Want to Know a Secret?

I am thrilled to have my dear friend, The Incomparable Claudia Dain back with us in the Lair today. Not only is Claudia back, she is here to share a juicy secret. So come, pull up an armchair and prepare to be delighted! Without further ado, here is Claudia…

claudia_bioWriters really do write what they know. 
 
It’s an old adage: write what you know. Lots of times, people assume (rightly) what that means is to write about medical stuff if you’re a MD or about Egypt if you’re an Egyptologist or about murder mysteries if you’re a serial killer.
 
Kidding on that last one. Or am I? Hmm. 
 
Writers do write what they know in that they write from their world view and belief system and experiences. They breathe life into every character, and the breath of life comes from them, from their own lungs and heart and mind to bring the characters to life for you, the reader. 
 
In short, writers write the books they’d love to read peopled with characters they can identify with in some way. Even serial killers. 
 
That’s not as scary as it sounds.
 
What this means is that a devoted fan of a particular author’s work will know that author in a very intimate way. 
 
I am a fan of lively conversation; zippy, fun, witty dialogue. This is true for me as a person and as an author. Therefore, my books are very dialogue heavy. 
 
I am not a fan of road trips and so there is no traveling in my books. If a character needs to be someplace else, I magically put them there. I only wish that could happen to me in real life!
 
British MuseumI am not a fan of food. I don’t like grocery shopping or cooking, and I’m not a gourmet by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, no one ever eats in my books. They may take a sip of a drink or be seated at a dining table, but I don’t describe the eating experience. I once read a book where the food on the table took almost a full page of description. I still bear the scars of that. 
 
I don’t write shy heroines because I am not shy. I don’t write “how can he love me” heroines because I can believe that he would love me. (What’s not to love?) I write heroines who choose the wrong guy to fixate on because I have. I write heroines who feel insecure about something because who hasn’t felt insecure? I write about good friends, about frenemies, and about acquaintances that may or may not turn into something more. I write about making instant assumptions and having that assumption be wrong. And also having another instant assumption be right. Because that’s how it is in my life. 
 
Which brings me to Sophia, the central character in The Courtesan Chronicles. Sophia is the courtesan in question, actually, a courtesan who married out of the life and is very happily helping other women improve their lives and achieve their very deserved  happiness (because all women deserve happiness). 
 
You’ve got know by now that I am like Sophia. How could I not be? Some part of me, even the tiniest part, is in every character I write, but Sophia, she is the most like me. Or rather, she is the best, most exaggerated version of me. My husband says that Sophia is Claudia on steroids. He laughed joyously when he said that—good man. Sophia is complex, layered, mysterious. But she doesn’t have any secrets from me. She is me. Sort of. I only wish I were as wise, as tough, as resilient, as beautiful as she is. 
 
I’m going to guess that you’re like me; you like to read books that are peopled with characters you can relate to and that focus on the stuff you find interesting. Seems obvious, stated that way, doesn’t it? But isn’t it liberating to realize why you like what you like?
 
What kind of heroines do you like best? What kind of heroes? Does your heroic type match your dream man? 
 
Caren, here. Claudia has offered one lucky commenter a signed copy of her Courtesan book, Daring a Duke. And I am also thrilled to announce that Claudia’s much-anticipated Courtesan book, Much Ado About Dutton, will be out August 26!!

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Comments

110 thoughts on “Want to Know a Secret?

  1. 1
    Mozette says:

    There’s a big diference between perfect heroes and the perfect man… this is because what we dream up on the page isn’t real; and trying to find the perfect man isn’t … um… going to work out as they’re not really out there.

    Now, that made more sense in my head.

    Okay, maybe you believe me about that… but it’s true. I love Christian Slater. He’s hot to trot! Really he is… to me he’s sex on feet… but I know that if I ever got to meet him, he’d probably not give two tosses about who I am as much as I do about him.
    However, just today, I met one of my new neighbours – Paul Barrett – who moved in not far from me in the unit comlex. Now I briefly met him last week, but just said hi. But today, while waiting for my dinner to cook, he invited me to have something to drink at his place. We got talking about all kinds of things. I can’t say he’s a real looker, but we’re the same age, get along really well, he makes me laugh and he and I believe in the same things… so that’s gotta stand for something. And he’s asked me out on a date – now this scared the crud outa me!

