For example take Anna, in my book FOR THE LOVE OF ANNA. Anna is not necessarily weak, just tired and unable to find her will to put herself first. Despite the abuse and neglect from her alcoholic father, she still takes care of him, works multiple shifts at a shitty job she hates and remains living in the crappy apartment complex because she is loyal and good hearted. Her mother's dying wish was that Anna take care of her father no matter what. That's one heavy burden when you add in the high crime neighborhood, the dirty, unsafe apartment building, the physical and emotional abuse from the one man she has promised to protect and care for and the stresses of being overworked and under paid.
This is not an easy decision for someone so tired, so emotionally and realistically, physically weak. Life has played a cruel joke on Anna and she is ready to quit.
But she doesn't. Somewhere deep inside she finds that will to fight, to survive and ultimately escape. From that moment on Anna has begun a new life. Her future is in her hands and under her control no matter what goes on around her. She made that decision to fight and so the story continues about her journey.
To me, as an author, Anna exemplifies the modern day heroine. The reality is that Anna exists in real life. She is someone readers relate to and can empathize with. Many of us may even know an Anna or someone who has suffered similar uncontrollable circumstances. Some of us may know the Anna's that survived and flourished and some of us may know the Anna's that failed and lost the fight.
I can't even begin to tell you how many e-mails I have received from readers in regards to Anna. I am humbled by stories people have shared with me about their own experiences and simply their love for Anna and her story. As a social worker I witnessed abuse, neglect and even death. I helped victims and listened to their stories, their struggles and their small triumphs as I helped them to rebuild their lives. I took some of the emotions, the true defeated feelings these victims had and created Anna. She is a woman to be proud of and a heroine many readers understand.
So in conclusion, a heroine in my opinion does not have to be the traditional damsel in distress, a women needing a man or men to succeed. Love may conquer all but love alone does not pay the bills, put food on the table or define who a woman is or her success in life. She does not need to be a feminist radical either but a women who possesses that inner strength like Anna and the desire to achieve and be recognized for the individual she is. We all have a choice in life and a decision to make. We can either let life lead us and define who we are as women or we can take some chances live a little and place our own individual stamp on this world.
What do you think? Where do you stand?