Looking for a heroine who’s more than a love interest
March 26, 2015
I KNEW WHAT I WANTED. At least, I thought I did.
I never do.
In Night Side of Dark, I had a tormented hero without a past or much of a memory wandering around the edges of World War II, not quite sure why he was there or what his mission might be.
He needed a love interest.
After all, every good sub-plot is a love story.
That’s what I’ve been told by writers both good and bad.
So why shouldn’t I believe them?
I promptly set up a casting call just to see who would show up and audition for the role. I didn’t know what she might do in the story. I simply needed a love interest.
The redhead came first.
I knew she would.
I’m partial to redheads.
She was tall with auburn hair that fell down in ringlets upon her shoulders.
A winsome smile.
A beauty mark beneath her left eye.
Her gown was long, made of satin, and she was wearing six-inch heels, shoes with daggers on the heels.
I asked her to sit down.
“How do you feel about snow?’ I asked.
“It’s cold,” she said.
“You’ll spend most of the book walking around in it,” I said.
“A ski slope?”
Her smile brightened.
“Slush,” I said, “the kind of dirty black slush that piles up among the garbage cans alongside the back streets on the wrong side of town.”
I saw immediately that it wouldn’t work.
I was ready to dismiss her.
But she had already walked through the door and slammed it.
The brunette came in dressed in lingerie.
She thought she was going to impress me.
She was right.
The brunette sat down and crossed her legs.
I started to speak.
Instead, I cleared my throat.
I would worry about the words later.
She said she was a catalog model. If she were selling catalogs, I would have bought one.
“Have you ever acted?” I asked.
“Not in a play.”
“How about a book?”
She batted her eyelashes.
“I read one once,” she said.
“The book’s set in Dalldorf,” I said.
“Is that near Cleveland?” she asked.
“Germany,” I said.
“I’ve been to Cleveland,” she said.
I hated to dismiss her. I really did.
But I would have dismissed her again just to see her walk across the floor.
I had been a fool, I thought. Next time, I would write about Cleveland.
The blonde was about what I expected.
The color of her hair may have come from a bottle.
It was short, bobbed around her ears, and might look better in the sun.
She was small, petite, really.
Here face was pale.
Her face was soft.
Her eyes were hard.
The blonde was wearing a faded dress that might have once been pink but more probably purple.
Her shoes were scuffed.
Her fingernails were broken.
“Are you an actress?” I asked.
“What do you do?” I wanted to know.
“I kill people.”
“With a gun?”
“I sometimes use dynamite.”
“Do you have any regrets?” I asked.
She paused. Her eyes grew even harder.
“Not when the bastards deserve it,” she said.
“Are you carrying a gun now?”
She had a 9mm pistol in her hand before I saw her remove her from a garter belt.
“You have the job,” I told her.
My hero, Ambrose Lincoln, wasn’t scared of anyone.
But he would sleep with one eye open when she was around.
The bastard deserved it.