    Now, I’m looking for somebody to share my life with, but when this kind of thing happens, my brain completely freezes up on me and the rest of me (mainly my feet) want to do the 4 minute mile in 2 minutes away from the person asking me for the date… I really wish I didn’t get so doe-in-the-headlights scared of being asked out. But I do and I am…

    So, my hero in my books are big shot, action heroes with a 6-pack and a fast car, and in reality the guy who has asked me out doesn’t have a job, drives a 4 cylinder family car and is living in a share house and is average build and doesn’t go to a gym… he’s nice. :P

    • 1.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Mozette, I’m not sure how understanding your new friend will be about you hosting the Golden Rooster chez nous. But perhaps that is the real test of a relationship, non? :)

      Seriously, though, I am so glad you have met someone compatible and nice. Honestly, is there anything better than a stand-up kind of guy? I, for one, love to look at a pretty face, but that was never the main criterion for whom I dated. I prize a great sense of humor, similar values and a sense of decency.

      So happy for you! And yes, I totally agree about Christian Slater. What movie was more heartbreaking than untamed Heart? *sigh*

      • 1.1.1
        Mozette says:

        Most definitely ‘Untamed Heart’ was the saddest thing on the screen! And wasn’t he just deliciously aloof, long-haired and handsomely quiet? All the things women love about a man who is unattainable. :P… strange how we like that about a guy isn’t it?

        Yeah, the GR is probably going to polish off the gourmet ice cream I have in the freezer… damn! I was hoping to keep that from him! :P

        • 1.1.1.1
          Claudia Dain says:

          Mozette, going to answer in full Sophia mode—when a likely man asks, take the next step! What have you got to lose?

          Nice is the best thing a man can be. He’s solid, reliable, devoted, salt-of-the-earth. Say yes to that. One date. It all starts with one date.

          We’ll want a full report! Deets, girl. Share the joy.

        • 1.1.1.2
          Caren Crane says:

          Mozette, Untamed Heart made me a lifelong Christian Slater fan. And yes, we love those strong, silent, long-haired types. Sometimes they simply have no social skills (:)) but sometimes they are the prize no one has uncovered yet. I love the Christian Slater of my dreams, but fear he would not be like Adam in Untamed Heart if I knew him in real life.

          Best of luck keeping the GR out of your ice cream. He is quite the pig! :D

          • 1.1.1.2.1
            Claudia Dain says:

            Hate to burst the Christian Slater bubble (because I also found him very sexy) but it’s beyond rumor that he’s a jerk in real life. That put me off him permanently. Broke my heart, learning that.

      • 1.1.2
        Jo Robertson says:

        OMG, Caren, that’s one of my favorite movies. I put it in the player and “watch” it over and over while I’m doing mindless things. Instead of writing. Bad Jomama!

    • 1.2
      Jo Robertson says:

      Congrats on capturing the rooster, Mozette! Maybe HE can be your hero for the day!

      • 1.2.1
        Mozette says:

        Nah! All the GR did all day was hide in my garden around the new Happy Plants I had acquired from a friend… he knocked over the boxes and made a mess of them!

        Naughty, naughty Rooster! He didn’t even go after the chocolate or the ice cream!… strange that! I think he was after the bugs in the garden… even more strange… :P

        oh well, I guess he saw something new at my place and wanted to have fun with it. :D

        • 1.2.1.1
          Caren Crane says:

          I think he’s just bent on destruction. But mayve I should give him the benefit of the doubt! At least your ice cream was safe. That is a miracle! :)

  2. 2
    may says:

    I am so excited about Much about Dutton. It was such a long wait…. (I am on FB so I read your explanation for the delay and totally understand….)

    I like witty dialogues so my dream fictional guy would have to talk, talk and talk! Harder to find in real life. :) My husband does talk but definitely cannot live up to dream guy. But I guess I don’t talk witty all the time either! :)

    • 2.1
      Caren Crane says:

      May, aren’t you excited that Dutton’s book is coming out this week?!? I squeed like the fan girl I am! Although Claudia and I are friends (or som she claims), she never reveals anything before the book comes out. So annoying! :D

      You know, I love witty conversation too. There is nothing sexier than a man with a mind that can keep up his end of a pithy conversation. My husband, while very intelligent, is not from a family where witty conversation was the norm. In my family, the verbal darts fly around at the speed of light! So…I just trained my children to hold up their end of a conversation when things get witty.

      As for my darling husband, I prize the zingers he manages to pull off. When he finally gets one in there, it’s usually a doozy! :)

      • 2.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Thank you, May! No one is more horrified by the delay on Dutton than I am. This is the first time in my life that Life sucker punched my writing. It was horrible!

        I am a big fan of the witty dialogue. I’ve dated guys who did it and guys who did not—love does not depend upon witty dialogue, but it’s sure nice when it’s there!

    • 2.2
      Jo Robertson says:

      That’s so true, May! Many fictional heroes engage in witty and clever banter, but in real life, my experience is that most men don’t. Now, if it’s politics or sports, they seem to have a lot to say LOL.

      • 2.2.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        With my husband, it’s science and cars. He doesn’t follow sports. At all. But cars? I know more about car engines than the average woman. I blame him for that. ;)

  3. 3
    Connie Fischer says:

    I like a heroine who acts like a lady, is smart and kind. My favorite heroes are men who are also kind, gentlemanly and can show compassion for other people and animals alike. I also like for both of them to have a terrific sense of humor.

