was inspired by my grandmother as a girl; and therefore she is a character who is very close to my heart. Thought I relate more closely to some of my other heroines (personality-wise), Lydia's struggles are more personal to me than perhaps any other heroine I've ever written.
Lady Juliet St. Claire, the heroine of A SCANDALOUS CHARADE, is much more closely related to me in real life. She is sarcastic, she is strong, determined, a little on the spoiled side of things, and slightly unsure of herself when it comes to falling in love with Luke Beckford. (Not that I fell in love with Luke Beckford...I mean, you kind of fall in love with each of your heroes, but...Well, I think you get what I'm saying.) Anyway, I loved writing Juliet. I loved getting to know her strengths, weaknesses, and watching her grow.
These two heroines are as different from each other as night and day. Lydia was raised in a poor, unconventional, and sometimes very frightening home. Juliet is the second daughter of a once powerful duke. Lydia sees the world as a dangerous place for the weak. Juliet is much more singularly focused on her brother, sisters and her own small circle. Both are strong women, in their own way, however. And both are exceedingly loyal.
As an author, it's always fun to explore different sorts of characters from one book to the next. For me, it keeps the stories exciting and hopefully fresh for readers. What sorts of heroines do you most like to read about? Do you prefer to read about heroines who are like you or those who have a different outlook on life than you do? What characteristics, in your mind, makes for the best sort of heroine?
Back of the book blurb for A SCANDALOUS CHARADE:
Handsome ladies’ man Lucas Beckford has agreed to help his friend, an impoverished baron, win the affections of an icy heiress. It should be a simple task, especially for a seducer of his reputation. However when Luke catches sight of the enchanting lady, he is captivated with her pretty brown eyes, quick wit, and sharp tongue; and his desire to see his friend marry the girl quickly evaporates. Now he just has to find a way to convince the penniless lord to turn his attentions elsewhere—leaving the Ice Princess to him.
Lady Juliet St. Claire has always believed that her fortune would protect her from ever having to relinquish her freedom in marriage. Though fortune hunters endlessly hound her, Juliet’s outwardly cold demeanor keeps most of them at bay, licking their wounds or patching up their pride. However when Luke charms his way into her life, he easily melts more than just her heart. Unfortunately, the rogue is of the love ‘em and leave ‘em variety, and leaves Juliet’s tender heart in pieces. But when her fortune lands her in danger from an unscrupulous foe, Luke returns to her side, offering his help and protection. Now Juliet has to decide if her heart is strong enough to trust the rogue a second time.