When I picture an urban fantasy heroine I see tight fitting clothing, long, flowing hair, and lots of sharp pointy weapons. I see a woman who can run in high heels and throw a punch, the kind who would rather fight a monster than hide from one. Essentially, I see a woman who is the exact opposite of me. Because I am afraid of monsters. I can barely walk in heels, let alone run, and I do not own a weapon – sharp, pointy, or otherwise.
Also unlike your average urban fantasy heroine, I will most likely never be the obsession of a powerful Fae prince or learn to fly by jumping off a bridge into the arms of my gorgeous, adoring vampire husband. And if I was going to, I’d probably be wearing something boring like jeans and a pair of Chuck Taylors not thigh high boots and a leather coat. You see what I mean? I have almost nothing in common with the Cats and Macs and Mercys who fill up my imaginary world. It’s the differences between my life and theirs that make these women so fun to read about. In books, I want the adventure and danger and high-heeled footwear that have no place in my real life.
When I wrote Tab Bennett and the Inbetween, I discovered that if reading about urban fantasy heroines is fun, writing about one is even better. At the beginning of the story, Tab is sheltered and spoiled and completely unaware of it. Then as the book and the series progress, circumstances force her to stop being a cream puff and start being a tough cookie. Writing her transformation from someone who hides from the proverbial monsters into someone who stands up to them, in a way that seemed believable, was a challenge in the best possible sense.
For me, the best heroines are a balance between vulnerability and toughness. With that in mind, I tried to make her a mix of the things I love about kick-ass urban fantasy heroines and the things I love about my friends. She’s brave and funny and loyal and smart and, after a while, she learns to wield a sword and rock a pair of stilettos. And even though we don’t have much in common, I like her a lot. I hope you will too.
What’s the opposite of a kid in a candy store? Because I was like that as I looked at the weaponry displayed before me. I picked up daggers, throwing knives, tridents, swords, and spears but in the end nothing really jumped out and said, ‘kill with me.’
“Do you want to suggest something?” I asked.
“Considering your slight build and height, I’d suggest something like a rapier.” He looked to me for some hint of recognition. “It’s like a fencing foil.” Still nothing. “The Three Musketeers used them.” I knew that one. “Eventually, we’ll move on to something more substantial, but this is a good place to start.” He swished the sword back and forth through the air. “Do you want to hold it?”
“Not even a little bit.”
Matt laughed, handing me the sword. “Let me show you how to hold it.” He adjusted my hand on the grip. “Your thumb and index finger control the weapon. See? They go here. Your thumb rests on the flat part here, and your index finger loops around it. You control the blade with those two and the rest of your fingers provide balance. Try it out.”
I swooped the blade through the air a few times, mostly to make him happy.
“It’s a little too long for you.” He looked disappointed. “I can get something similar for you though, if you want to learn to use it.” He looked back at the arsenal of steel hanging in front of us. “Maybe the trident is your thing?”
I shrugged. “Anything’s possible.”
The trident is not my thing but it turns out I’m not bad with throwing knives.
Many thanks for having me over today, Lisa. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and your readers! Now it’s their turn to talk to me. Who’s your favorite urban fantasy heroine? Who drives you crazy? Head to the comments to tell me who you love (or hate) and why.