    Yes, my husband of nearly 47 years has all of these qualities. Wonder if that’s why I’ve chosen to keep him? ;-)

    • 3.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Connie, it sounds like your literary heroes and real-life hero are a perfect match. What a smart young woman you were to choose him! :) And yes, I would put money on that being the reason you have kept him around for 47 years. Y’all will soon have a Golden wedding anniversary. How wonderful!

      • 3.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Who could not agree with your list? I think that’s what we want ALL people to be like, all the time.

        Congrats on 47 years! My husband and I just celebrated 33 years of wedded bliss. Absolutely true. Pure bliss, living life with that man. Which is as it should be.

    • 3.2
      Jo Robertson says:

      Wow, Connie! Congratulations on such a long and happy marriage. We see so few of those today. I’ll bet you’re going to celebrate the big 5-0 in a big way!

  4. 4
    Kathy says:

    I enjoyed reading blog. Thanks. Sophia is one of my all time favorite heroines: smart, witty dialogue, caring, brave. I guess I lean towards beautiful heroines on the inside. I really don’t care what they look like on the outside. My favorite heroes are the same–what is inside them. I like noble, kind, honorable heroes. They do what is right.

    • 4.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Kathy, I am reading a book now where I realized the author never described anything much about the heroine’s looks – not even through friends’ eyes or comments. I find that it simply doesn’t matter. So, except for things that help move the plot forward (say, a girl who is plain in a beautiful family), perhaps it simply isn’t important!

      I do love kind, honorable heroes. I also like those with a rebellious streak and honorable intentions. They are harder to take in real life. :)

      • 4.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Noble. Now there’s a word I cling to. Yes, to behave nobly. My own favorite: honor. We don’t hear much about honor anymore, but that’s hugely important to me.

        Thank you for loving Sophia! I adore her as well. She is someone I never tire of spending time with. You can’t say that about very many people, real or fictional!

    • 4.2
      Jo Robertson says:

      LOL, Kathy, my mom always used that old adage, “Pretty is as pretty does.”

  5. 5
    Elizabeth says:

    My favorite heroines are scientists!

    Claudia, I love how you don’t write “how can he love me” heroines and how you know you are fabulous and proud of it!

    I am still skeptical of Anne and Dutton getting together, so I am curious how you will make him deserve her.

    • 5.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Elizabeth, aren’t Claudia’s heroines the best? They all have at least a little of Claudia’s indomitable spirit, I think. I, too, am waiting to see how Dutton proves his worth to Anne. She is so wonderful!

      • 5.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Thank you, Elizabeth! Warms my heart.

        Anne and Dutton . . . simply put, they are made for each other. She is probably the only woman who can handle him, and she is so eager to! LOL

        Caren, if I let you know what was going to happen in Much Ado About Dutton, it would spoil the ride! I keep my secrets as an act of love. Trust me. :)

    • 5.2
      Jo Robertson says:

      Yes, Elizabeth! That will be an interesting HEA!

  6. 6

    Claudia, welcome back! I am sooo excited that there’s another Courtesan book. I’ve read them all and was eagerly awaiting the next. I’ll be snatching it up come Monday.

    I like heroines with backbone. A bit of a smart mouth doesn’t hurt either, but it has to be tempered with a kind heart. Heroines (or heroes) who are cruel in pursuit of their goals, even if it’s only occasional, just don’t work for me. I recently read a book in which the heroine let the hero know–indirectly, via a comment on something he had given her–that his social standing was just not high enough for her. If he hadn’t been so great, I would’ve put the book down forever. Even at the end, I was thinking she didn’t deserve him.

    I felt much the same about the heroine while reading Shanna. She was a brat, but Ruark was amazing and, somewhat inexplicably, loved her, so I kept reading. By the end, Shanna had changed and grown (demonstrating not only backbone but loyalty and kindness) so much that I was totally on board with the HEA.

    Heroes have to be brave, kind at heart even if they pretend otherwise, and steadfast. And both h/h must demonstrate working brains and resourcefulness, regardless of education levels.

    • 6.1
      Claudia Dain says:

      Two traits popped out at me: steadfastness and resourcefulness. How I adore those traits!

      Kindness, of course, but I always assume that kindness is a given. Resourcefulness, that ability to dig deep and find a way, coupled with steadfastness, that holding fast, stalwart nature . . . wins me over every time.

      • 6.1.1
        Jo Robertson says:

        It’s interesting, Claudia, that these characters are what most “centered” women want in their real-life men if they’re going to find lasting peace with them. I mean, you gotta have someone you trust, right?

