Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Guest Author: Nicola Marsh

I’ve always wanted a convertible.
Really, really wanted one.
But with young kiddies, I drive a ‘mum’s taxi’ and will have to make do with an exhilarating ride with the top down alongside the fabulous authors here for today :)

Okay, slipping out of comfy ‘mum wear’ and into something suitably slinky as befitting a romance author…think figure-hugging slinky dress, sparkly stilettos and gorgeous make-up.

Wait, hang on a minute, I’m confusing myself with my latest heroine, Bethany Walker in my current release THE BOSS’S BEDROOM AGENDA (Harlequin Presents). I love being an author. Even when I’m feeling and looking my grungiest, I can live vicariously through my heroines. Gotta love that!

In THE BOSS’S BEDROOM AGENDA, Beth is a metal sculptor moonlighting as a tour guide at Melbourne Museum, only to find her stint turned upside down by one very sexy, very commanding archaeologist, CEO Aidan Voss. Bubbly, effervescent Beth is the least likely person to walk the pristine, hallowed halls of the museum but what she lacks in knowledge she makes up for with chutzpah and fabulous shoes!

Or when I’m not fantasising about being an outspoken Glamazon, I can slip into the shoes of my heroine next month, Lana Walker (Beth’s geeky cousin), a shy curator who gets a makeover and a man when she sails the South Pacific in TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE’S BED (Harlequin Modern Heat). Nothing like a cruise with a sexy sailor…moonlit beaches…star-studded skies…hot, balmy nights…

Hmm…right…where were we? That’s right, heroines and getting swept away into their lives.

For me, I love a book where I can identify with the heroine, if not her lifestyle then her faults/fears/expectations. I love a heroine who is real, who leaps off the page and has me cheering for her all the way. When I write, I fall in love with every hero just a little (okay, a lot!) and creating a woman worthy of these heroes can sometimes be tough. In my books to date, I’ve had a wide variety of women capturing the hearts of my heroes: from an aromatherapist theme park operator to a butler, from a web designer to a fairy shop owner, from a horse strapper to a patisserie chef to name a few. Each of these women had one thing in common: an inner strength which I think is vital to a real heroine.

So what do you think makes a great heroine?

I’m giving away a signed copy of my current Waldenbooks Bestseller, THE BOSS’S BEDROOM AGENDA, so please share your favourite heroine in the comments and I’ll choose a winner at random.

Now, before I get swept into the life of my latest heroine, I must go. I hear a toddler demanding attention…

38 comments:

Nicola Marsh said...

Just to let you all know I'm heading off to bed now (just when the rest of the world is waking up!) but I promise to pop back tomorrow morning after the school run :)

Kylie said...

Hi Nikola! Welcome to the convertible. Presents is such a wildly popular line these days--by far the most popular of the Harlequin lines. To what do you attribute its enormous appeal?

Keri Ford said...

HI, Nicola. This is fun. I think all heroines need some sort of inner power to be able to survive what we put them through!

The best thing about a heroine is she has the ability to challenge. She may be one of those kick-backside gals or a modest quiet type, but they have one thing in common-they can challenge the hero like no other.

When I say challenge, I don't mean verbally or physically, I mean she makes him think and face his life.

D Twomey said...

Most any type of heroine works for me... but I do like the one that is independent, strong-willed and sassy. The "I don't need you" type. The one that is surprised when she finally figures out that she does need him.... and fights falling in love every step of the way.....

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Nicola. Welcome to the Topdown! I'm glad you got to take your first convertible ride with us. I'll be anxious to hear the responses to your question on what makes a great heroine. Ride on!!

CrystalGB said...

Hi Nicola. For me, a great heroine is strong, confident, independent and brave enough to face challenges in her life.

Betina Krahn said...

Hi, Nicola! Welcome to the convertible! I love your descriptions of your life. . . "mum-wear." lol.

I love those strong heroines, too. And I, too, fall a little in love with my heros. I think one of my favorite heroines of late was in Stepnahie Bond's BLAZE called "She Did a Bad, Bad Thing." A little wish fulfillment there, too, since the heroine won the lottery in it and got to enjoy some of the high life as well as the hero.

Heroines have to be able to hold their own. . . and have strengths that the rest of us can both identify with and admire.

And what's a "horse strapper?" I'm dying to know!

Helen Brenna said...

Hi, Nicola! Thanks for coming today!

This is an interesting question because, I confess, the hero is the most important part of a romance for me. As long as the heroine seems as though she deserves the great hero, I don't much care.

But if I spend some time thinking about it, I do like heroines who is smart, vulnerable and tough.

BethRe said...

A heroine who doesn't whine. I like her to be strong but not so strong that she doesn't need the hero.

Christie Ridgway said...

Hi, Nicola! Thanks for joining us.

I love heroines who are vulnerable yet determined, with a sense of humor and the ability to take down the hero a peg or two...

