Dawn Kirby, the author of Secrets, describes what she believes makes a strong female lead worth the title of heroine.
There are so many books out there that are written about damsels in distress. There’s always a handsome, unbelievably strong arrogant man there to save the day. They save her from every possible scenario and most times treat her like crap both before and after. At some point she wins his heart, he sees the error of his ways and they live happily ever after . . . for the most part.
When I wrote Secrets I didn’t want Leah to come across as a needy woman. She had some fairly major issues to hurdle and I thought it best to make her strong. Both on her own and within a group. That started with her mother. Mia knew what Leah would be facing if her secret ever got out so instead of babying her for the loss of her father and spoiling her as her only child, she chose to demand that Leah be at her best every moment of the day. Never ask too many questions, work hard and know how to take care of yourself. Most of all, Mia didn’t believe in whining.
In Leah’s case she has a number of amazing senses to draw off of. Thanks to phenomenal hearing nobody can sneak up on her. The dark doesn’t scare her. She can see better at night than she can during the day. Her ability to scent who people are allows her to either keep her guard up or trust them. The hazes she sees when emotions are high help her gauge the intensity of their moods. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but it always gives her insight as to who she’s dealing with.
When it came time to throw her into the world of the supernatural I used all of those senses and abilities to her advantage. She may not be able to use physical strength like the weres and vamps do, but being what she is, a dhampir, keeps her on a level playing field. They draw on her strengths just as they do their own.
As she comes to see what her new world is like and how it works, Leah is willing to do whatever she has to do to keep herself and her new found family alive. She sacrifices herself at one point, knowing Raine will be there to save her. Maybe not right away, but he will come. She puts as much faith in him as he does her. As they grow together as a couple, so too does her resolve to live. That alone makes her formidable.
For me a strong female character needs to have three things:
1) The ability to embrace who she is. – If you can’t accept yourself, why should anyone else.
2) The ability to accept that life isn’t always going to be picture perfect. – Life throws curve balls. Not all of them pleasant. Learning that there are some things you just can’t control is part of growing up.
3) The ability to push back emotions when things are at their heaviest. – That doesn’t mean she can’t feel. It just means she knows there’s a time and place. Losing her mind in the middle of a fight and breaking down into a crying heap would help no one but the bad guy. A strong woman recognizes that and pushes through to the end. When all is said and done, emotions take over. That’s when the dam breaks.
On top of all that, a strong woman loves, trusts and protects like her life depends on it.
Leah always knew she was different. From her extreme light sensitivity, to her ability to read people by their auric scent, she kept these differences secret.
Not even Mia, Leah’s mother, knew the fullness of her daughter’s differences, but she held even greater secrets to Leah’s past – the truth about her father and Leah’s conception.
With the escape of an old foe, Mia is too late to reveal to her daughter
the truth before Judith can exact her revenge in a wash of blood and death.
Thrown into a world unheard of, Leah discovers that she is not alone in keeping her secrets. That there are people from her parent’s past who would die to protect her. If she only knew why.
Raine, placed as her protector, hides deadly secrets of his own. Drawn to each other, Leah and Raine must uncover the truth before one of both are killed.
About Dawn Kirby
By day, Dawn is a typical mom running around after her children, catering to her husband’s needs, acting as a taxi driver, and gourmet chef living in Odessa, Texas, with her husband, and three children. Then by night she falls into a world filled with shirtless werewolves, lethal vampires, and dangerous adventures. Her short stories have been published in Seven Deadly Sins and 13 Tales of Paranormal.