Sunday, May 02, 2010

Guest Blogger: Annette McCleave

The winner of Annette's book is: Pamk! Congrats, Pamk! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Annette. Thanks to everyone who participated.
The Flawed Heroine

A few weeks ago, I read with interest the debate on
Dear Author over the double standard used to judge heroines versus heroes. My interest was more than just simple curiosity—the heroine in my second book, Lena Sharpe, is an antiquities thief who makes a difficult and dubious bargain for personal reasons, and I wondered how she might be perceived by readers.

As a reader, I tend to hold heroines to a higher standard—mostly because I like to identify with them. I’ve never been a thief, nor do I think stealing is an admirable career choice, but my reasons for making my heroine a thief was based on her personal history—she needed to be able to make a living from an early age and the one tool at her disposal was an in-depth knowledge of Egyptian artifacts. Her motivations, which I won’t reveal here for spoiler reasons, rang true for me.

I also enjoy reading about heroines who aren’t perfect—because I’m certainly not—and I hoped my readers would enjoy Lena Sharpe and her unusual background, as well. Here’s a small excerpt from the story:

A quick snap of her leg against the man’s relaxed thumb and Lena cleared his grasp. A miracle, really, considering her heart was ricocheting around in her chest and her muscles barely had the sense to do her bidding. Her first kick should have been followed by a prompt second. Instead, she’d hesitated. Why? Was she really that easily undone by a handsome face?

A heart-stoppingly handsome face, to be fair, but still . . .

Punishing him for her brief enthrallment, she delivered an uncompromising kick to the intruder’s crown jewels. His eyes rolled back in his head and he slid to his knees with a faint moan. Lena wasted no time. Leaping from the chair, she dove over the big teak desk and snatched the coin box from the open vault. Any normal man would have succumbed to her sleep spell. That fact that this one hadn’t spoke volumes.

Get out, get out, get out.

There was no time to finish the job, no time to clean up, no time to collect her knapsack. In a brief, thoughtless moment, this fool had ruined all her carefully laid plans. And it wasn’t just her reputation on the line this time.
Get out now.

Box clutched to her chest, she sprang for the huge picture window overlooking the gardens. Headfirst, she smashed through the leaded glass, then rolled in midair to drop to the ground on her feet amid the shards. She shook her head to rid her ponytail of glass, then ran. The breaking glass should rouse the household, but Lena took the added precaution of flinging an enliven spell back at the house.

The alarms immediately sprang back to life, and seconds later she felt the motion sensors pulse a silent message to Duverger’s guardhouse. Her intruder had been in stealth mode, slinking about the room like a panther on the prowl. He didn’t work for Duverger. Chances were very good his intent had been the same as hers—to steal the coins—and the Frenchman’s army of bodyguards would be all over him in minutes.

Deal with that, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Annoying.

I think it’s fair to say that unless the backstory supports the choices the heroine made, and the heroine shows remorse over her inappropriate actions by the end, forgiving her would be tough. But do you think we’re more forgiving of a flawed heroine in paranormal romance and urban fantasy stories, a little more willing to see if the heroine grows in the right direction as the story progresses?

Lena’s story, Bound by Darkness, is the second book in the Soul Gatherer series and it officially goes on sale tomorrow. To celebrate, one random commenter from today’s post will receive a signed copy. Good luck!

Annette's winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you won.


Blogger Katie said...

Congrats on the release!

I think that it easier to forgive a heroine who is flawed if they grow from their experience.


6:34 PM  
Blogger s7anna said...

Congratulations on the new release!

I'm always drawn to characters who are flawed or eccentric in some way...perfection is boring and a state that I can't relate to...flaws make a character more endearing to me and it's always interesting to see how they overcome or conquer their fears and flaws.


7:40 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Congratulations on the new release!

I love it when characters have flaws. It makes them a little more realistic and gives them definition and room to grow; room for characterization.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Cybercliper said...

For me, as long as the heroine's actions are true to her character and the story she can be or do anything. One of my favorite heroines is a drug addicted street person named Logan (Eternal Seduction, Jennifer Turner). I loved Drawn into Darkness and have been waiting for the next Soul Gatherers installment. Congrats!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Cecile Smutty Hussy said...

Congrats on the release ms. McCleave!
My Lynda thanks for introducing us to another wonderful new author!!!!!