I like all the different occupations you listed for your heroines. Right now I'm writing a heroine with a handful of jobs all at the same time. Currently she's driving the hero around in a limo...

Lois said...

Hi again in this neighborhood! :) This was tough, actually, and during the day I was thinking of the heroines that I like, and in the end, I think one major point is brains. Love senses of humor, wit, emotions, and anything else, but all of that is pointless with out brains. Just has to have something up there to be believable. And I definitely don't mean the book brains. That doesn't help you through life in everything. :)

Lois

Maureen said...

I think a great heroine is a strong woman. I don't want to read about a doormat but she does have to be sympathetic to others too.

Debra Dixon said...

Nicola-- Welcome to the convertible!

I think a great heroine is strong. There are sooo many ways to be strong, which makes this a very flexible trait. We admire strength in people. Show a reader that and give a reader a chance to bond with the heroine. That's my game plan for great heroine's.

Liza said...

Hi Nicola! My favorite heroine in books I've already read is Eve Dallas from the In Death series. She is such a strong woman, but still falls apart(only with her husband) if a child or a friend is hurt. She can spend all day kicking butt at work and then comes home and wants to spend the evening with her husband.

So I guess I like a strong heroine who knows that she needs others to keep her strong. She also has to be smart, or she will drive me crazy.

Minna said...

I have to agree with Liza, as Eve is my heroine, too.

Nicola Marsh said...

Good morning, everyone :)

Kylie,
I think the appeal of Harlequin Presents is the glamorous, international, passionate promise delivered in each book.

Though my Harlequin Presents is slightly different, in that I write for Harl. Modern Heat (UK) released as Presents in the US, and while you still get the same promise, the books are flirtier in tone (kind of like the old Temptation series.)

Nicola Marsh said...

Keri,

that's fabulous.
There's nothing like a heroine who challenges the hero in every way :)

Nicola Marsh said...

D Twomey,
that's my kind of heroine!
The more strong-willed the better :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Cindy :)

You're so lucky you get to ride in the convertible every day!

Nicola Marsh said...

All great heroine qualities, Crystal.

Nicola Marsh said...

Hi Betina,

another lucky gal who gets to ride in the convertible every day :)

A horse strapper takes care of a race horse: does all the feeding, grooming, walking around the mounting yard, that kind of thing.
Would love to know what you call them in the States :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks for having me, Helen :)

That's really interesting about the hero resonating more for you.

The funny thing is, when I get an idea, I tend to picture the hero first yet when I write, it's the heroine who really comes alive for me.

Maybe it was ingrained in me when I first started writing for the Harlequin Romance series (who I still write for too), and the tagline was 'walk a mile in the heroine's shoes'.
Guess it stuck!

Nicola Marsh said...

No matter how strong, every heroine needs a sexy hero, Beth :)

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Christie,
your heroine sounds really interesting! Loads of jobs at the same time makes me wonder what she's getting up to with the hero and in what capacity...

Nicola Marsh said...

You're talking about street smarts, yeah, Lois?

I agree.

If the heroine is blind to what's in front of her nose, as a reader, I lose all sympathy for her.

Nicola Marsh said...

Strength is all important, Maureen.

A heroine can be vulnerable without being a doormat and that's an important difference.

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks Debra,
another lucky convertible gal :)

I think you've brought up a great point here, about the reader being able to bond with the heroine.

As a reader, if I don't have empathy for a heroine, I'm not going to particularly care what happens to her, as opposed to those books where I can't turn the pages fast enough because I really, really want to know how she copes.

Nicola Marsh said...

Liza and Minna,

Eve is a great example of a strong heroine who has a soft inner core.

We can both admire and empathise with her, and keep turning the pages to discover what happens next!

Must admit, I'm way behind in my reading of the series. I think I'm about 4 books behind so must make an effort to catch up.

Abi said...

My favorite heroine is feisty and confident.

Nicola Marsh said...

My type of heroine, Abi :)

Estella said...

I like heroines who are smart, strong and compassionate. I hate whiny, TDTL heroines.

Anonymous said...

I like heroines who are smart and sarcastic, but who also have a vulnerability to them.

Diana

Jane said...

Hi Nicola,
Congrats on the new release. I like heroines who are intelligent, witty, strong yet vulnerable and is in control of her life.

Deborah said...

Hi Nicola! I like heroines who are strong, independent, intelligent, and sassy!

Nicola Marsh said...

Estella, Diana, Jane and Deborah, looks like intelligence and strength are definite winners.

Laurie said...

Heroines should be able to stand on their own but are happier,more content with their lives when they have a partner to share their days with. I don't like abused heroines. I like loyalty, honesty and a great sense of humor.

Helen Brenna said...

Thanks for visiting with us Nicola!

Nicola Marsh said...

Thanks for having me, I had a ball :)