Today, author Molly O’Keefe visits Heroes and Heartbreakers to share some of what makes Can’t Buy Me Love and Can’t Hurry Love, both out this month, so great: Her characters. They’re not always likeable, but they are memorable. Here are Molly’s choices for some other not-so-likeable fictional characters. Thanks for joining us, Molly!
I’m nice. I am the kind of person who will take your cat to the vet to put it to sleep, because you can’t stop crying (true story, I’ll tell you about it later). In high school I was voted The Friendliest Girl in the senior class (which we all know if just another way of saying nice). Ask my friends to describe me in two words—most of them will say “very nice.”
So, the truth is, I’m kind of sick of nice. Not that I’m ready to start telling the other moms in parent council what I really think of them, or knocking over kids in the park. But I am tired of reading about “nice.” Nice heroines, nice love scenes, nice heroes—I’ve had enough.
I’m moving on to difficult. Challenging. I want to read about people I wouldn’t be friends with initially, but who fascinate me and I empathize with. Women who do tell the parent council where to stick their ’healthy bake sale rules.’ Heroes who walk the grey area between likeable and disreputable. And love scenes that are real. Honest. Raw.
I want to read about people who act selfishly and pay a price, who need redemption as much as they pretend not to want it. Who hide their goodness and their generous hearts. I find that push/pull to be way more interesting than a good girl and a nice guy falling in love. Maybe it’s because I’m older? Someone told me as you get closer to forty you stop caring what people think of you. I still find myself wanting people to like me, so perhaps I’m intrigued by characters who don’t care what people think of them. I don’t know where this new impulse is coming from.
As nice as I am, and as I imagine, all of you are, the experience of reading has always been to show me new worlds. New people. New journeys. And recently, some of my favorite characters have been, well, not so nice:
Sugar Beth, from Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s amazing Ain’t She Sweet. Sugar Beth did some bad, bad things growing up. Spoiled and beautiful she was unstoppable, but when she has to go back to her hometown, a beaten woman and face all the people she hurt—the sparks, and the real gritty emotional journey start. And she’s not all bad, she just hides her heart, damaged as it is.
Or Darcy from Something Blue, I started that book ready to hate her. Loved her by the end.
Jericho Barrons from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series. I just gobbled up these books. I even had my husband pull over on the highway at a coffeeshop so I could use the free wi-fi to download the last book. Five books in this series and I still don’t know if Jericho is good or bad, but he’s delicious, every step of the way. And when he reveals his tender side, his wounded spirit…awesome.
And as for love scenes, they don’t get any more real, honest or raw than the amazing love and not-so-love scenes in Cecilia Grant’s stunning historical debut, A Lady Awakened. Martha pays Theo to get her pregnant, but enjoying the sex isn’t a part of the agreement. Watching these two slowly fall in love through a series of raw sexual encounters was one of the best reading experiences last year.
So, what about you? Do you still like nice? Or what not-so-nice characters have you fallen in love with lately?
Molly O’Keefe is a RITA-Award winning author with 20 Harlequin novels in publication. She’s won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Flipside in 2005 and Best Superromance in 2008. Her Crooked Creek series started with Can’t Buy Me Love in June 2012 and Can’t Hurry Love is out July 2012 and the third book Crazy Thing Called Love in January 2013. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America.
contact her through her website: www.molly-okeefe.com
find her on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/MollyOKeefeBooks?ref=hl