By Em Peters
As writers, we like to create women with presence, if not power. As long as they’re not too stupid to live—say running back to retrieve her grandmother’s prized quilt in a house where a murderer is known to be waiting with an axe—most readers can identify with the female characters in a story.
So who are some memorable heroines in fiction? And please don’t say Bella! Okay, I guess you can, but here are some others, as chosen by voters on Yahoo.
Elinor (Sense & Sensibility)
Scarlett (Gone with the Wind)
Dorothy (Wizard of Oz)
Who are your favorites? Mine is Jo in Little Women. As a child, I fell in love with that story and never let it go. In my new release MOON CHILD, the heroine’s name is Anwar. Read on for an excerpt. I’d love to hear from you!
MOON CHILD available from Whiskey Creek Press
When eight-year-old orphan Jack spies an otherworldly girl seated in the crook of a cherry tree, he’s instantly smitten with the dark waif known as the “Moon Child.” Over time they become inseparable and the steel tendrils of tenderness take hold of Jack, especially on nights of the full moon, when she seeks sanctuary in his bunk, begging him to silence the voices she hears.
Frantic to find a way to help, he is thwarted by family at every turn. By the time he’s an adult, his determination to uncover the secret drives him to defy the family’s strict orders and he learns his childhood love has transformed into the bonedriven need to be part of her life in a brand new way.
To free her from the life she fears, he first must trust himself. Only then can he break the pact naming the woman he loves as Guardian of the Indian Six Nations, which forces her to wander the night protecting their peoples and ensuring the Montgomery family’s prosperity, but to her, means certain death.
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmJ_Pqk0A9Q
Defying the family’s strict orders might be hard. Breaking a centuries-old pact might be impossible.
Jack spied two dozen kids of all ages scrambling beneath a cherry tree. Their movements blurred together. Little pink dresses darted to and fro, faded blue jeans collided with green team jerseys, red checkered blouses and purple shorts marched about the edge of the group like a rampant rainbow.
Something wet and hard beaned him between the eyes.
“Retreat!” someone screamed just as a hailstorm of cherry pits splintered the air.
Jack shielded his face with a hand and peered into the thick branches.
In the crook of the tree sat a dark-haired girl, her brown stick legs dangling over the branch. She tore off bunches of cherries as fast as she could, cramming her cheeks full and spitting the pits into one hand, which she hurled at her laughing cousins who chanted, “Anwar! Anwar!”
He wondered what this French word meant when the little girl fixed him with her dark and piercing gaze. His legs grew roots. They burrowed deep into the earth, seeking solid ground. He did not feel like he was speeding down a tunnel—the tunnel had burst from the confines of the ground, turning, gaining speed. The world dimmed but the girl remained bright, an actor on stage lit by a spotlight.
Chants and squeals filled his ears and feet thundered past as several boys stormed the tree. The girl ignored them and continued to stare at Jack. The easy blush he hated, the blush he’d been teased about in the large public school he’d attended before the Winters adopted him, the blush that had gained him the nicknames “red” and “beet-face” crept over his skin.
Before he could lower his eyes in embarrassment, she turned away, kicking one boy cousin squarely in the chest and sending him flying from the tree branches. A howl of pain rent the air and twenty of the twenty-eight children clustered around the fallen boy. He lay on his back, clutching his leg and grunting against his tears. The older boy Ned lifted him and bolted for the house.
“It’s broken!” someone cried.
“No way. He’s faking. Kipp’s always crying wolf!”
“Not a chance,” a little girl with blond ringlets whispered behind her hand. “Anwar really broke his leg!”
At this, Jack realized that the word Anwar was actually the dark-haired girl’s name. He looked for her, but she had abandoned the tree. He glanced all around and finally spotted her walking away from them, her back relaxed and uncaring.
She didn’t even go in the direction of the house, but walked off deeper into the orchard. For a bizarre minute Jack consid-ered running through the trees which hung heavily with fruits until he caught her. And then what? Drag her back to face the consequences of injuring that cousin? No. He honestly had no idea why he wanted to catch her.