One of the biggest compliments I received when Justice Incarnate was originally released (as a paperback in 2005) came from bestselling romantic suspense author Debra Webb: “Move over Lara Croft – Jaden Michaels is the quintessential heroine of the twenty-first century, full of heart and totally lethal!”
Webb’s words mattered so much to me because I’d modeled the female heroine of that book after traits I admired in the Lara Croft character. A kick-butt woman on a mission was the only type of character who could triumph over the book’s evil incarnate villain.
Female heroines in books and movies come in all shapes and sizes and more often these days, they come with plenty of attitude – which is as it should be in my opinion. Strong heroines have the power to stick in the imaginations and hearts of readers and viewers, possibly even inspiring the audience to reach for something strong inside themselves.
In real life, women prove every day that we can accomplish the seemingly impossible and make a difference within ourselves, our families, and our communities large and small. I believe acts of female heroics can be found in the profoundly simple as well as the dramatic moments of books as well as real life.
We prove our own staying power each time we show our tenacity and determination to overcome a challenge.
The movie Brave recently offered a dramatic illustration of the inherent power of women. While the storyline is about the strained relationship between mother and daughter, the way they showed each characters’ inherent strengths was lovely.
The mother wants the daughter to know all the courtly rules for a princess who will one day be a queen, and mom has mastered the art of controlling everything from her emotions to an unruly crowd of highlanders simply by walking tall.
When the princess later walks into was is in essence a clan battle in the middle of the great hall, she models her mother’s approach and finds it supremely effective.
Now, I’m not advocating that women should always put themselves smack in the line of fire. Rather, women should trust their intuition and have the courage to act when they have the power to do so.
We may admire and applaud brave men in books, movies, and real life – and what romance novel would be complete without a bigger-than-life hero? But I enjoy reading and writing strong female characters who are stepping up and seizing what they want out of life – whatever that is.
Live the adventure!