We are so excited to have Kate Meader here today talking about her books and why she rights “realistic” heroines. DON’T FORGET TO SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM AND ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
(PS. Sherry and I are both reading Feel the Heat right now…so stay tuned for reviews!)
None of my heroines are rich. All of them have jobs and problems. Well, it wouldn’t be much fun for my readers if they didn’t have problems, would it? In FEEL THE HEAT, Lili DeLuca is the family’s rock who has set aside her dreams to care for her ill mother and run her family’s restaurant. We all know women like this—the women who sleep less so someone they love can sleep more. Maybe you are that woman. But there’s more to Lili than just her nods to martyrdom (because that’d get boring real quick). Bullied as an overweight teen, Lili’s made peace with her voluptuous body, but she’s never abandoned the fear. It’s ever present, a burr under her skin, keeping her at a standstill, justifying all her excuses to stay put and not make the next move. We can all identify with that, I think. That was me—the fear part—three years ago. I wanted to write but I was terrified of putting myself out on that ledge. The excuses were legend: no time, people to care for, my so-called “real” life to lead. Like Lili, aiming big was not in my make-up, not when I had so much to lose. And while a smokin’ hot celebrity chef did not put me on the right path like Jack Kilroy does for Lili, the encouragement of my friends and family was crucial.
I was going to call this post “Writing Real Women” but then I bitch-slapped that title away in a heartbeat. We use that term a lot, usually to make a judgment about our appearance obsessed society. Real women have curves. Real women have meat on their bones, the implication being that the opposite – thin or slender women – are in some way less authentic. Book 2 in the Hot in the Kitchen series, ALL FIRED UP, features a recovering anorectic heroine who feels disconnected from her food-loving family. She feels less because the emphasis around her is on more. Closed off and prickly, she’s trying desperately to resist the charms of the hot Irish pastry chef she accidentally married in Vegas. Whoops! Cara is my favorite heroine so far because she’s a little bit broken and having trouble keeping her head above water. Sometimes she barely recognizes her family and while they accept her, they don’t get her either. Readers either love or hate Cara. Like the woman herself, there’s no middle ground.
The final book in the series, HOT AND BOTHERED features Jules, a British single mother trying to get back to dating after a couple of years out of the game. Jules is funny and self-deprecating with a trucker’s mouth—the kind of girl I want for a friend. She’s also dyslexic, and with her single motherhood and her lack of job skills, people tend to cosset her. Everyone except her best guy pal, Tad DeLuca, who recognizes her for the strong, amazing woman she is. And yep, she’s got a massive lady boner for him (can I say that? Ha, just did!). Jules is effervescent and irrepressible, but she’s hiding all that while she looks for Mr. Boring because dangerous guys are her crack. Dangerous guys are for birthdays and Christmas, not for real life. And Tad is so, so dangerous.
The primary readership for romance novels is women, and they want to read about all sorts of heroines. The hapless ingénue overwhelmed by the older, experienced alpha. The seasoned woman indulging in that fantasy affair with a younger guy. The girl you’d like to have a beer with. Some of the situations might seem a little out there but readers want to identify with the heroine and if you’re not writing her as flesh-and-blood with gods-honest reactions and emotions, then it’s a tough sell. We readers expect fantasy in our heroes and realism in our heroines. Double standard? Perhaps. But women are used to double standards, even those created by other women! In this case, I don’t mind so much. I’ll take a realistic, flawed heroine over a perfect Mary Sue any day.
Kate Meader writes contemporary romance that serves up delicious food, sexy heroes, and heroines with a dash of sass. Originally from Ireland, she now makes her home in Chicago, a city made for food, romance, and laughter—and where she met her own sexy hero. When not writing about men who cook and the women who drool over them, she works in an academic library. Visit her website athttp://katemeader.com and follow her on Twitter @kittymeader
FEEL THE HEAT EXCERPT
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“Before we go, I’ll need you to take it back.”
“Take what back?”
“What you said about my kissing technique.”
Aw, poor little big shot needed massaging for his sore ego. “It’s all so subjective. That suction thing might work for some girls, I suppose.”
Another dangerous step and he had gripped her hips with both hands. Mercy, he was fast. “Give me another chance.”
“Oh,” she managed to eke out just as that smooth-talking mouth met hers. Her initial thought was gratitude that he was holding on to her, because her spine had dissolved. Her next was . . . she didn’t have a next. The kiss hit her like a fifth of bourbon and with each luxurious swipe of his tongue, she fell deeper and deeper into oblivion.
Displaying his range, he cut a path of honeyed devastation along her jaw. “Am I doing better?”
“Hmm. Full letter grade improvement. B minus,” she teased. “But I’m still not going to date you.”
He laughed, a warm chocolaty sound against her neck that goose-bumped her heated
flesh. “And I’m still not going to sleep with you. No matter how much you beg.”
“Oh, I think I’ll survive. We great women are used to enduring.” Her hands caressed his strong back, shaping its tightly woven muscles. “You, on the other hand…How long has it been since you last had sex?”
“Four months”—he nipped her earlobe—“one week”—his lips tickled the sensitive spot where her neck met her shoulder—“five days.”
“Sounds terrible,” she murmured as she rubbed her breasts against his chest. So much for keeping her nipples in check. They happily pebbled their pleasure at this latest turn of events.
“It hasn’t been so bad,” he said, his voice as thick as the humid night. “I just can’t help flirting with gorgeous women.”
Her mind heard the compliment, but before it could register fully, he moved in flush, making her gasp as his hardness rasped against her belly. A Darth Vader–like rumble reverberated in her head. I have you now. They just needed to get Laurent settled on her sofa, then let the good times roll.
Jack drew back to face her, his lust-blown eyes illuminated by the overhead streetlamp. “Lili, all joking aside, I’m serious about going on a date . . .” One hand dropped from her waist and traveled shakily to his forehead.
“Jack, are you okay?” She squeezed his beautifully muscled shoulder. She couldn’t wait to kiss every inch of—
“I’m fine,” he muttered just as his body crumpled and slid from her grasp. He made a surprisingly soft thud considering all that rock-hard muscle. As if in sympathy, Laurent slid down the wall with a well-oiled giggle.