        I love stories where trust is an initial issue and either the hero or heroine has to prove their trustworthiness.

    • 6.2
      Jo Robertson says:

      I know our long-time readers and Bandita Buddies know this, Nancy, but ALL of the Banditas have spunk and spine! I think that’s one of the reasons our heroines are so … hmm, shall I say “lively”?

    • 6.3
      Caren Crane says:

      Oh, Nancy, nothing works my nerves like a bratty heroine! One who pouts is loathsome, as well. I simply wasn’t raised that acting bratty or pouting was a desirable trait in any human – especially not in children! :)

      I do love a steadfast hero, in it for the long haul. Hey, I married one of those! :)

  7. 7
    Jo Robertson says:

    Hi, Claudia, welcome back to the Lair!!

    Excellent insight into the nature of fictional characters! Thanks for sharing,.

    I like smart heroes; they don’t have to be university-educated, but I want them savvy, clever, witty, maybe a bit too blunt or rough around the edges, but smart in their own unique ways.

    • 7.1
      Claudia Dain says:

      Nothing is as big an “ick” as a dumb guy. LOL

    • 7.2
      Caren Crane says:

      Jo, I so agree with you. Both the heroine and hero should be able to use whatever intelligence God gave them. I can certainly understand a character being at her/his wit’s end, as long as they don’t get stuck there and dwell endlessly on their problem.

      I think it’s because I’m a Do-er. I want things to be resolved and assume there MUST be a way. If I haven’t found it, or can’t find it, I’ll ask others until I find an answer. I have no use for characters who don’t utilize their resources. LOL

  8. 8
    Jo Robertson says:

    I KNOW! I watched the season and series (I believe) finale of TRUE BLOOD this week. Disclaimer: I made a point to watch it because I wanted to see who lived, who died, etc. It’s gotten a bit too gross for me.

    Anyway, I noticed how cute and darling Jason Stackhouse is, but DUMB AS DIRT. While a fellow like Jason might be fun to toy with, he’d definitely not a keeper in my mind!

  9. 9
    Claudia Dain says:

    I’m not even sure how much fun dumb can be. After a few minutes, don’t you just feel so sorry for the guy that you want to help him across the street? Any street? Far from your street?

  10. 10
    Teresa Hughes says:

    I like heroines who are independent and don’t need a man to take care of her. Which means a hero has to be the type of man who can let her have her independence but, still be man enough to be what she needs, even when she doesn’t realize she needs it.

  11. 11
    Claudia Dain says:

    A man who is comfortable around a strong woman is very appealing. I also like a man who doesn’t belittle a woman for not being totally independent—like the times when I can’t get the gas cap on the car to come off. :)

  12. 12
    catslady says:

    I have heard authors say the opposite of you and that they are in no way their characters lol. I think I Iike your way better or at least for those that try to put things in books that they may not be interested in or care about. I do find that I like characters that are honest, tolerant, confident, brave and have a sense of humor. Some of those are qualities I have but some are not but that I would like to have.

    • 12.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Catslady, I think that is true. I mean, I wish I were the sort of woman who lost her appetite when she is upset. I’m not, but man wouldn’t that be a handy trait? :)

    • 12.2
      Claudia Dain says:

      I think what authors mean, and it’s true for me as well, that I’m not my characters. Not really. They are not me. But they are like me in some way.

      I remember one time I wrote a book with a “pleaser” heroine. That girl just laid there on the page. She never came to life. I rewrote just her, the rest of the book stayed the same, as a “don’t like conflict”–not the same thing as being a pleaser but kind of close. Changed the whole book. Needless to say, I am not a pleaser!

  13. 13
    Anna Sugden says:

    Claudia! So great to see you back in the Lair! Was great to catch up with, albeit briefly, in Atlanta too. Thrilled to hear we’ll soon have another TICD book to savour too!

    I like heroines who are strong, even if they don’t realise it. Women who are survivors, but not whiners *g*. Women who are prepared to give things a go. I like heroes who embrace the strength of their heroines and enable them to be even stronger.

    • 13.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Anna, it’s so good to have you back in the Lair after your birthday vacation!

      I agree with you about loving heroines who are stronger than they think they are. I try to write this sort of heroine. Or, if it’s a heroine who imagines she is very strong, to help to find her vulnerability. They hate that! :)

      • 13.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Thank you, Anna! It was great seeing you as well, and such a surprise!

        I adore a strong heroine. Can’t write any other. But I agree; it’s so interesting to write a heroine who is stronger than she realizes, has hidden talents that probably seem like faults to her.

        And, you know what? That’s EXACTLY how Anne starts off in Much Ado About Dutton!

  14. 14
    Caren Crane says:

    Claudia, I so love having you here with us. I really love heroines who, like your Sophia, are much more clever than I am. I also love brave, take-charge heroes. But I think my favorite heroes and heroines are those who are not afraid to look incompetent or dumb in order to help those in need. Often swallowing our pride is what’s needed in order to save the day. I love it when a hero or heroine does that!

