Strong Female Characters & Vulnerability
a guest post by LK Hunsaker
The current trend in romance novels is for the heroine to be strong, independent, and usually feisty to some extent. It makes sense, since women have found their voices and are taking every advantage of their newly broken barriers. These days, you’re liable to hear a woman talking more like a sailor, excuse the cliché, than even male sailors talk. I’m not so sure public swearing is a step in the right direction, but of course the freedom to do so very much is.
But what defines a woman as strong and independent? Does she have to be vocal, headstrong, and have it all together? Does she have to be dominant over her partner? Does she have to make a good living or be her own boss? Does she have to be self-assured?
I don’t think a strong woman must be any of those things. She can be, but she doesn’t have to be. Sometimes strength, true strength, means that despite her quiet nature, her tendency to take the path of least resistance, her disorganized barely-paying-the-bills daily life, and her constant fight against her doubts, she keeps stepping out that door, going to that dead-end job, watching for other paths, and giving it her best try.
Vulnerability that doesn’t give up is true strength. Independence is making the choice to be who you are despite the current trends, even when it looks for all the world as though you’re behind the times or lack confidence. Sometimes confidence, true confidence, means accepting you aren’t and don’t want to be one of the crowd because it doesn’t work for you. Stepping away from the crowd, knowing you’re bucking the trend and will be considered a fringe element and unusual and often fully overlooked in favor of those floating with the tide takes true strength. I love those heroines, the ones with cores of steel hidden by a gentle, non-abrasive exterior. It takes real strength to be gentle and kind. Men are finally learning this in recent times. We women must remember it, as well.
Strength can mean a lot of things, as Delaney tells Eli about rescue in Shadowed Lights, my newest release featuring a very strong social phobic heroine.
Ella M. Kaye is a pen name for author LK Hunsaker’s shorter, spicier romance line featuring dancers of various genres in lighthouse settings. They focus on the darker side of life, with such themes as devastating injury, destruction, and emotional trauma. At the end, though, there is always a light.
When her sister loses her house to Hurricane Sandy, Delaney Griffin welcomes the family into her home. Months later, with five noisy kids and an overbearing brother-in-law threatening her sanity, Delaney spends much of her free time at the wildlife refuge, which also works as her refuge. Still, the lack of privacy, along with space to dance, her only passionate release, causes her debilitating social anxiety to escalate.
Eli Forrester has come from small town Indiana to Barnegat, New Jersey with his company to help restore the coast. A high rise worker who loves new people and new places, he fears nothing, except water. When he accidentally kicks one of the sea critters Delaney is trying to help rescue, he is drawn to the quiet New Jersey girl. Unwilling to take her cues to leave her alone, Eli is alternately put off and turned on by her odd behavior.
Under shadow of devastation, fear, and forced separation, Delaney and Eli search for their own rescue light