There is an army of uber-powerful women who can kick any ass, any time. The paranormal heroine faces and conquers greater and stronger challenges with every book. Don’t get me wrong—I love those strong heroines that get stronger with each book in the series. Rachel Morgan has gone from a fairly skilled fighter to someone ready to take over the demon world. Our gal Sookie has shown that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is a certainty in the world of romance heroines. It’s just that—well, we’ve done kick-ass for years now. What comes next?
I sure don't want to go back to the victim whimpering passive females from the past; maybe some twists on the theme would be enough to keep the paranormal heroine fresh.
Ilona Andrews gave us Dali in her Kate Daniels series. Dali is a rare white tiger shifter who’s a vegetarian, nearly blind and a terrible fighter just to make a change in the usual line up. She’s fun and a great start.
Some minor changes to the theme would be enough to make our heroine stand apart from the crowd. There are so many whippet-lean women with glossy braids fighting supernatural crime. The most obvious shift would be a paranormal heroine who’s fighting her weight or one with lank hair and with really bad balance. She gets dizzy when she tries to do yoga and couldn’t run a mile under 15 minutes.
I’ve noticed most of these heroines tend to be on her own with only a mother or brother around, so how about one with a boat-load of nosy neighbors and an extended nosier family? They all give her grief when she comes back from a monster encounter, covered with green blood. Many of them try to hook her up with the nice knight next door.
How about a heroine with arthritis? Some days she can kick ass, others she can’t even hold her special weapons properly.
A heroine who has an unfortunate addiction to really bad puns and stops to think of them at the wrong time.
A heroine who drives around a lot even though she has no sense of direction and refuses to stop for help.
A heroine who dislikes the sight of blood so much she’ll avoid fights. Not really fear, mind you. Just intense dislike and maybe nausea and oh, yeah, she’s a vampire.
A heroine who actually does care about the state of her house, but just doesn’t have time. She’s embarrassed every time a bad guy stops by because she didn’t clean up and the sink is full of dirty dishes. (I guess that’s sort of Sookie.)
Obviously it’s easy to give the heroine a group of flaws to make her less perfect. I wonder if there would be another way to invent a whole new brand of paranormal heroine without loading the poor thing up with bad balance, zits and a case of cowardice.
How to start that next great new trend the post-kick-ass heroine? If I knew that, I’d be writing her. Where would you like to see post-kick-ass heroines go?
Kate Rothwell writes romance using her own name and the pseudonym Summer Devon. She lives in Connecticut with four men (three of whom are her sons). You can out more about her at KateRothwell.com and SummerDevon.com.