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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Guest Post with Author Beth Kery and Giveaway

Today I am happy to welcome author Beth Kery to RFTC. Beth has stopped by to chat about tortured heroines. Please give her a warm welcome.

Beth Kery is the New York Times bestselling author of sexy, emotionally intense romances including Because You Are Mine, When I’m With You and the upcoming Because We Belong. She lives and works in Chicago, where she balances the love of her writing, her home life, and her love of the arts.

Places to find Beth:
| Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

The Tortured Heroine

We’re all very familiar with the trope of the tortured hero. He abounds in romantic literature, a wounded alpha that eventually finds peace from the heroine’s healing touch and love. I write the tortured hero often. He’s represented in everything from Rill Pierce (Addicted to You) to Ian Noble (Because You Are Mine). There’s a powerful allure for women at the idea of easing the pain of such a man, and even if we might not take on the baggage of a real life lover in that way, it’s certainly holds a magnetic appeal in our escapist reading.

The wounded heroine shows up less frequently, but is certainly finding her way into mainstream romance and erotic romance. Let’s face it: we women have our emotional baggage, too. The bliss and the challenge of falling in love is a powerful elixir that works on both parties, promoting growth and healing.

I like the theme of the tortured heroine, and have used it in various books, including Joy in Exposed to You and Niall in Wicked Burn. Elise Martin, my current heroine from the serial novel When I’m With You was a particular challenge for me. She comes from a world of wealth and privilege. She’s beautiful and many would say spoiled. I wanted the reader to feel compassion for her, but it was a challenge when she seemingly lives a fairy tale life. To say that Elise carries some emotional baggage, however, is a bit of an understatement. She has learned not to trust, and she comes by this lesson honestly.

There’s a reason for the saying ‘poor little rich girl.’ It’s often said tongue in cheek, as if the idea of a socially and financially privileged woman ever feeling cornered, misunderstood, neglected or sad is ridiculous. But for me, that sarcastic adage only underlines the possible loneliness and trapped feeling that a person of privilege might experience. It’s one thing to struggle with emotional baggage, but another yet to be told you have no right to it.

One of my inspirations for Elise’s character was Audrey Hepburn’s Princess Anne from the classic movie, Roman Holiday. From an outsiders’ point of view, she is the most fortunate woman in the world, a true-to-life glamorous princess. But behind the scenes, she is a fragile girl folding from the intense pressures inherent to being a world leader. She has no nurturing, comforting figures in her life, only people making demands and giving lists of expectations. She can’t sleep, and requires sedatives. It’s no wonder she longs for one thing above all else—escape.

Elise from When I’m With You also is stuck in a golden cage. She longs to make a meaningful life for herself, and is not afraid to work hard. But how exactly does one go about creating a life of substance when all one possesses is a hollow history of strangely mixed privilege and neglect? As a child, she could do whatever she wanted, and yet her parents were so self-involved in social and financial machinations that they couldn’t be bothered to make sure she had shoes that fit. She stayed up until all hours of the night because no one thought to give her a bedtime.

No one ever really took the time just to talk to Elise until Lucien, the hero of When I’m With You, came along. Lucien was older than her when they first met. As a denizen of her privileged world, he intuitively understood what she could not. She fell in love with him in a child-like way at age fourteen because he gave her freely something no amount of money could buy: he listened and respected her as a human being.

I experienced a lot of compassion for Elise. I found her very brave for wanting to create meaning in her life beyond the role of the spoiled, wild-child heiress. My heart went out to her when I sensed her fear that she would fail in her dreams, because she’d never been taught the value of loyalty, honesty, hard work and true friendship. I liked her, because at times she’s shaky with insecurity, yet never fails to hold her head up high. She doesn’t realize that what she considers a façade of bravado and bluster is, in fact, her real strength—her determination to face her fears head on, despite her uncertainty. As she falls in love with Lucien as an adult woman, some of his empathy for her struggles and his faith in her strengths spreads to her. Again, love is that magical medicine that heals. Like the tin man who had a heart all along, she just needed someone to see and acknowledge what was inside.

What do you think of the damaged heroine? Do you have a favorite?

Restaurateur and self-exiled heir Lucien Lenault’s first look at the breathtaking young chef trainee for his trendy Chicago restaurant is a shock. She’s Elise Martin, daughter of a wealthy French fashion designer. She’s also the holder of a secret that could explode his carefully laid plans.