    I wish I could do that more often. Pride is a stumbling block of mine, I’m afraid.

    • 14.1
      Claudia Dain says:

      I would never have listed that as a trait I admire, but you are so right! That is bone-deep awesome, doing that.

      And Caren, it’s not your fault that you can’t look incompetent. How could you, when you’re so darn competent at everything?

      • 14.1.1
        Caren Crane says:

        Thank you for being so kind, Claudia. In my family, we call what we have “The Curse of Competency”. Honestly, when one of us walks into any random group, they immediately start to assign us leadership things to do. One nice thing about the Banditas is that we are so competent, no one is trying to single me out. :D

        My youngest went to training for her new job working as Night Assistant in her dorm. At the training session, they put her in charge of scheduling for all the NAs. I texted her a welcome to the Curse of the Competent Club! :)

        Still, I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to feign incompetence in order to make things nice for someone else. It’s a goal of mine. :D Meanwhile, I’ll try to write some characters who get to be so selfless. Ha!

  15. 15

    Claudia –

    I was beginning to think your secret was that you wrote a contemporary serial killer book :-)

    Hmm…I like all sorts of heroines and heros. It’s the pop and sizzle between them makes me enjoy the book. What I do like are too stupid to live heroines, or extremely wimpy heroines or so arrogant as to be insufferable heroes. I want there to be a believable attraction that I can relate to. Otherwise, I’m good. :-)

    • 15.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Donna, it always makes me wonder whether an author with a TSTL heroine or super-arrogant hero is basing the character on someone they know. I could see having one of those as foil for an amazing hero or heroine, but as a main character, either would be hard to redeem, IMO.

  16. 16
    Claudia Dain says:

    Hmm. A serial killer book. I did write one once! That pleaser heroine book I mentioned. It was set in the wild west though. :)

    TSTL characters, male or female, are dealbreakers for me. I just can’t go there.

  17. 17

    Hey Claudia! Always glad to see you stop to visit with us in the Lair! Thanks for inviting her, Caren.

    I do love heroines who are somewhat like me. They need to be smart and capable, faithful (to friends, as well as their hero), courageous even if they don’t want to be, and willing to put themselves out there.

    My daughter is my cover designer and she was making me character trading cards to give out to readers for the book Close To The Edge, she asked, “Mom, is there an actress or someone who inspired you when you think of Bobby.” I sheepishly grinned at her and said, “Yes, there is someone.” Of course she asked who. My reply, “When I think of all the heroines I’ve written, I think Bobby most resembles me.” :)

    Heroes? I like them big, strong, capable of running into the fire if needs be, smart, good sens of the absurd, tender-hearted for his woman and his children. Honorable. They have to be honorable above all things. And a bit of a sense of exasperation when the heroine does something he doesn’t understand. My own personal hero has to deal with that a lot!!

    • 17.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Suz, I love it that Bobby reminds you of yourself. She certainly should, because you are one loving, resourceful and brave woman. :)

      I love your requirements for a hero, as well. Especially that last part. My poor husband has had to come to my rescue an embarassing number of times when I’ve locked the car key in the car. It’s probably not that many times, but each one is so excruciating for me! He is a saint, really. :)

  18. 18
    Kim says:

    Congratulations on the new release. I like both the hero and heroine to be smart, loyal and independent. The latter trait is easier in a contemporary setting. I also like a hero, especially if he’s an alpha, to have a few close friends or family members. It shows a caring side.

    • 18.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Kim, I don’t know why, but I tend to give my heroines tons of girlfriends and my heroes…no one. I couldn’t tell you why, because you are right that we need to see the heroes caring for other people. I think my characters rely a lot on their families, and those relationships do reveal a lot about character. Hm. Must give my next hero more friends! :)

      • 18.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        I think the most clever way to show tenderness or the soft side of a hero is to give him a pet. Of course, I have NEVER done this. LOL I still think it’s so smart!

  19. 19
    Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Claudia! It’s the TICD!! Welcome back to the Lair!! We love you ’round here. And we’re so excited about Dutton’s book being out! WOOT!!!

    There are so many types of heroines I like – strong and feisty, strong in spite of circumstances, strong because they’ve come through fire and had to be….but I don’t like them weak. Grins. At least not overall weak and sniveling. Grins. The breakdown to weak and sniveling for the moment is one thing. :>

    Heros? Ohhhhh, allllll kinds of heros. Smrat is the first thing. Dumb as a sack of hammers I cannot abide. Grins. Love that image of you, Claudia, leading the poor sweet dumb but gorgeous guy across the street. :>

    Smart, clever, creative. Yeah. I like ‘em that way. My personal hero is pretty much all that and a bag of chips. :>

    • 19.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Yes, smart, clever and creative is the biggest part, isn’t it? I know you are also a big one for a sense of humor, though, Jeanne. I’m sure your DH has that, as well!