A flawed characters makes them more believable! That is what makes them whole to us!!!!

10:28 PM  
Blogger Annette McCleave said...

First off, thanks to Lynda for letting me share my release excitement on her blog.

Katie--Thanks for the congrats! And I agree.

s7anna--I'm right there with you on the imperfections. :-) It is hard to relate to someone who doesn't have any.

Candace--I love characters with flaws, too. I especially love it when an author creates a character who seems irredeemable at first, but who manages to tug at your heart strings by the end.

Cybercliper--Oooh, Logan sounds very intriguing. I'll have to check her out.

Cecile--Lena has flaws, no doubt about that. :-)

3:32 AM  
Anonymous Victoria Roder said...

Sounds like a fun read, Annette. Congratulations.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Bobbye Terry said...


I have impatiently waited for the second in this series, even went to B&N and they told me I had to wait till Tuesday. I read "Drawn into Darkness" and loved it, from the hero and heroine all the way to the warped(my kind of) humor surrounding the character Death Having met Brian in the first book, I'm interested to see how he changes. I am a writer myself, just starting an attempt at a solo career after fifteen years writing with a partner. Now, if I can just get an agent.;)

Good blog,

Bobbye Terry

7:46 AM  
Blogger Annette McCleave said...

Thanks, Victoria!

Bobbye--thanks so much for the kind words! I hope you enjoy Bound as much as you liked Drawn. :-) Lots of luck on the agent hunt--the querying process can be grueling, but if you keep at it, it'll happen.

8:34 AM  
Blogger tetewa said...

Sounds good, congrats on the release!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Annette McCleave said...

Thanks tetewa!

9:33 AM  
Blogger Spav said...

Congrats on your release!
I've never read any of your books, but they sound really interesting.


10:44 AM  
Blogger Danny said...

Congrats to the new release! I loved the first book and am looking forward to read the new one

11:45 AM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Congratulations on your new release. I look forward to reading your books!! Thanks again for stopping by.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Ina said...

Hi Annette :)
congrats on the new release - can't wait to get my hands on it!!!
I love to read about non-perfect protas - I can identify me with them because there is no perfect man or woman out there and it wouldn't be interesting, would it?
greetings, Ina

1:06 PM  
Blogger Annette McCleave said...

Spav--Hopefully you'll get the chance either through the draw, or later. Thanks for stopping by!

Danny--Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed Drawn into Darkness.

Thanks Rosie!

Hi Ina! Nice to 'see' you! As a thief, Lena has some work to do to earn everyone's respect. :-)

1:33 PM  
Blogger mariska said...

Wohoooo ! congrats on the release Annette !

i'm so hoping to win this signed book :)

6:30 PM  
Blogger Pamk said...

congrats on the new release. Please enter me in this contest.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Linda Poitevin said...

Hey, Annette -- late posting this, but heartfelt congratulations must be thrilled!

And I'm definitely of the flawed-character camp...I love to see characters grow beyond both their and my expectations.

So when's your first signing in Ottawa? :)

9:01 PM  
Blogger Linda Andrews said...

Congratulations on the new release Annette.

I like flawed characters, perfect characters don't seem real to me and I find it hard to identify with them. That said, I definitely agree that characters need good motivation if they're going to act bad.:-)

9:22 PM  
Blogger Lynda Hilburn said...

Hi, Annette! Thanks so much for guest blogging. Wonderful post. I had a long day at work and just got home. It's fun catching up and reading all the comments. Some lucky person will win the book (winner posted Tues. evening).
Hugs, Lynda

9:31 PM  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

Oh my gosh, I loved the first book and cannot wait to read this one. This sounds as good as the first one so I'm anxious to get my hands on it.

2:23 AM  
Blogger Annette McCleave said...

Hi Mariska! Thanks for the congrats. Did you get a chance to read the ARC you won?

PamK--Good luck in the draw. :-)

darkangelauthor--Not sure about a signing in Ottawa. ;-) I'll keep you posted.

Linda--Lena has powerful motivations; hopefully everyone agrees that they're enough to justify her actions.

Thanks for hosting me, Lynda! Hope you had a nice relaxing evening after that long day.

Mary--Thanks so much! I really appreciate the kind words.

2:57 AM  

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