Notorious for her flagrant exhibitionism, and for flouting the respectable façade of her aristocratic background, the coquine’s wild streak shocked most people. Not Lucien. He was tempted by it. It was a deliriously punishable offense as far as Lucien was concerned. But taking on Elise is more than a game. She’s a catastrophe waiting to happen, an inferno that’s burned many a lover. Lucien isn’t most men, however, and he won’t allow her to manipulate him. In order to control the defiant beauty—in order to see her submit—he’s going to have to willingly walk in the flames…

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  1. I don't mind damaged heroines, but I don't want them so damaged and the story so focused on terrible happenings that reading the book makes me feel bad. Eve Dallas from JD Robb's series is a good example of a damaged heroine were the story doesn't obsess about her past (except the one of the later books.

  2. Damaged Heroine...I would have to say Myrna from Backstage Pass is my favorite :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I love Niall from Wicked Burn. It one of my favorite read.

  5. I think that is what adds to the story. My favorite heroine is Sadie in 'Broken' by Megan Hart

  6. I like the damaged heroines. My favorite is Cat from Night Huntress. She feels like she is not good enough because she is half human and half vampire. She has father and mother issues. Plus her attitude makes her badass.

  7. Love them all....

  8. I dont mind some damage in a heroine, as long as it doesn't become all the story is about. I dont have a favorite damaged heroine that i can think of.

  9. I love a damaged heroine! It tends to add to my interest in a book!

  10. I don't mind damaged heroes/heroines as long as it has an HEA. I don't care for a book that's too depressing. As for faves I don't have one.
    Thanks :)

  11. I like damaged heroines. I think it makes a good story, causing a lot of conflict. My favorite damaged heroine is Scarlett O'Hara. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  12. Damaged heroines can be very captivating. One of my favorites is Sirantha Jax of the series by Ann Aguirre. I think that having a past often makes a heroine easier to relate to--knowing she is imperfect makes her a more interesting character to read :)

  13. I don't particularly like the damaged heroine but it the story is well written I don't mind her. My favorite so far is Eva Tramell.

  14. I do enjoy a "damaged" hero/heroine. Definitely makes them more relate able and interesting! Sirantha Jax is also one of my favs and Darian from A Shaede Assassin series by Amanda Bonilla and Jane Yellowrock from Faith Hunter's Skinwalker series.

  15. I like them, I think it gives them character and a background. Of course I feel there is still such thing as too much. As long as they get rescued by a wonderful hero I am good.

    Is it strange that the cover of When I am with you, makes me feel kind of hungry? ;)

  16. I don't mind a damaged heroine as long as it's not depressing and has an HEA.

  17. I usually like a damaged heroine who learns to be strong through the story but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

  18. I agree with Cathy P. I don't care for a depressing heroine. I do like a lot of HEAT.

  19. Elena Deveraux of Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series is one of my favorite damaged women. So is Eva from Sylvia Day's Cross series and the another is Eve from J.D. Robb's In Death series. So I guess you can say I like damaged heroines. :p

  20. What do you think of the damaged heroine? Do you have a favorite?

    I love reading about damaged heroines (instead of the usual damaged hero) for a change :) I have to agree with Meghan that Myrna from Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning is my fav! She's a confident older woman, intelligent (Human Sexuality Professor) and soooo sexy and hot! I totally idolize her! Haha! Hopefully I'll find my own Brian Sinclair one day ;)

    Love Beth's books! My favs are Wicked Burn, Exposed to You and Addicted to You :) Plus her book covers are always so gorgeous and classy! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Tess xx


  21. Definitely Eve from JD Robb's In Death series.She's certainly rose above her past. Love her for the strength she has. Thanks for this chance. I can't wait to read Beth's books.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  22. Reading about a damaged heroine is fine as long as she is strong or at least becomes strong. Lisa Kleypas has written about some damaged heroines such as Haven.

  23. I enjoy reading about either hero or heroine who have some damage/difficulty in their life, adds interest to stories. I want to see how they overcome them and get a happy ending.

    susanmplatt AT Hotmail DOT com

  24. I don't mind damaged heroines but I feel like if they are so damaged that the whole book is a pity party, than I don't enjoy it as much!

  25. I think a damaged heroine can really add to the story and character development. I think my favorite is probably Eve Dallas

  26. I have to say my favorite is Andrea from Ilona Andrews' Gunmetal Magic. I don't mind damaged heroes/heroines - but I want them to be able to overcome that damage and find happiness.

  27. I like the heroine in Beautiful Disaster! I also like Easy. I think it's good when they have a little something extra in their backstory. It adds to their appeal.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    mestith at gmail dot com