      And if the heroines you enjoy are anything like you, they will be intelligent, witty, funny and kick-ass. What could be better? :D

    • 19.2
      Claudia Dain says:

      Creative! That’s a new one. My personal hero is very creative and yet I’m sure I’ve never written a creative hero!!

      Must. Fix. Immediately.

  20. 20
    Susan Sey says:

    Hey, Claudia! Thanks for coming by to talk about Dutton! And Sophia! And heroines! I fall in love with the hero of every book but I have a harder time with heroines. I’m not an easy sell. It takes a lot for a heroine to win me over. That said, what I really love is funny heroines who are a little insecure, have huge hearts & love their families. Who aren’t perfect–either to look at or be with. Who make mistakes but try hard and have the best intentions. And who richly, deeply, truly deserve to be loved by a fantastic man.

    Now there’s a heroine I’d like to spend my reading time with. Heck, that’s a heroine I’d like to BE. I’ll have to work on that….

    • 20.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Susan, you are already romance heroine-worthy, IMO. And much more fun than 95% of women I know (Banditas and Buddies being squarely in the fun 5%).

      I think you do a great job of giving your heroines just enough insecurity. Of course, perfect characters would be a bore, because all characters should grow and change or why would we care about them? But too much of the insecurity or air-headedness or whatever can put us off for good.

      (And YAY!!! we get to read about Dutton! :D)

    • 20.2
      Claudia Dain says:

      I’m a hard sell as well. I need a heroine to be smart and not stupidly, self-destructively self-sacrificing. That becomes TSTL to live territory for me. Loving family, yes. Big hearts, yes. Throwing themselves in front of an oncoming train—no.

  21. 21
    Marcy Shuler says:

    I like heroines that are smart, caring and witty with a bit of snarky mixed in. LOL And yes, I think this is like me.

    For heroes, I like the ones who are wounded physically or emotionally. There’s just something about seeing them overcome their obstacles that I love. I’m an RN so maybe that’s another reason I like wounded heroes, though I worked in Psych. LOL

    • 21.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Marcy, I’ll admit I like my heroines (and my friends) with a bit of snark, too. :D Not too much, though. I heard an author read from one of her books this year and, IMO, she crossed the snark line. Her heroine was actually unlikeable and it made me wonder if the hero was a bit less than intelligent, because he simply overlooked it. *sigh*

      I have a writer friend who calls this phenom where the hero needs nurturing the “hurt/comfort” cycle. Especially with an alpha male, we often either see them get hurt or witness their pain in some way so we can glimpse their vulnerability. It’s powerful for the heroine, but also for us as readers, to see a good, strong man in need of care and comfort.

      Of course, if they need psych help, that might be a bit much. But I’ve seen that work, too! :D

      • 21.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        I’m sure with you on the snark. I like it in small doses, like hot sauce. :)

        I like characters who have layers, who get peeled back with every chapter. They don’t need to be wounded necessarily, but they need to be deep. I require some mystery.

  22. 22

    What a treat to see you back in the Lair, Claudia! And thanks to Caren for bringing TICD back! Yay!

    I’m so bummed that MUCH ADO isn’t out yet! I’m not accustomed to waiting. Snork! Okay, I’ll wait. Happily, it’s pre-ordered, so it will show up like magic in a few days! Seriously excited about it.

    Gosh, everyone has said so much about heroes already. I agree that he should be noble and kind and funny. And brave. And sexy. Okay, stop. Let’s get real. For me, the most important quality in a hero is that he look like James Bond (I prefer one above the others, but take your pick which one you prefer). That’s all I really need in a hero because I’m basically shallow. But happy. Yes, very happy. ;-)

    • 22.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Kate, you keep claiming to be shallow, but I refuse to believe it! I love a Bond as much as the next woman (actually, I have my favorite, but any Bond will do :D), but I prefer a Bond more like a certain British security dude you may know. Love him!

    • 22.2

      LOL, Kate. Embrace your shallowness and any hero that fits the bill!! It takes a secure person to know themselves as well as you do!

      • 22.2.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Hey, last I checked Bond was honorable, strong, resilient, clever, resourceful . . . all the traits we’ve listed! I think that’s why he’s an enduring hero figure. We all love Bond!

