Author of the Southern Sanctuary Series / By The Numbers Series.
Am all about hot instant attraction, writing PNR/Mystery I think every story needs romance, humour and action.
Heroines come in all shapes and sizes. There are the good girls, the sweet girls, the nice girls. But even then - as an author you can't write a character too good/sweet or nice because they can come off fake, insincere and kind of sickening.
Real women... we're just not nice all the time. That would be boring and annoying.
Real women have baggage and hang-ups. We have flaws, foibles and quirks. Real women can be complete an utter bitches.
And quite frankly, they are the most fun to write. They say things most of us would never dare. They take chances. They hold their ground. They don't take any dis-respect. And they give as good as they get.
Who doesn't love a strong woman with a side serving of bitch?
But a character can't be a bitch all the time - that too would be boring.
I read a book the other day and the heroine was a tough, independent, temper tantrum throwing, bitch. Which was fine for the first half of the book but then I begun to grow tired of her an actively dislike her. All the male characters inexplicably fell in love with this woman - which made no sense to me - she constantly verbally attacked everyone and acted out like a small angry child.
As a reader I need to be able to relate to a character. I can be a bitch. I can be a caring empathetic person. Sometimes, when there's no chocolate available I can be both within a five minute time-frame.
All characters, just like real people, need to have layers, depth.
I'm writing a bitchy heroine at the moment. She's sharp, funny, overly practical, superior, hates to appear weak, and is a self proclaimed bitch.
But she's more than just that, she has a high maintenance annoying family, she's loyal, dependable, fighting her attraction to an unsuitable man and doesn't have all the answers, all the time.
She's human, well, no she's not, she's a Makura Princess being forced to choose a husband from a pool of grifters, conmen, pirates and liars - but you know what I mean.
Bring on the bitches I say - but not in your face, all the time. I don't mean make them weak, or make them cry. Nothing turns me off a story quicker than a supposedly strong kick-ass woman crying at the drop of a hat.
I mean make them real, make them relatable, make them like me.
I'm not talking about deceased authors whose estates have designated a new author to carry on the series. Not something they could keep secret when the original author is pushing up daisies. Couple of authors come to mind - Virginia Andrews, Lawrence Sanders, Ian Fleming etc
I'm talking about current writers who perhaps neither have the time nor inclination to churn out books fast enough to meet the schedule set by their publishing company.
I was reading a review of JD Robb's latest work 'Festive In Death' and the reviewer stated they believed that JD Robb wasn't the author. First, I was shocked by such a claim but the more that I thought about it the more their rather well laid out argument resonated with me.
There were several aspects of 'Festive' that hadn't rung quite true for me. Peabody is no longer the strong, ambitious detective she had at one time been developing in to. Now she was all about the pink coat, and the pink boots and squealing over pink things. Feeney's character (brief appearance) failed to ring true and a host of other favourite characters appeared to be reduced to a sentence or two and had become caricatures of themselves, with no depth.
The story itself was a repeat, we've done Christmas, we've done Eve reluctantly being roped into helping organise a party/being social - and as always it turns out incredibly well.
I had to ask myself - the question the reviewer had raised - just who had written this book? At the very least it raised some suspicions and got me thinking.
Which led me to another favourite series of mine - Thea Harrison's Elder series, which I have loved from book one - with the glaring exception of her last book 'Night's Honor' - (and this is just my opinion) no way could this book have been written by Thea Harrison.
For one, there wasn't even a glimmer of her usual sense of humour present. The story itself was nonsensical. Set outside the Elder world we are familiar with. The romance... quite frankly, bored me.
Maybe I just don't want to believe Thea wrote it.
No, I hear you cry. That sort of trickery can't be happening. Why not? Publishing companies often buy the rights to a series. The original author would still be paid for the use of their name. And in the end, publishing is all about the money. Releasing two/three books a year is way more profitable than a slow author who can only produce yearly (or longer).
I have no clear proof this is going on. But I would be very surprised if it wasn't.
Honestly, if the book is well written, set in the world I've come to love and the characters stay true to form - I doubt I'd care.
On the other hand, when a series takes a sudden swerve, characters behave against type and the magic that had originally attracted me to the story has faded - I have to ask the question.
Just who is writing my favourite series these days?