Tortured heroines…

I had a fantastic review over at Kate G’s blog the other day…a guest reviewer, Stacy, had reviewed Hunter’s Need and loved it.   Her review, like this part:

So is up to Duke to teach this tortured heroine that it’s okay to love. Him. “If you can look at my scars without flinching, I can do the same to you” he says to her the morning after an extended lovemaking session. “If you can touch mine and still want me, I can touch yours . . . and still want you.”

This slow, difficult path to love dovetails with the investigation Duke has been sent to help her with. And this is why I love this book, and Shiloh Walker’s writing so much. The mix of the paranormal and the suspense, of romance and eroticism; all of these fuel the other in a beautiful dance that doesn’t let up until the end.

Just thrilled the hell out of me.

Ana’s character wasn’t typical.  I knew that going into the book.  I knew even before I wrote the book…geez, I think I knew that writing Hunting the Hunter, when Duke and Ana first appeared-that was when Duke more or less staked his claim-Ana was his doing, not mine-a lot of the time, I’m more like a narrator for the stories and he knew who he wanted.  Besides, Ana, while her character isn’t typical, she is real.

She’s one of those people that some of us who have screwed up in life can probably relate to-now not many of us, hopefully none of us, have ever turned over a man to be tortured, and yes, she did.  But she also knew he wouldn’t die-she did it to catch the attention of the one group of people she knew would save the life of her young brother.  She was barely more than a kid herself at the time, and the actions she made, she did with her eyes wide open, fully willing to accept the consequences-if they would just save her brother.  Considering those consequences could have easily been death?  She’d spent years under the control of a psychotic, one who had kidnapped her and her brother just to exploit their gifts, and despite that, she hadn’t broken.  She’d done things that left her shamed, but she never broke.

Fast-forward a few years later-her and her brother are with the Hunters, both are getting trained.  Ana has her gift under control so nobody can use her like that again.  But underneath, she knows it’s not enough.  She screwed up, and she screwed up royally and she’s still paying-worse, her brother is paying the price, too.  She’s fine with suffering the disgust she catches from those around her, but she can’t let her brother suffer. She can leave.  Her brother, though, he can’t.  He’s still too young and his gift is too powerful-they are still working with him.  So she does the one thing she never wanted to do.  She walks away from him.

All the bad choices she’d made in her life were centered around trying to care for him.  Does that excuse them?  Nah.  But as I got to know her?  I could certainly understand.

Was she the strong, ultra-pure heroine I know some readers wanted to Duke? Nope.  I knew that going in-I’d heard from a number of people before I’d even written the book that they really hoped I didn’t put them together.  But I didn’t have much choice.  Not if Duke was going to get a book.  She was who he wanted, and if I was going to give him the best book I could, I had to give him who he wanted, who he needed.  So I could either not write the book…or I could write the book with the knowledge that Ana would be a heroine who wouldn’t work for everybody.

I chose to write to write the book.  She’d made mistakes, but we all make them.  She wasn’t as strong as some other heroines in books, but she was trying to find her strengths.  She wasn’t perfect, but I don’t really want to write perfect people.  Perfect people are people I couldn’t relate to…at all.

Partly inspired by…