  23. 23
    Helen says:

    Hi Claudia and Caren

    That is a great post loved it

    What kind of heroines do you like best?
    I like stron witty heroines who know what they want

    What kind of heroes?
    Tall dark handsome LOL but must have a sense of humour in there somewhere

    Does your heroic type match your dream man?
    Often LOL

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 23.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Helen, does your dream man look anything like Hugh Jackman? Mine does! That man is strong, alpha, can sing and dance, AND has a great sense of humor. He’s easy on the eyes, too. :)

      I’m with you on loving a strong, witty heroine. I may have to try to write a wallflower one day, though. I think it would be a challenge to keep her interesting to readers like us! :D

    • 23.2
      Claudia Dain says:

      Your list matches mine! I like a heroine who knows what she wants. Even if she’s wrong in what she wants, at least she has plans! LOL I like a girl with a plan.

  24. 24
    Lianne says:

    I like heroes and heroines to be realistic and be strong in character!

    • 24.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Lianne, I read “realistic” as meaning that their goals and motivations for doing things seem rational and reasonable. Is that your view of realistic?

      I ask because I know that I actually don’t want them to be too realistic or they would be like people I know: irrational, frustrating and sometimes boring. I expect better than that from my heroines and heroes. I want them to be consistently interesting, dagnabbit! :D

  25. 25
    Cassondra says:

    Hello Claudia and a HUGE WELCOME BACK! We’ve missed you around the lair.

    SO excited to see the upcoming release.

    Lessee…this is kind of a hard question to answer because I like all kinds of heroes and heroines for the most part. I do NOT like heroes who are jerks, and admit to leaving off books by very famous authors because I just couldn’t stomach how the guy treated the woman. The thing is, that if the author does it right, the jerk hero falls farther and has to climb farther to redeem himself, then the redemption is glorious.

    As to heroines, I have a hard time with female characters who are mean to other people. Unless the author shows me significant motivation, it’s offputting.

    Now then…I like strong heroines. Women who can hold their own with the hero. Women who won’t let themselves be bullied. Women who stand up for themselves. And of course I like confident men. Confidence is the sexiest thing on the planet. Maybe in the universe.

    In direct contrast to you and your “what’s not to love?” attitude, I actually have trouble relating to a heroine who feels this way because of my own insecurities. I guess we all bring those to our writing and to our reading. Not that I don’t like reading those heroines–I think I take something good away from them. They’re examples for me. But I have to work at the “I’m the best thing that ever happened to you” thing–I have to work HARD at it. I have no idea where that lack of belief in my own loveability came from, but it’s aggravating.

    So I DO relate to the “he would never love me” thing. And on the other hand, I actually believe that if she can’t believe he would love her, he probably won’t.

    Damn, I’m an angsty reader. *grin*

    No angst about loving this series though. It’s been on my keeper shelf since the first book. Very excited to see more books.

    • 25.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Cassondra, I love your brand of angst! In your writing it comes through as vulnerability, which is incredibly powerful stuff in a strong woman. Woman, when we eventually have more of your stuff than blog posts to read, people will be lining up to buy it!

      Believe me when I tell you, we have been harassing Claudia endlessly about Dutton’s book. Really. We let her have her time to deal with life and whatever, but once her daughter’s wedding was past, we were on her like white on rice! I’m with Kate in her impatience. :D

    • 25.2
      Claudia Dain says:

      No! I didn’t mean it that way! The ‘what’s not to love’ vibe isn’t that you think every man should fall in love with you. It’s that when a man does fall in love with you, you believe it. You think, yeah, why not? I’m worthy of being loved. Not every man loves me, but THIS one does.

      Of course a man should and would love you! Why not? We’re all worthy of being loved; all it takes is finding the right one. Hence, the romance novel! LOL

      Thank you for loving the series. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  26. 26

    Claudia, welcome back! Caren, thanks for bringing us one of our faves back into the lair. By the way, Incomparable (I’m sure you won’t mind me calling you that – we’ve known each other quite a while now – the first time we met you were wearing that fabulous wrap-around dress that had a touch of the 70s about, but the 70s with style, which certainly isn’t how I remember the decade! Do you remember? We were in the lift at an RWA conference!), love that photo. You look like you’re planning mischief!

    What an interesting post. I always scoff when people say I’m writing a disguised autobiography in my books – I wish! Actually not sure I do wish, not all my girls have a complete good time although they always end up happily ever after! But as you say, I think writers of necessity write from the heart about what they care about and what they admire and what they despise. Otherwise those particular stories and characters wouldn’t come to us. All of my characters have a sense of humor, if on occasion, quite dark. That’s definitely something I require from people in life and in fiction!

    • 26.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Anna, you are so right about little bits of us being in our characters. How could they not be? I find it harder to write a character whose view of things is a bit different than mine than to write one who has a very opposite view. For some reason, the farther their views are from mine, the more easily I can reconcile that sort of mindset. It’s odd to me!

      I have to say, humor is a trait my heroines tend to have in common. They may not have my sense of humor, but there is definitely humor there! :)

      • 26.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Oh, Anna, if you could see my wrap dress collection now! It’s only grown. How many wrap dresses does one woman need?

