It Takes A Heroine

May 13, 2008 at 5:45 am (Deborah Cooke) (, , )

Wow. Here I am, for my first day as a member author (not just a guest) here at the Shape Shifter Romance blog. Thanks again, Teresa et al, for having me. This is going to be fun. Here we go!

The other day, we were driving on the highway and I was watching all the cars whizzing by, thinking. (This is why I’m a better passenger than driver. My thoughts wander away from the nitty gritty of staying in the lane etc.) I saw all those people, of so many different ages and varieties and occupations, and wondered – which of you would fall in love with a shape shifter?

I really did. You probably think those sorts of things frequently when you’re on the highway. Right? I mean, doesn’t everybody ponder such mysteries? I do!

What kind of a woman falls in love with a shape shifter hero?

My first thought would be someone who is a bit out of touch with reality, someone a little mystical and a bit flakey but with a big strong heart. But then I looked at all of my heroines who have fallen in love with shape shifter heroes. They’re not whimsical chicks. They have their feet (just two of them) firmly on the ground. While they do have big strong hearts, they’re often guarded. They certainly aren’t flakey. They don’t fit my first expectation at all.

What traits do my smitten heroines have in common?

• they’re practical

My heroines are very pragmatic. They get stuff done. And I guess that trait means that they take the whole shape shifter thing pretty much in stride. Sara, in KISS OF FIRE, is an accountant, who believes in the math. Enough said. Alex, in KISS OF FURY is a scientist, intent on bringing her invention to market to make the world a better place. Anything else – like Donovan becoming a dragon – is a detail. Maybe an inconvenient detail, given that she’s terrified of dragons, but not a detail that will change her plans. Eileen, in KISS OF FATE is a comparative mythologist specializing in urban myths. She says herself that she’s assumed for a long time that there are things going on in the world that we don’t acknowledge. So, her reaction to Erik shape-shifting into a dragon is of this variety: “Yes, well, FINE. You have this dragon thing going on, but how are we going to get away from these bad guys?”

• they’re smart
My chix have brains. That’s a turn-on for dragon shape shifter dudes, didn’t you know?

• they’re analytical
Being smart also makes my heroines excellent problem solvers. Typically, the heroine in each of the Dragonfire books figures out something about the Pyr that the Pyr hero in question hasn’t figured out just yet. Or maybe she figures out what her hero fears, or – even better – what he should do to conquer that fear. They connect the dots. Each heroine calls her Pyr’s chips and I think that’s fun.

• they have a sense of humor
Comes with the territory in my books. People have to know how to laugh – at the world and at themselves. Laughter is sexy.

• they have confidence
Part of the reason these heroines can laugh and take things in stride – sometimes very strange things – is that they have confidence in their own abilities and their own nature. They’re not trying to be somebody else – and if they realize that there’s something they should change, they do it. Sara needs to learn to trust in her own psychic abilities. Alex needs to get over her fear of dragons – by trusting a dragon to protect her. Eileen needs to put her trust in Erik, getting over her distrust of men, even though Erik challenges expectation like nobody’s business. No spoiler alert here – they all do what needs to get done.

• they are optimists
Part of the reason these heroines can take a chance is that they believe that the world is fundamentally a good place and that things – ultimately, if not as quickly as one would always like – will work out for the best.

What other traits do you think heroines share who fall in love with shape shifter heroes? (I’m thinking that we should put together one of those quizzes: Are You A Woman Who Could Love A Shape Shifter? These ten questions will tell you! Maybe they’ll even run it in Cosmo…I can’t be the only person wondering.)

posted by Deborah Cooke



  1. teresadamario said,

    Now this is a really good question.

    I find heroines are typically down to earth. Most already have an affinity toward animals, maybe even tend to have an interest in the “other half” of our shifter hero already. They are intelligent, and educated people.

    Great question Deborah!

  2. Becky said,

    This IS a really good question! I think that heroines are also sympathetic. They may have had a rough time in their own life and this makes them relate to others who have their own special kind of troubles–Although most hero shifters seem to cope well with their lifestyle. I think that its the empathy or sympathy whatever you want to call it, that allows the heroine to fall for Rhage in J.R. Ward’s BDB series. I know that’s not a truly shapeshifter romance–however, he does have a “beast” within and the heroine still falls for him.

  3. Michele Hauf said,

    I need my heroine’s to be a match in strength to the heroes. I just don’t think a wimpy, tearful chick could handle these sexy, shapeshifters. Also, if she carried an extra set of men’s clothing in her trunk, that could be helpful for those times when her man shifts in the middle of nowhere. 🙂

  4. Becky said,

    Ha-ha–great thinking Michele!

  5. AJ Hampton said,

    LMAO Michele. Hee! I agree with your traits Deborah, these are sound like good qualities for women to love any man! I’m not a fan of weak, whiny women. Its just not what I want to read in fiction. I have friends like that, and I love them, wouldn’t change them for the world… but in my fantasy life, I tend to like perfection.

    I think we talked about this other day. A girls gotta love danger and in some cases a bit of submission. That doesn’t mean she can let the guy walk all over her, but in any good relationship I think there is some give and take. (Yes, I’m studying bondage right now for a short feline shape shifting submission).

    Along side the danger is the patience of a saint. Alpha males are demanding, possessive, want their own way. It would take a hell of a woman to put up with that crap and still want to snuggle in the morning. LOL.

  6. AJ Hampton said,

    Have I mentioned you girls make it damn hard to blog!! I’ve to keep up and think of a good topic for Friday!! Gah. LOL.

  7. Savanna Kougar said,

    Good question. I think the heroine has to have an empathy for the shifter as has already been said. And certainly an affinity for the type of shifter critter. Which is what I think is fun. I’d love a big furry wolf or Big Cat to cuddle up with part of the time.

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