Monday, July 12, 2010

Dark and Disorderly

Sorry for the delay guys, but I was rather busy for the past few weeks. :-D Anyway, my friend, the wonderful Bernita Harris has an e-book out called DARK AND DISORDERLY, available here. I asked her to do a guest blog, which is available below. The blog is all yours, Bernita. :-D


Hellbenders

Tyhitia, you lovely girl with the lovely name, thank you for inviting me to guest blog today.

I love a kick-ass heroine. I love the warrior-woman trope. And I'm very anti-heroine-as-victim, especially of her own stupidity. That's stupidity as a character trait, the lack of common sense, not the occasional miscalculation that any character can make because of an absence of credible information about risks. A heroine can be a victim of circumstances without being a "victim." I have no use for the TSTL girl that sneaks out from a safe house to phone a friend just because of some rebellious denial of reality. Perhaps a similar wall-banging revulsion among readers has led in part to the creation of heroine who can kick ass and take names.

So what makes a kick-ass heroine? Often she is adept at martial arts via the Buffy syndrome, because if you are going to put your heroine in dangerous physical environments, she has to have equalizing talents at her command. So martial arts, knife savy and/or gun expertise are an obvious given. Urban fantasy meets heroic fantasy. Red Sonja lives in Chicago, or New York, or St. Louis.

Unfortunately, this trope is meeting a bit of a back lash. One reader wrote me that they were so glad that Lillie St. Claire didn't do martial arts, that she was so over Buffy. Seriously.

But it doesn't have to be a strict either/or in heroines.

Superficially, my heroine doesn't qualify as kick-ass. Further, she throws up from stress and once even passes out (though after the immediate danger is over--she doesn't cringe at the crunch) and isn't trained in karate, judo, savante, marksmanship... no street skills at all. In effect she is more a civilian than a warrior, or, perhaps, she is a warrior for the working day.

But she does have other characteristics necessary for kicking ass: courage, determination, dedication-- above all a willingness to confront evil -- to stand between the helpless and the forces of darkness.
And something else rather needful in fighting paranormal enemies, magic in some form, an internal magic, an innate ability that doesn't rely on magic talismans or enchanted swords.( I must say though, that I'm fond of the magical accessory trope too and doubt I'll ever get tired of reading stories that utilizes it)

Genres develope and change, and it will be interesting to see how heroines of Lillie's type are received by the reading public. So far readers have been overwhelmingly positive, but I'd really like to have your opinions on the type and style of heroine who satisfies you the most.

Dark and Disorderly - the Adventures of Lillie St. Claire - is published by Carina Press, Harlequin's new digital first imprint, and is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or where ever ebooks are sold. The first chapter can be downloaded free at http://carinapress.com/blog/2010/06/launch-book-excerpts/

Thank you so much for stopping by and talking with us about heroines in urban fantasy, Bernita. If you guys have questions you can ask Bernita in the comments or visit her blog here. :-D

11 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

You already know how much I enjoyed this Bernita. I noticed Lillie is rather hard on herself and sets herself high standards. (I liked that.) I did wonder if that aspect of her was modelled on you!

laughingwolf said...

a kickass post, bernita :)

thx for exposing her, t ;) lol

Bernita said...

It's true I'm often more critical of myself than of others, Fairy...and it's also true that bits and pieces of ourselves inevitably work their way into our characters.
I am so glad you enjoyed it because I respect your opinion particularly.

That's a neat turn of compliment, LW! Thank you.

Amy Lavender Harris said...

Lillie sounds a lot like Bernita herself. [Bernita will deny this but I have insider knowledge.]

Laurel said...

Ha! I must say I quite agree with the reader who appreciated a strong female protag who isn't an uber black-belt ;)

There were so many things to love about Dark and Disorderly but especially Lillie. She's fascinating, feminine, and powerful despite moments of vulnerability.

It was just a tight story all the way through and with an infinitely enjoyable character to take us through it.

Yay, Bernita!

Charles Gramlich said...

Great post. I'm enjoying the book much. Am about a third of the way through it. Real life seems to have stepped into the way of finishing it quickly.

Bernita said...

Brat! I vigorously deny it!

Thought you might, Laurel!

Most of us don't have superhero skills but we manage to muddle along even in the face of rough stuff.I wonder if I was subconsciously asserting brains over brawn in creating Lillie.

Of course, Charles, I think a death in the family paired with a release of your latest book, Killing Trail, takes maximum priority.
But I'm glad you have enjoyed D&D so far.

K.Hinny said...

Hey Tyhitia!! I'm getting back to the blogs! Great interview Bernita! You're story sounds great! Good luck on the e-book sales!

Robin said...

Great post, Bernita! I'm really looking forward to reading your book. It looks wonderful.

Lana Gramlich said...

Very nice interview. :)

Demon Hunter said...

Thanks for coming by and asking questions everyone. :-D