Are flawed heroines allowed in romance?

In real life, no one is perfect. Point in case I’ve been meaning to write this blog post forever, but you know, life.

Contemplating the imperfection of life makes me reflect on my upcoming release, MODERN HEART. This book will be the third in my City Love series and focuses on Scarlett.

Scarlett’s a lot of things: sassy, smart, witty, talented and funny. But if I’m being honest it’s her flaws that make me love her so much. When she’s in a bad mood? Let’s just say there should be a warning siren letting people know to clear the area. Trade funny for sarcastic, and sassy for grumpy. You get the picture.

The brooding hero IN ROMACE FICTION

Leave me alone. I'm brooding. Richard Armitage as John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Do yourself a favour and watch it. Now. Or he'll brood some more . . .
Leave me alone. I’m brooding. Richard Armitage as John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Do yourself a favour and watch it. Now. Or he’ll brood some more . . .

The romance genre is known for bringing dark, sometimes dangerous, brooding characters to life. We generally don’t bat an eyelid at the concept of a brooding hero. Actually, that’s not entirely correct. A lot of readers would flutter their eyelashes at the prospect of a handsome, brooding type!

Why then should we not allow heroines to brood too? Often our leading ladies are bright, if not somewhat determined, types. Point in case, Christa from The Boyfriend Sessions, nickname is Bubbles. And Cate’s story, which will be the fourth and last in my City Love series, will challenge Christa for lovability.

Why leading ladies need to be human too

But vanilla gets boring if it’s the only flavour on offer. Variety is the spice of life and while there are some well loved romance genre tropes, I believe readers like to mix things up too.

I won’t lie. The prospect of writing a story with a character like Scarlett thoroughly excited me (it also scared me a little too). Because I love how human she is. She gets grumpy. She sometimes snaps at people. She makes bad decisions when it comes to her love life and her career.

As a writer there can be a lot of humour in that imperfection. There’s also a lot of opportunity to take that sort of character on an emotional journey. Scarlett may never be perfect (no one will), but she can grow and change, and hopefully that’s what my readers will discover when they read her book.

Can chick lit teach romance a thing or two?

Bridget Jones exerciseFor those of you who read chick lit you’ll already appreciate the idea of a less than perfect heroine. I wrote a little about that when I looked at the flawed chick lit heroine.

Personally I’d like to see more of this in the romance genre in as well. And I don’t mean flawed in a stereotypical timid, shy, innocent type of romance heroine.

I’m talking about the swears too much, thinks of herself too much, puts her foot in her mouth, screws things up sort of heroine.

Kind of just like in real life. Well, not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. I hardly ever put my foot in my mouth, swear too much or screws things up 😉

What about you? Do enjoy reading stories about less than perfect romance heroines? Or should the brooding be left strictly to the heros?

You can read the blurb for MODERN HEART here.



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