        Ask me 10 dresses from now. ;)

  27. 27
    Cathy P says:

    I like my heroes and my man to be sexy, honest, kind, true to the heroine and me, hard working, and have a sense of humor. I like my heroines to have the same traits, and to be kick-ass.

    • 27.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Cathy, I love your list. I rank hardworking right up there, too. After all, I work hard and so should my characters. :)

      I find it hard to write all heroines as kick-ass, though. Some definitely are, but others have a more subtle strength. I have one I adore, though, who is tough as nails and a very successful career woman. I love her and anyone would want her for a best friend. She is that awesome! :)

      • 27.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        Hardworking is so necessary for admiration, isn’t it? At least for me it is. I wrote a secondary character in the series, a duke’s heir, who is BONE LAZY. I’m trying to figure out how he’ll be redeemed; he really needs his own book and who’d want to read about a bone lazy hero?

  28. 28
    Jeanne Miro says:

    Hi Claudia!

    The favorite heroines are the ones who don’t “follow the norm” but instead are willing to take chances and to stand up for what they believe in is right. I also like them to have a combination of strengths along with weaknesses just like we all have ourselves!

    My favorite heroes are men like my husband who are willing to go against what others expect of them. Back in the 1970’s when our sons were toddlers he would tell his friends that when he was watching our sons that he wasn’t “babysitting” he was just being a father!

    I know that today more child caring duties are shared but back then it wasn’t the norm! I

    • 28.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Jeanne, I love your comments! I, too, like characters who follow their own path. My next book, Tiara Wars, is about a heroine who has done what everyone expected all her life and suddenly has to figure out if that’s what she wants. Since I wrote it, of course it isn’t. :D

      So proud of your husband for being ahead of his time in childcare duties. You are so right that it wasn’t the norm then. You married a progressive thinker!

      • 28.1.1
        Claudia Dain says:

        My dad was the same way (not to mention my husband) but my dad was a dad in the 50s and 60s! The dads would all be talking at the end of the driveway and he’d excuse himself because it was time to give his little girls a bath! Every night, my dad was in charge of bath time, and then bedtime snack time, and then reading a story before bedtime, and then tucking in time. IN THE 60s!!! Take that, Mad Men scriptwriters. Snort.

  29. 29
    Pat Cochran says:

    Hi, Claudia & Caren,

    Brother-in-law nearly had a “conniption fit”
    when Honey told him that he assisted me
    with care for our firstborn! Whether it be
    bath, diaper or feedings. Men didn’t do
    such things back in 1962! But that’s my
    favorite hero, he provides care, support,
    and love for all his family at all times.

    Pat C.

    • 29.1
      Claudia Dain says:

      All I can say is my dad did! He was unusual, but it was wonderful. I loved having such a close relationship with my dad. OTOH, my father-in-law never changed a diaper in his life!

      • 29.1.1
        Pat Cochran says:

        Neither BIL, FIL , or my father (good father that he was!) ever changed a diaper! Honey was definitely ahead of the times! We’ve been married 52 years and he always had been
        out of the norm!

        Pat C.

    • 29.2
      Caren Crane says:

      Pat, that is wonderful. I’m so happy your husband was so very supportive. My parents had 5 kids in 10 years, from 1960 – 1970. Although my father may have supervised a bath or two and changed some clothes and diapers, he was by no means a caregiver, That was my poor mother, who did almost everything all by herself! You and Claudia’s mom were both very fortunate!

  30. 30
    Laurie G says:

    I like strong , independent , smart heroines who go after what they want and make things happen.
    I like heroes who are in control of the situation but are also compassionate. I do not like vain egotistical characters or people.

    In real life my hero is my best friend and lover. He’s smart, independent, stubborn, helpful, a wonderful father and he loves and accepts me just the way I am.

    • 30.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Laurie, it sounds like you found the perfect hero! I have to say, my DH was a really loving and wonderful father. Much better than my mother-in-law thought he would be. :D Actually, your hero sounds a lot like mine! Way too smart for his own good, exceptionally stubborn and independent (almost to a fault at times). But he does accept me as I am, which (as you guys know) is really saying something!

      I hope you love the heroines the Banditas write, because they are some tough, independent ladies. Just like you! :)

  31. 31
    Amy Conley says:

    I’m a bit snarky, so I love a snarky heroine. I also love witty, fast-paced dialogue, because that’s how I talk. I like women how are smart in either street smarts or book smarts,but not bot, because in my own personal experience, the two usually don’t mix.

    As far as a hero, tall, dark, handsome with a hairy chest…my hubby is NONE of those things! But for sure a sense of humor and honor. Honor, like manners seems to be something left to books anymore, and it is sad. But hey, if that is what it takes to get both write away…..