Today I'm joined by the delightful Nina Harrington, whose most recent novel demonstrates a foray into the world of Romance Suspense by the award-winning author. In Deadly Secrets Anna Pefanis rushes to Kefalonia after her godmother is violently attacked, unafraid to share a hovercraft with heavily armed Special Forces headed in the same direction. Utterly engaging, Anna is indicative of a growing love for strong, 'kick-ass' heroines. Nina talks about the female sleuth in contemporary crime fiction:
I am looking at my keeper bookshelf right now and my eyes instantly hone in on some of my favourites:
*Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money
*Gemma Halliday’s Spying in High Heels
*Lisa Lutz’s Curse of the Spellmans
*Kyra Davis’s Sex, Murder and a Double Latte
*Angie Fox’s The Accidental Demon Slayer
*Jennifer Crusie’s Faking It
*Darynda Jones’s First Grave on the Right
*Charley Davidson’s PI and Grim Reaper Extraordinaire
*Toni McGee Causey’s Charmed and Dangerous
And lots more contemporary crime fiction featuring a female main character who drives the action. She might not always get her man. But she owns that story.
And that does not include my eBook collection and the books on other shelves from authors such as Tess Gerritsen and Tami Hoag. Two gals who know how to blend hard crime, police procedurals and kick-ass heroines such as female cops and surgeons.
And then there is my science fiction or DVD collection which includes:
*Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games; *Max from Dark Angel; *Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the eponymous heroine of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and of course Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. Science Fiction is full of them – which is one of the reasons why I think that this genre attracts a powerful female readership.
This is a fairly eclectic mix for a contemporary romance author.
But what makes these female characters so very special? So entertaining and appealing?
There is one thing running through all of my favourite crime and romantic crime reading. Humour and wit.
I feel that you need that element of light relief to balance out the weight of the crime or mystery, especially when there is violence and abuse involved. The pages of any novel should take us to a new world where we go on a journey with our heroine and our hero, as a reader I expect to be entertained.
When we pick up a crime book, we know that the main plot will be driven by the investigation of the crime, whether it is by police officers or private investigators or amateur sleuths, and the search for justice and the truth.
For me those strands of humour and witty banter between the interesting characters are the extra layers that make that investigation come to life and sparkle and keep us engrossed. How are these characters we care about going to cope with all of the challenges and twists and turns the story will throw at them? That is what keeps us up at night, turning the pages to find out what happens next.
- For me some of the key aspect of these characters are:
- They keep their eyes on the prize and won’t be distracted.
- They take charge.
- They are not afraid to do the exact opposite of what people expect them to do - in fact they welcome the opportunity.
- They are always intelligent and street smart – nothing gets past them.
- They dress the way they want and act the way they want – sometimes outrageously, and seriously don’t care about other people’s opinions.
- They like the boys just fine – but those boys had better be as good as they are when it comes to the task in hand or they are out the door.
- Most of the girls are carrying a lot of baggage from their past which can weight them down life. But they find a way to have fun and they always achieve what they set out to do. Save the cake shop, save the planet. Give the girl the job – they’ll see it through.
That self-assurance comes from a deep core of self-confidence and self-belief in themselves and what they can achieve.
They don’t need anyone’s permission to be who they are. They know who they are, faults and all. And that’s okay.
Now that. Is empowering.
Find out more at NinaHarrington.com